Michelle Keenan

Membership Director

Michelle Keenan is the Director of Membership 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.

Ways to Connect

It's the first day of our Spring Membership Drive and the WCQS Member Challenge is on!

Your gift to WCQS today is being matched by fellow listeners. $20,000 from listeners today means $40,000 for WCQS! It's a great way to double the impact of your gift and get our Spring drive off to a great start.

We wish to share with you the very sad news that Bob Parlocha, host of Jazz with Bob Parlocha from WFMT's Jazz Network, passed away unexpectedly earlier this week. Bob died of a heart attack and had been rehabilitating from an illness over the past year.

Bob, who was based in the Bay Area and was a full-time employee of WWCI, was the first and only host of the Jazz Network. WFMT broke the news to stations yesterday. From WFMT Director of Operations Don Mueller:

The WCQS Spring Membership Drive is coming up quickly and we're hoping we can count on you! When the drive begins on March 19th, we’ll be striving to reach an important goal in a relatively short period of time. Your support today will become part of a collective challenge grant for the WCQS Member Challenge - to encourage and match donations during the drive.

The Asheville Amadeus Festival is March 17th through the 22nd! Listen at 1:06 each day this week as our friends from participating organizations visit with Dick Kowal to talk about their various productions and presentations. Whether it's Highland Brewing Company's Wolfgang 1756 or the finale concert with Emanuel Ax, Daniel Meyer and the ASO, you can hear about it on WCQS.

Garrison Keillor told stories and sang songs to an enthusiastic crowd at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium March 10th. "An Evening With Garrison Keillor" was presented by WCQS and Innovations Arts Entertainment. WCQS treated VIP ticket holders to a pre-show reception, at which Mr. Keillor charmed guests, spoke with darn near everyone in the room and graciously posed for lots of pictures. We thought you'd enjoy seeing a few snaps that were shared with WCQS.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, we thought you might enjoy this romantic selection of favorites from Brevard Music Center's Principal Guest Conductor, JoAnn Falletta.  Happy Valentine's Day

1. You are So Beautiful
Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher - sung by Joe Cocker

Whether you are looking at an adorable puppy or kitten, or your own sweetheart, this is the music of love.

John Poole / NPR

We've received great feedback from listeners about Invisibilia, a new limited-run series co-hosted by NPR's Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, who helped create Radiolab and This American Life. Invisibilia delves into a wide array of human behavior, interweaving narrative storytelling with fascinating new psychological and brain science. Listen and research will come to life in a way that will make you see your own life differently.

Downton Abbey-style splendor continues to come alive every Sunday night at Lex 18's Downton Abbey Dinner and Viewing parties. The restaurant began hosting the vintage dinner banquets on January 4 and will continue through Downton Abbey's season finale March 1 on PBS. A portion of the proceeds from each night benefits WCQS. Due to the overwhelming response to the dinners, Lex 18 has added additional dinner parties in February, which are also quickly selling out.

In celebration of the 259th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, WCQS is playing all-Mozart, all day.

Chip Kaufmann is keeping it all in the family so-to-speak and will also include a piece by Mozart's father and Mozart's son during Morning Classical Music. This afternoon Josh Jourdan will kick things off after the State of Things with the "Marriage of Figaro".

You can see full playlist here

Styling food for Downton Abbey is like catering, except one meal has to last all day. Meticulous chef and food stylist Lisa Heathcote creates the grandeur on Downton Abbey down to the last bonbon. Lynne Rossetto Kasper talks to Heathcote about her Downton adventures and creations.

State of Things host Frank Stasio talks with Grammy Award winning Musician David Holt about his life and Holt demonstrates the instruments he learned from the people of the Appalachia.
Holt was in recorded in the WCQS studios for the interview. Hear their conversation and learn more about Holt here. 

We may not yet have the ability to time travel, but Lex 18, Appalachian Fine Dining Supper Club and Moonshine Bar, gave a close approximation recently. On January 4, Lex 18 hosted the first of 9 Asheville Downton Abbey Vintage Costume Banquet and Viewing Parties. A portion of the proceeds will benefit WCQS. This past Sunday WCQS All Things Considered host Helen Chickering did the honors.

BRRR! It looks like most of the nation is taking polar plunge this New Year. WNC will experience sub zero temperatures in the next day or two. Please be sure to bring outdoor pets inside. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept indoors. Snuggle up!

