Meet Your Hosts

Alan Brandt
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.

Daniel Gilliam

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

9 Responses to “Meet Your Hosts”

  1. On 09/12/13 12:05 PM, Lindsey Hundley said:

    Hi! I miss the playlists – they always used to be posted. Will they be back (Alan and Daniel)? Thanks!

  2. On 09/12/13 1:28 PM, Daniel Gilliam said:

    Hi Lindsay, they are posted, but not in a very convenient way. Playlists for Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, for the most part, are on our site (just click on the Now Playing bar at the top of the page). For hours outside of these it gets trickier. Go here:, click on the day you want and look for the hour. These listings are in Central (the time zone for Minnesota, where Classical 24 originates). We’re hoping to have a more comprehensive playlist in October.

  3. On 12/6/13 5:52 PM, Rylan Lewis said:

    I thought you once had a playlist on your website. I want to know which Swan Lake performance I heard at ~11:35 on 12/06.

  4. On 12/7/13 10:59 AM, Daniel Gilliam said:

    Yes, we do. The playlist is here:

  5. On 12/9/13 5:39 PM, Hadley Hury said:

    My wife and I have been NPR affiliate supporter/listeners for decades (between us and together, Memphis, New York, Knoxville, Denver, Atlanta)…but every time we’ve been in Louisville visiting family we always at some point have said: WUOL is the best! Now we have moved here, and listening (usually hours a day)it’s like we’ve come home to our favorite relatives. Your programming is superior, your hosts informed, articulate, and engaging….Happy to be living here and happy now to have become Sustaining Members.

  6. On 02/3/14 3:48 PM, WUOL Classical 90.5 » A Closer Look at Grammy-Winner Maria Schneider said:

    […] can see an interview from 2012 with Maria Schneider conducted by our own Daniel Gilliam during his stint at Minnesota Public Radio […]

  7. On 02/8/14 11:32 AM, Mark Simmons said:

    Enjoying the Sat. morning show regarding movie music. When my sons and I would go to see movies, they knew to stay seated until I could see who did the music to the movie.
    My little brother and I, both of whom are in our late 50s, have long thought that the music to the movie “Predator” has long been overlooked, probably because of the one-dimensional plot (which works for me!) and the fact that it can be hard to find.
    No doubter about the Korngold and Star Wars music sounding a LOT alike.
    Keep up the good work!-MARK

  8. On 02/25/14 10:02 AM, sam thompson said:

    I recently found your streaming music website for WUOL. My daily morning routine now includes morning paper, tea and your Classical music! I just love it!
    I live in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
    Thanks so much for your entertaining and enjoyable classical music.
    Sam Thompson
    Chicopee, Massachusetts

  9. On 03/7/14 2:40 PM, Bill Pike said:

    Hello WUOL,

    Why does the “Now Playing” indicator on WUOL’s playlist say the “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” is playing when something else is actually playing?

    Tis situation can be confusing, but it’s not a big deal. And thanks for providing such good music.

    Bill Pike

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