Michelle Keenan

Associate Director - Development

Michelle Keenan is the Associate Director of Development at Blue Ridge Public Radio. She began volunteering for the station in 1996 and has been a full-time staff member since 1998.

The daughter of a pilot, Michelle grew up in many places but chose Western North Carolina as her home more than 20 years ago. Michelle has a BA in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Shortly after college Michelle realized what she really wanted to be when she grew up was a philanthropist. Sans silver spoon, she channeled that energy into raising money and a fundraiser was born. Michelle believes deeply in public broadcasting and is proud to be a member of the Blue Ridge Public Radio family.

Michelle enjoys many creative outlets, traveling and spending time with two and four legged family members and good friends.

BPR's David Feingold will retire as General Manager and CEO on December 6. Feingold announced his retirement in June. BPR’s Board of Directors named public media veteran, Mark Vogelzang, as interim General Manager while a board-appointed search committee, led by Livingston & Associates, completes the final stages of the selection of BPR’s next General Manager & CEO.  

Jason Reed

Jackson County residents can now hear Blue Ridge Public Radio’s all news and information channel, BPR News, on 90.5 FM. The signal expansion reflects BPR’s commitment to provide access to its two channels of service – BPR News and BPR Classic – throughout the Western North Carolina Region. BPR Classic can still be heard at 89.7 in the Jackson County area.  

Blue Ridge Public Radio is pleased to announce that Catherine Komp will join BPR as its first Director of Content. Komp will manage the content on BPR Classic and BPR News and its live and on-demand digital services.    

Jackson County courthouse
Syost1/Wikimedia Commons

The next meeting of the BPR Community Forum is open to the public and will be held on Wednesday, March, 11, 2020, at the Sylva Public Library, 310 Keener St in Sylva from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

The Forum meeting will conclude with a Listening Session hosted by members of the BPR News team and journalists from the Smoky Mountain News. The public is invited to voice concerns about important issues facing their communities. Public feedback will help both news organizations improve service to the region during this busy election cycle.

Blue Ridge Public Radio is dedicated to bringing you uninterrupted coverage of the news and information you need. Updates and expert analysis of these important stories are possible because of listeners like you. 

At BPR, our mission is to create a more informed public, and special coverage of these important moments go hand in hand with our commitment to bring unparalleled serious, thoughtful, and trusted coverage to Western North Carolina.  

Blue Ridge Public Radio welcomes Erin Adams as its new Membership Manager. Erin joins a newly expanded development team that reflects the growth of Blue Ridge Public Radio’s two channels of service, BPR News and BPR Classic.

Do you like listening to stories? Do you have stories to tell? Then check out the Asheville Moth StorySLAM! It's a monthly competition, where the stage is open to any and all with a story to tell on the evening's theme. The SLAMs are production of The Moth. The schedule and themes are listed at the bottom of this post. 

We have a lot to celebrate at Blue Ridge Public Radio – a New Year, two great stations – BPR Classic and BPR News – and most of all, YOU! Thanks to the more than 1,200 people who contributed to our Year-End Membership Drive. It was a great success, raising more than $190,000!

A big thank you goes out to everyone who contributed to BPR in 2019. Thanks to listener support, we are starting 2020 on track so that we can continue to provide the news, insight, meaningful conversations and entertainment that you count on. 

Blue Ridge Public Radio has a wonderful team of volunteers who support the work of the station in many ways. This week we were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of one of our best. Francie Lanius volunteered twice a week for the last eight years and was always willing to lend a hand at station events. She was a dear friend who brightened the day for all of us.

Blue Ridge Public Radio is a lot of things to a lot of people across Western North Carolina. It may be your steadfast companion, those familiar voices that you follow throughout the day. For those new to the region, it may be that particular bend of national NPR programming and local flavor that makes WNC feel like home. And for others, it's helping to serve a deep need for local news and cultural programming that connects and informs our diverse communities. 

Thanks to everyone who entered Blue Ridge Public Radio's 2019 Car Raffle. 999 raffle tickets were sold and the raffle is now closed. Ticket purchases support programming the programming you count on.

Who will win a new car from Audi Volkswagen of Asheville? Find out August 15th! The winner will be selected at random and announced live on the air during All Things Considered. Stay tuned for more details.  

Only one lucky listener can win, but you are all winners to us!

Public Media: Building Trust in an Age of Mistrust, September 10th at 7 pm at the Wortham Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are $20. Tickets may be purchased online at dwtheatre.com or by calling the Wortham Center's box office Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm at 828-257-4530.

Blue Ridge Public Radio’s longtime Program Director, Barbara Sayer, will retire at the end of July, after 38 years of service. Sayer has been with the station since its roots at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. She started as a volunteer at the then fledgling station but quickly became an integral part of the station’s leadership team and a trusted voice in the community.

