George Walker will retire on July 29 | Blog

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George Walker. Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University.

When George Walker first came to Indiana University in the fall of 1966, he didn’t plan on spending more than 50 years in radio. The University of Michigan graduate originally came to IU for a master’s program in English education. But Walker’s intended career path changed after hearing about an opportunity at the WFIU.

“During the first year as a grad student at IU, someone visited one of my classes to let us know that there were auditions for news announcers at WFIU. I tried and I ended up being hired, not as a news announcer, but as a part-time classical music announcer,” Walker said.

Although he earned his graduate degree in teaching, the part-time position he held at the WFIU while a student led him to a long and successful career in radio. He will celebrate his 45th anniversary as a full-time station employee on July 25.

WFIU 1967 staff. Front row (left to right): John Harrell, Larry Kroenberger, Debbie Shriner, Don Glass.  Back row (left to right): Dave Smith, Tom Gray, George Walker, David Kennard, Elliot Oring and Dave Champaigne.WFIU staff in 1967. Front row (left to right): John Harrell, Larry Kroenberger, Debbie Shriner, Don Glass. Back row (left to right): Dave Smith, Tom Gray, George Walker, David Kennard, Elliot Oring and Dave Champaigne.

Throughout his time at the WFIU, Walker has witnessed the evolution of the station and its work from their beginnings in classical music. He was there for the creation and growth of the NPR network, which did not exist when he started working at the WFIU as a student.

“For many years, I had the longest (by far) weekday airtime at any NPR station. During those years, the only network show during my airtime of 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. was Adventures in good music with Karl Hass. No news from NPR – I removed it from the thread or it was from our news staff,” Walker recalled.

His position extended to arts coverage in south-central Indiana, including reviewing hundreds of stage and concert productions and interviewing performing artists.

“I’ve had the good fortune to interview so many creative and talented musicians, dancers, actors, directors, writers and scholars, from Yo-Yo Ma to Buckminster Fuller, Twyla Tharp, Yefim Bronfman, the Canadian Brass, Maya Angelou, and Bill T. Jones. I’m very proud to have known the remarkably warm and talented Dave Baker and Josef Gingold (who always called me ‘dear boy’) and to know Menahem Pressler,” Walker said.

George Walker in the 1980s

Shortly after his 45th birthday as a full-time WFIU employee, Walker will retire on July 29. He wants listeners to know he will miss being with them, but made the difficult decision to leave WFIU after he was recently diagnosed with progressive frontotemporal dementia. , which affects his ability to speak.

Station operations director John Bailey says: “In an industry that apparently sees some people come and go within 45 days, the 45-year milestone is no small feat. I will never forget what a former manager of this station said to me: “George Walker is the sun. In the morning, he is still there. Now that we stand on the brink of sunset, we know that we will miss his institutional memory, his stellar spirit and his sunny disposition.

We invite you to share your best wishes for George Walker by fill in this form (requires Google sign-in) or email [email protected].

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