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.
“I came to Asheville to help start a dinner theater, not to be on public radio. The theater folded after 2 years but the public radio gig didn't. Announcing was the ideal opportunity to combine my love of classical music with performance art. What started as a lark turned into a 35 year career.”
BPR’s Program Director, Barbara Sayer, has worked with Kaufmann throughout his tenure, “Chip’s contributions to the success of Blue Ridge Public Radio are enormous. Chip has been a source of continuity, inspiration and wit. Along with his considerable talents as a classical music host, Chip has always been willing to pitch in for fundraising, for locating arcane information and for being a reliable and fun colleague and friend. We were lucky he came our way 35 years ago and very lucky that he stayed with us so long. We are forever grateful for his generosity and endurance.”
Kaufmann has seen the station grow through all of its iterations, serving as a key fixture for music fans in Western North Carolina. He says it’s the listeners he will miss the most, “It’s always a delight to hear from listeners. What’s a musical discovery for one listener may be an old favorite to another; I’ve loved offering context and perspective to the pieces we play.”
Kaufmann retires May 31st.