WFMT announces the upcoming retirement of longtime Morning Program host CARL GRAPENTINE


Share this Post

CHICAGO – February 20, 2018 – Classical WFMT, Chicago’s classical music radio station, today announced that longtime Morning Program host CARL GRAPENTINE, 69, will retire this summer from full-time employment at WFMT. His last day as a regular host will be July 27, but he will continue to work on special projects for the station.

“It’s time,” said Carl. “46 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!”

“How bittersweet to bid farewell to someone who has been such an integral member of our WFMT team,” said the station’s Program Director, David Polk. “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. But we’re thrilled that Carl will continue to have a presence on WFMT through various digital projects.” As Carl referenced, these will include a daily classical “almanac” feature on weekday mornings, highlighting important classical events and milestones; and a podcast, coming in early 2019, of Carl’s most popular commentaries. Topics include “A Funny Thing Happened at the Opera,” “Sinners and Saints,” and “Classical Music in the Movies.”

Carl joined WFMT in 1986 after serving as the morning host of classical music station WQRS/Detroit for thirteen years. After taking a break in 1990 to host mornings on the now-defunct classical station WNIB, Carl returned to WFMT in 1996, and has served as host of the Morning Program (weekdays from 6:00-10:00 am) ever since.

In addition to his duties at WFMT, Carl presents pre-concert lectures for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and many other groups. He has also performed as narrator with the Chicago Pro Musica (members of the CSO) and hosts concerts for numerous community orchestras and bands.  He has been the host for the nationally-syndicated broadcast concerts of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on the WFMT Radio Network, and he hosts the National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis each spring.

An alumnus of the University of Michigan School of Music, Carl has been the “stadium voice” of the University of Michigan Marching Band for forty-eight seasons – his voice being heard on national telecasts of sixteen Rose Bowls and numerous other bowl games. In 2006, he also assumed the responsibilities of game announcer at Michigan Stadium.

An accomplished conductor and singer, Carl has many years of experience as a church music director.  Currently he sings in the choir of Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest.  He also has sung the national anthem for professional and collegiate sporting events at Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field), Tiger Stadium, the Pontiac Silverdome, and the University of Michigan’s Crisler Arena.

About WFMT
WFMT, founded in 1951, is one of the nation’s most respected classical music radio stations, available on-air at WFMT, online at, and via app on Apple and Android mobile devices. WFMT showcases superlative programs, concerts, and live events – broadcasts from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and many more. The WFMT Radio Network is a leading producer and syndicator of a diverse selection of outstanding musical series, including Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin, the Beethoven Network, and the Jazz Network. Connect with WFMT on Facebook and Twitter.