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Scott Witzke
WFIU -- Public Radio from Indiana University

Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IU President Michael McRobbie to appear as guest DJ on WFIU

April 21, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's public radio station, WFIU, will celebrate the end of Jazz Appreciation Month with a series of performances, on-air specials, a listener survey . . . and a jazz-loving guest DJ, IU President Michael McRobbie.

McRobbie will be in the WFIU studio on Friday, April 24, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. playing his favorite jazz tunes -- by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Eberhard Weber, Carla Bley and IU's own legendary David Baker -- on Joe Bourne's "Just You & Me" program. David Baker will join McRobbie for the second part of the broadcast.

Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

McRobbie said he has been a jazz fan since the late 60s, when he became a fan of "Music to Midnight," a program that ran on Australia's ABC (equivalent to the BBC) every weeknight from 10 p.m. to midnight. "It was hosted by an immensely knowledgeable man called Arch McCurdy and was quite superb. I listened to it avidly and learned a lot about jazz from it," said McRobbie, adding that while the origins of jazz are in America, and it is one of America's great contributions to world culture, jazz music has been "truly international music" for decades.

McRobbie says his tastes run almost completely to modern jazz. "Jazz for me pretty much started with Miles Davis' Kind of Blue -- one of the greatest jazz albums ever made. He was the Protean genius of jazz who towers of the field. But I also like a lot of the later more difficult Miles that is maybe not played all that often."

McRobbie says he doesn't have as much time as he'd like to take advantage of Bloomington's jazz scene, but jazz helped make his wedding reception a memorable evening.

"At our wedding reception, another IU great, Pat Harbison, and his group played for us all evening -- just famous Miles and John Coltrane standards. They were fantastic, and it was a magical evening."

Jazz Appreciation Month coincides with the April birthdays of such jazz giants as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Herbie Hancock. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Bloomington Mayor Kruzan have issued proclamations officially recognizing April as Jazz Appreciation Month in the state of Indiana and in the city of Bloomington.

"With the closing of live venues like Jazz at the Station and Tutto Bene, many have been worrying about the future of live jazz in Bloomington," said Bourne, the station's jazz director. "With WFIU, establishments like the Jacobs School of Music at IU and the longstanding Jazz Fables series, I think that jazz will continue to thrive. I look forward to attracting new audiences to jazz."

WFIU's Jazz Appreciation Month Activities in Bloomington

  • In conjunction with the Indiana Daily Student (IDS), WFIU is conducting a survey to find out what the WFIU listening area considers the best jazz albums of all time. Listeners can cast votes online at from now until Tuesday, April 28. Results will be printed in the IDS Thursday, April 30, and Joe Bourne will play the top entries on that afternoon's "Just You & Me" program from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m., WFIU will host a member benefit concert featuring IU Jacobs Professor Pat Harbison at Finch's Brasserie, 514 E. Kirkwood Ave.
  • Monday and Tuesday, April 27-28, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., WFIU will host a "Spring Cleaning Music Sale" of both jazz recordings and music from other genres in Room 120 of IU's Telecom building, 1229 E. Seventh St. CDs are $3 and vinyl 50 cents. (Cash only.)
  • Friday, May 1, 7 p.m., a WFIU benefit concert featuring Indiana Jazz Legend David Baker will culminate Jazz Appreciation Month at Bear's Place, 1316 E. Third St.

Jazz airs on WFIU Monday-Thursday from 3:30 to 5 p.m., Friday evenings from 8 to midnight, and Saturday evenings from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.

About WFIU

WFIU, public radio from Indiana University, broadcasts in Bloomington at 103.7 FM, with translators in Columbus at 100.7 FM, French Lick/West Baden at 101.7 FM, Greensburg at 98.9 FM, Kokomo at 106.1 FM, and Terre Haute at 95.1 FM. WFIU is an NPR member station offering local and national news as well as Jazz and Classical Music. For more information, visit