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Longtime Oak Park radio personality retires from WFMT

Carl Grapentine says he'll still have a presence on air at classical station

February 23rd, 2018 2:06 PM

Carl Grapentine file photo

By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Longtime radio host and Oak Park resident Carl Grapentine announced this week he is retiring as host of WFMT 98.7's Morning Program, but the radio personality says his retirement is not a complete goodbye.

Grapentine, 69, said in a press release that his last day as a regular host at the station is July 27, but he will continue as a part-time contributor for special projects.

"It's time," Grapentine said in the press release. "Forty-six years in radio, including 42 years of morning shows! I'm grateful that most of my career has been here at WFMT, the world's best classical station.

"My very first program director in Detroit was a WFMT fan and used to tell me 'how things were done' at WFMT, so coming here in 1986 was a dream come true. I'm looking forward to continuing all the best parts of my job: a daily presence on the air, giving pre-concert lectures and leading listeners on trips (through Travelex International) – but without getting up at 4:15!"

Grapentine joined the station in 1986, following 13 years at Detroit's WQRS. Grapentine left WFMT in 1990, but returned to the classical radio station six years later.

Grapentine's not known to rest on his laurels, though, and presents pre-concert lectures for Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and others.

He's also served as the voice of the University of Michigan Marching Band for a whopping 48 seasons. Grapentine also began work as the game announcer for Michigan Stadium in 2006.

When he's not doing all that, Grapentine sings in the choir at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest.

"How bittersweet to bid farewell to someone who has been such an integral member of our WFMT team," station Program Director David Polk said in the press release. "All of us who start each day with Carl's unflagging joie de vivre, sharp wit and extensive knowledge of classical music will miss him."

Polk noted that Grapentine will contribute a daily classical almanac feature on weekday mornings and a podcast in early 2019 "of Carl's most popular commentaries."         

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com