Blue Ridge Public Radio classical music host Chip Kaufmann announced that he will retire later this year, after nearly 36 years of service to the station. Kaufmann started as a volunteer with the then 10-watt WUNF (on the UNCA campus) in the summer of 1983. His career as a classical music host happened purely by happenstance, when station staff found out he had a classical music collection.

Blue Ridge Public Radio has appointed Ashleigh Kenny as its Development Director, a new position at the NPR affiliate, and a reflection of the continuing growth and success of BPR in Western North Carolina. She has an extensive background in non-profit media in various stages of growth and transition.

Thanks to everyone who made 2018 a great year for Blue Ridge Public Radio. It was a year of continued growth and expansion of our service on BPR Classic and BPR News for WNC, thanks to the support of contributing listeners and business sponsors. We couldn't be more grateful.

Tune in as BPR Classic celebrates this festive time of  year. From Christmas to New Year's Day, Holiday Programming is our gift to you. We'll post highlights throughout the season, so be sure to check back often for updates. 


Monday  December 31st

The Capitol Steps New Year’s Special  - 12 pm on BPR News & BPR Classic  and 7 pm on BPR Classic

Recently classical music host Chip Kaufmann marked a significant milestone - 35 years on the air at Blue Ridge Public Radio! 

We're grateful that you choose to listen to Blue Ridge Public Radio, and we're saying thank you with some special programming for the holiday. 

BPR will host a small group barge trip through the canals of Holland and Belgium next May and we hope you'll join us! 

Our friends at Earthbound Expeditions have designed an amazing journey just for BPR. This intimate expedition on The Magnifique II ensures an enriching travel experience for curious-minded and active public radio listeners, who wish to savor art, food, and architecture - all at a leisurely, relaxing pace.

Thanks to everyone who supported Blue Ridge Public Radio's Fall Membership Drive. It took a brief extra inning to get there, but we did it - without interrupting one minute of the programs you count on. More than 1,300 listeners helped us raise more than $200,000. 

Blue Ridge Public Radio brings you programming that enriches your life and fundraising that respects the very reason you listen. We couldn't be more proud of you - loyal and committed listeners who know how important this service is. Everything you hear is made possible by contributing listeners. 

Join BPR's Mike Cooper and Helen Chickering for Live@Aloft September 30th from 5 to 8 p.m. The Aloft's monthly rooftop party and concert series benefits local charitable organizations. Admission is $5, benefits BPR, and includes door prizes! The evening will be hosted by local comedian and Moth StorySLAM host Betsy Puckett and feature the music by Jesse Barry and The Jam, a cash bar, and [weather permitting] a spectacular moutnain viewe and sunset In keeping with the Aloft's pet-friendly policies, well behaved four-leggeds are are welcome. 

Two stations. One goal. Zero fundraising interruptions. The Fall Fund Drive is happening right now! Your donation makes everything you hear on BPR Classic and on BPR News possible. Support what you value: responsible reporting, journalism with insight and meaning, culture celebration - and no program interruptions.  The goal is $200,000 by September 26 for uninterrupted programming. 

Thanks to everyone who voted Blue Ridge Public Radio 'Best Local Radio Station' (non-commercial) in the Mountain X Best of WNC 2018 awards!

This is the 4th year in a row a that readers voted BPR (WCQS) #1. We are thrilled to be included among the Best that WNC has to offer, and we are honored to serve the people and communities of Western North Carolina. You will hear our thanks everyday. 

Using science and storytelling, Shankar Vedantam of NPR’s Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.

Thanks to everyone who entered Blue Ridge Public Radio's 2018 Ticket To Ride Summer Raffle! It was a near sell-out with 985 tickets sold.  The winner will be selected at random and announced on the air on August 15, 2018 during All Things Considered between 5:30 and 5:35. 

What's the difference between plummet and plunge? Tune in for that answer and more on an Asheville edition of Says You! Sunday afternoon from 1 to 2. 

Join us this Saturday, June 9th at 7:30 PM for the second “Sanctuary Sessions” concert.  The headliners are Jazz Americana duo Max Hatt / Edda Glass. Glass has been praised for her “impeccable vocal command” (PopMatters) and compared to a gamut of singers from Astrud Gilberto to Billie Holliday. Her voice is “one of a kind…you cannot confuse her with another artist” (New York Theatre Guide).


Every heart in public radio is heavy this week after the loss one its most beloved figures. Carl Kasell, veteran newscaster and scorekeeper emeritus for Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, died at the age of 84, due to complications of Alzheimer's Disease.