For cold weather pet safety tips, read more from the American Veterinary Medical Association

Last year Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal asked listeners to share what their economy feels like on a personal level. Local business owner Jen Swearington of Jennythreads in West Asheville responded. She was featured on the program recently. You can listen to the audio featured below.

After the program aired Asheville Citizen-Times reporter Caitlin Byrd interviewed Swearington about her response and the experience.  

Thank you to everyone who supported WCQS in 2014! Our year end campaign was a great success, exceeding the $75,000 goal. Year-end contributions help WCQS stay on track as we begin the New Year. Listener support powers the radio you will rely on and enjoy in 2015.

You will hear our thanks every day.

As you may have heard, the President recently signed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 into law.  Among its provisions, the law extends the Charitable IRA Rollover for 2014.  This means that individuals age 70 ½ or older are authorized to make tax-free distributions from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) of up to $100,000 to qualified charitable organizations.  While these Qualified Charitable Distributions are not tax deductible, they do offer substantial advantages.

Happy Holidays from WCQS! Special holiday programming will continue this week through New Year's Day. Enjoy!

A special thanks to our holiday program sponsors:

Fans of Downton Abbey take note! Lex 18 is hosting an intimate interactive banquet dinner experience followed by the live broadcast of Downton Abbey on Sundays beginning January 4, 2015 thru March 1, 2015.  A portion of each evening's proceeds will benefit WCQS.

On December 9th WCQS held a 1 day drive to kick-off our year end giving campaign. In the spirit of the season a matching gift challenge to benefit Homeward Bound was also offered. $10,000 by noon that day meant $10,000 for Homeward Bound, thanks to the generosity of our challenge sponsors, PlumDog Financial and Blue Ridge X-Ray. Listeners met the goal! We and the folks at Homeward Bound thank you!

WCQS Morning Edition host and reporter Greta Johnsen has accepted a job hosting weekends at WBEZ in Chicago. Her last day at WCQS will be December 16. Please join WCQS in wishing her well in this tremendous career opportunity.

The Board of Directors of Western North Carolina Public Radio, Inc. / WCQS named WCQS Program Director Barbara Sayer as Interim President and CEO, following the resignation of WCQS President and CEO Jody Evans. Evans’ last day at WCQS is December 5. 

Tanner Ringerud / BuzzFeed

  How well do you know your NPR hosts? If you are Fresh Air fanboy or a public radio junkie, test your knowledge with the fun quiz on BuzzFeed: Do You Know What Your Favorite NPR Hosts Actually Look Like?

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air and critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University will be in Asheville this week. Corrigan will share her bookish obsession with a great American novel and promote her latest book, So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures at Malaprops November 19 at 7 p.m. This is a ticketed event. Tickets are free with a purchase of So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures.

Please join us in welcoming Helen Chickering as the new All Things Considered host on WCQS.

World War I Living History Project, Centenary Edition

Tune in Monday night at 7 for a Veterans Day special, Centenary Edition: WWI Living History Project, interviews with the last surviving veterans of World War One, hosted by Walter Cronkite and Will Everett

The Moth Radio Hour

Tune in Saturday at 3 and Sunday at 6 for a special Veterans Day edition of The Moth Radio Hour:

Jody Evans has resigned as president and CEO of Western North Carolina Public Radio, Inc./WCQS and has accepted the position of President and CEO of the Public Radio Program Directors Association (PRPD). The announcement was made November 3 by WCQS Board Chair Chuck Cloninger "We appreciate Jody’s efforts while at WCQS and wish her well in her new endeavor.”


Public Radio stations across the nation received sad news this week. Tom Magliozzi, one of public radio's most popular personalities, died Monday of complications from Alzheimer's Disease. He was 77 years old.

Tom and his brother, Ray, became famous as "Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers" on the weekly NPR show Car Talk. They bantered, told jokes, laughed and sometimes even gave pretty good advice to listeners who called in with their car troubles.

Tune in Saturday at 3 pm and Sunday at 6 pm for the Political Junkie 2014 Midterm Election Special.

Tune in Saturday at three and Sunday at six for a Halloween special from BackStory. Halloween – despite its solemn Celtic roots – has become a safe way for Americans to transgress social norms and toy with the idea of ghosts in a family-friendly fashion. But for some, spirits from another plane have always been a very real part of life on this plane.