Oh for the days when every college had a classical DJ…

Oh for the days when every college had a classical DJ…


norman lebrecht

March 17, 2015

The composer Philip Glass in his forthcoming memoirs, writes about his early days on the road:

I traveled without any money whatsoever for promotion and advertising, but I had LPs with me and not just to sell at concerts (though we did that, too). There was, I soon discovered, especially in the States, a network of college radio stations operating everywhere. There was always some bleary-eyed college kid with an all-night radio program. It was dead easy to get on the program, especially with a new LP, which they were happy to play in its entirety. One such young man I met in that way was [ … ….] who had an all-night radio program on Columbia University’s WKCR.

OK, so for no prize money at all, name the bleary-eyed kid who spun the Columbia turntables around 1972.


philip glass first lp

He went on to greater things.

UPDATE: For those of you who haven’t guessed his identity, here’s a non-bleary-eyed pic from the time.


tim page


  • Mather Pfeiffenberger says:

    Since he once told me about his time at Columbia’s radio station while he was active as Post classical music critic here in Washington, DC, I’m betting it was none other than Tim Page.

  • George Murnu says:

    Surprise, surprise, college radio stations in America still have classical DJs. WKCR, whose proud alumnus yours truly is, has the Bach Festival every December around Christmas time.

  • Nigel says:

    Was it the wonderful Tim Page?

  • Gary says:

    Ira Glass?

  • Chris Walsh says:

    Lord Lucan? Elvis? Shergar?

  • Mather Pfeiffenberger says:

    From the file title of the picture that Mr. Lebrecht has posted, I see that I was right and that the “bleary-eyed kid” was Tim Page, who went on to do more great radio, has written perceptive criticism, has highlighted the accomplishments of Glenn Gould, Dawn Powell, and most recently again Virgil Thomson (recent Library of America publication of VT’s reviews), and is now teaching the next generation of music journalists at USC: http://annenberg.usc.edu/Faculty/Communication%20and%20Journalism/PageT.aspx

    For the record, I am also a proud former college classical DJ, of Harvard’s radio station WHRB (past members also include harpsichordist Igor Kipnis, Mozart expert Robert Levin, the New Yorker’s Alex Ross, and Callas maven Marion Lignana Rosenberg). I was active there in the 1970s and got to interview Aaron Copland, Leon Kirchner, and Louis Krasner (commissioner of the Schoenberg and Berg Violin Concertos). To my knowledge, we never had Phillip Glass drop by,but I did once participate in a live on-air performance of Cage’s Music for Eight Radios. Glory days and wonderful freedom we had! That explains how Tim and I happened to discuss our respective backgrounds in college radio once during a Kennedy Center concert intermission.

    The good news is that WHRB still has an active classical music department and carries the Met Opera broadcasts to the greater Boston area: https://www.whrb.org/departments/classical

    Thank you, sir, for the pleasurable walk down memory lane!