Meet Your Hosts
Alan Brandt was trained as a bass vocalist at Illinois State University and Indiana University Southeast. He was “Glee”ful when it wasn’t cool as a member of the ISU Glee Club and Glee Club Octet. Alan soloed for local church choirs and the Choral Arts Society and sang Verdi’s Requiem with the Louisville Orchestra. He has been a classical host for Louisville public radio stations since 1989. Join Alan for his radio programs Monday through Friday, 9 – 1 pm, select Saturdays hosting the Louisville Orchestra broadcasts and An English Pastorale, Sunday at 9 am.
Louisville-native Daniel Gilliam is Program Director of WUOL, and weekday afternoon host from 1 – 5 pm. He’s also a composer of art songs, orchestral, chamber and choral music. Daniel has hosted preconcert talks for the Louisville Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, co-founded the new music series hear+now with Rachel Grimes and Jane Halliday, and spent a couple years at Classical Minnesota Public Radio as Program Director. He runs 5ks (poorly) and enjoys good coffee.
Scott Blankenship started his radio career in college when he began working as a volunteer at a local cable radio station, announcing alternative and new rock music. His love and appreciation of classical music began at public radio station KVNO in Omaha, where he spent 13 years in various on-air and management roles, five of those years as the morning drive-time host.
Indications that radio was in his blood go back to age five, when he used a corkboard and a battered phonograph as a make-shift radio studio, his father’s Air Force issue flashlight served as his “on air” light. In his spare time, Blankenship is an avid cyclist and amateur playwright with several produced scripts to his credit.
Suzanne Bona (Sunday Baroque – Sunday 10 am – 1 pm) is a classically trained flutist. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in performance from The University of Connecticut. After graduating, she continued private musical studies with Thomas Nyfenger at Yale University, and performed regularly in Connecticut and New York with orchestras and chamber groups. Now a Cincinnati resident, Suzanne continues to perform in a variety of ensembles and as a soloist.
Bob Christiansen has managed to combine his knowledge of classical music and history with a sharp wit and a talent for foreign languages into a 38-year radio career. While studying the ramifications of the “Time of Troubles” on the Grand Duchy of Moscow, he led a secret life as the evening man on the Northern Illinois University radio station. He teamed with Bill Morelock in 1987 to create the nationally syndicated Bob and Bill.
Jeff Esworthy is a public radio veteran with more than 20 years behind the microphone, where he’s hosted everything from folk to jazz to progressive rock. A hobbyist musician and collector of instruments from around the world, Jeff has what he describes as a “passable” command of southern string-band music on fiddle and banjo, and he is a long-time student of the classical music of Northern India on instruments such as the sitar, sarangi and tabla.
Ward Jacobson has enjoyed a radio career spanning over two decades as a morning show host and sportscaster, as well as producer/host of an interview program where he chatted up both local and national authors, musicians, politicians and newsmakers. He is also a past winner of the prestigious Marconi Award. Jacobson’s love of classical music stems from a childhood influenced by his bass-baritone father and piano-teaching mother. While still a college student in Nebraska, he began singing with the Abendmusik Chorus and took part in concert tours to venues as varied as England’s Lincoln Cathedral, the Vatican, Salzburg Cathedral, Auschwitz and Moscow. When not singing, he works to develop his guitar-strumming repertoire.
Valerie Kahler came to the Classical 24 team after more than a decade as a classical host and music director at KNAU in Flagstaff, Ariz. She holds a degree in cello performance and plays piano in self-defense, but feels most at home in front of a microphone—as your companion for an evening of classical music, or singing classic tunes in a club.
Mindy Ratner began her career in public broadcasting following her graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working first for the local public television station and then for Wisconsin Public Radio. She moved on to stations in Cincinnati and Philadelphia before joining Minnesota Public Radio in 1983. In 1998 and ’99, Ratner took a leave of absence to work as a music host and producer for China Radio International in Beijing. Her spare time is devoted to international travel; folk, ballroom and contradancing; singing in the Minnesota Chorale; her two cats, and trying to stay ahead of the weeds in her garden.
Lynne Warfel returns to a 24-year radio career after a four-year hiatus. In this “Cavorts with Collies” period, she followed her lifelong passion for working with dogs as a trainer and behavior consultant. She started “Good Dog Productions”, her in-home dog training business in 2006. Previous to The Dog Mutterer phase, she was one of MPR’s first national hosts in 1995. She was also heard locally on Minnesota Public Radio from 1993-2005. While at MPR in her former incarnation, she hosted the Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest, Echoes of Christmas with the Dale Warland Singers, Sommerfest broadcasts, was a guest narrator with The SPCO and Minnesota Orchestra, and was a frequent guest host on The Morning Show with Dale Connelley and Jim Ed Poole.
John Zech got started in broadcasting as a news anchor at his high school’s closed-circuit television station (KRUD). While in school at St. Olaf College, his love of classical music earned him his first “real” radio experience at WCAL-FM. After a dozen years doing virtually everything there was to do at a small public radio station, John crossed over into the private sector, producing and voicing an audio reading program for a major educational publisher, managing multilingual translation projects for an international communications firm, and generally learning what it’s like to work for a living. Having seen the light, John returned to radio in 1992. After deciding his zen garden was too much of a headache, John looks for enlightenment on the tennis court and the billiard table instead.