WVTF’s Charlie Perkinson and Steve Brown signing off public radio this month
August 24, 2015
WVTF Public Radio’s music hosts will both retire this month.
Charlie Perkinson, former host of the nightly “Jazz Tonight” and the weekend “All That Jazz”, and Steve Brown, music director and former host of “Morning Classics” and “Afternoon Classics” have both announced their retirements from the station after many years of public radio service.
Perkinson signed on with his first “All That Jazz” at WVWR (now WVTF) in 1973. The show was a weekend staple for more than 40 years and the longest running locally produced program on WVTF. It featured selections from his personal library of jazz recordings.
Perkinson began his career as a jazz musician playing upright bass in high school and later as a student at Virginia Tech in a school dance band named The Southern Colonels. In the Air Force, he continued his career as a bassist and landed a one-night gig in the band backing Rosemary Clooney on a USO tour.
In 1970, Perkinson moved to Roanoke where he continued to work as a professional bassist and had his first experience in broadcasting in 1973. He combined careers as a bassist, radio host, and producer and high fidelity stereo retailer for the next 27 years before becoming a full time member of the WVTF production staff in May of 2000.
He plans to stay in the Roanoke area and enjoy his retirement playing the bass with the multitude of jazz musicians he has collaborated with over the years, traveling and recapturing his evenings.
Steve Brown, WVTF’s music director and classical music host will also retire this month. Brown found his way to WVTF in 2001 when the station was still broadcasting from a much smaller studio before the construction of the new broadcast center on Kingsbury Lane.
Before joining WVTF, he worked in the Office of Sponsored Programs at Virginia Tech.
During his time at the station, his responsibilities and time on the air changed dramatically. He hosted and produced the ‘Classical Encounter’ show for five years and Roanoke Symphony Orchestra live broadcasts for 14 years. He was named Music Director after Seth Williamson died in 2011 and single handedly hosted both the “Morning Classics” and “Afternoon Classics” shows on a daily basis.
Before WVTF, Brown served 21 years in the U.S. Navy. During his time in the service he worked in broadcasting and served as a choir director. He also did a stint at WUWF Public Radio in Pensacola, Fla.
Brown will continue to be active in local theater, serve as associate conductor and unofficial composer in residence for the Blacksburg Community Band and launching his own music publishing company Corsair Music Press. His original body of work in music and theatre includes five musicals, three plays, and hundreds of compositions that have been performed by orchestras and bands both locally around the world.
“Both Charlie and Steve are irreplaceable”, states Glenn Gleixner WVTF General Manager, “We will miss them both, not only as passionate advocates for keeping quality music alive in our region, but also as outstanding citizens who have helped make our community better places to live, work, and enjoy. We wish them all the best in their well-deserved retirement adventures.”
“Steve and Charlie made listening to music on the radio a real joy," said Program Director Josh Jackson. "They had a palpable excitement for classical and jazz works, and they conveyed that enthusiasm to the listener. Both of these gentlemen served the audience with distinction and that's the highest honor for public broadcasters”.
Brown and Perkinson will both remain on staff at WVTF through the month of August and assist in the transition as new programs have replaced the shows they hosted.
Services of Virginia Tech, WVTF Public Radio and RADIO IQ are listener-supported National Public Radio member stations. They broadcast locally and nationally produced classical and jazz music programs; NPR and BBC news shows, and locally produced news and other cultural and entertainment programs. The stations cover central, southwest, and southern Virginia, as well as parts of North Carolina and West Virginia. For a complete listing of signals, visit WVTF online.