Cleve Callison

Station Manager

Cleve Callison has been WHQR's station manager since September 2010. He is the former general manager of WMUB Public Radio, the NPR station at Miami University in Oxford. Prior to that he was station manager of WFDD Public Radio at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.

In Ohio, Cleve also served as the executive director of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, a nonprofit working with houses of worship on energy efficiency and conservation projects. He worked on marketing communications projects for Miami University's School of Education, Health and Society, and taught public speaking at Miami's Hamilton campus.

Cleve describes himself as a boat person from academia. He moved over to public radio after four years of classroom teaching. He loves to work in public radio, to listen to it, and to be around people for whom public radio matters. "It's the best kind of teaching," he says. "It's life-long learning." Rarely having been able to teach his primary field (10th century English sermons), later in life he discovered adult education classes, where he has taught Anglo-Saxon England, History of the English Language, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Faulkner (notice kind of a progression here?) and Reading Poetry. He makes occasional contributions to his personal blog and his Twitter account (@clevecallison).

Cleve has a bachelor's degree in English from Duke, and a Master's and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. His greatest claim to fame is that he once appeared on Jeopardy!, where he won a washer-dryer, a Hooked on Phonics set and a year's supply of flea powder.

Ways to Connect

Well, today is my last full day in the office before retirement, so Friday Feedback is heading for the last transmission. It will be bleedin’ demised and pushin’ up daisies after today. I’ve had a great time reading these little messages each week for the last seven years, and I’ve learned a lot. Thanks to all of you for making it possible. I’m very happy to report that the future looks bright for WHQR. The new manager, Michelle Rhinesmith, will be moving from public radio service in Florida soon and will assume her duties on August 14th. She and I have been in daily touch, and I’m confident that the station will continue to grow under her strong leadership. Please welcome her to the coast and to WHQR.

Howard Lake | Flickr | www.emergencydentistsusa.com/speak-up/

There is one thing that each of us is more familiar with than anyone else in the world, and that is our own language and the way we speak. Most of us are accustomed to using different language when talking to parents, children, spouses and partners, co-workers, friends, etc. How do we know when to switch gears? When we hear a new word, how do we know when we should incorporate it? Or do we reject it? How do all these different streams come together in a population, and what drives changes in language as time goes on?  

GUEST INFO: 

Listener Jeff wrote this week about several things: “Sorry to hear of your retirement. WHQR listeners will miss you (in a good way).” I imagine that by now some listeners may be saying “How can we miss you if you won’t go away?” Never fear, campers: next Friday will be my last day in the office. I hope to hear from you by then. Jeff went on to add; "1) I think WHQR should emphasize sustainer memberships (monthly donations by credit card) during all fundraising drives. All major NPR [member stations] have started emphasizing this approach, as it presumably smooths out their cash inflow and makes it more predictable. Since so many people come to Wilmington and stay, particularly people who are used to subscribing to a local NPR station elsewhere, it would make sense for WHQR to make donating easy for them.

I mentioned last week that I’ll be retiring soon, and my last Friday Feedback will now be two weeks from today. I’d love to hear from a lot of listeners about your likes and dislikes of the station. Fortunately, a Stealth Drive campaign such as is now going is a great way to hear from listeners in the form of comments on whqr.org. Here are some comments from the very earliest days of the campaign. Peggy wrote: “Best station on the radio. I listen mornings and any time I'm in my car. Saturday and Sunday's are dedicated to WHQR. Thank you for getting the Pharmacy Hour. They have some great information.”

[AUDIO CLIP]

This is Janice. . . Regarding your promo for Mrs. Rivenbark, where she brags that she is paid to be a smartass: the choice would be better to be “smart-aleck”. If she chooses to be common and trashy that is her choice, but it is not in profile with WHQR. Thank you very much.

Listener Caroline wrote last week:

Our area experienced outages today that affected internet, cable tv and cell phones. It was very disconcerting to be completely out of touch with the rest of the world for several hours. . . As a regular listener to WHQR I was very disappointed that the station made no public service announcements or addressed it any way.

Tucked into the rolling hills of the upstate South Carolina piedmont, a small country church is the remnant of a settlement of African American slaves in the years after the Civil War. This visit to Soapstone Baptist Church is an audio portrait of a historic community and its ancestors…

Roosevelt Aiken: The church is built on this outcrop of rock, and this gives new emphasis to the Biblical “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

OK, this is what my week has been like. I got an email message from someone who had found one of our news stories on the GenX situation in the Cape Fear. Describing himself as an "environmental activist", he had tried to repost it on Facebook but Facebook would not let him do so, and he wondered if we could fix that. I told him that we were all scratching our heads about this, though now I think I have a better idea. Then I started getting more, and lengthier, communications from him. I wrote to him, as I have done with many groups, “I do not participate in decisions about what goes into our news coverage. Please remove me from your mailing list. Thank you.” Well, as the crummy paid ads on the web say, you won’t believe what happened next.

Isabelle Shepherd

On last week’s CoastLine, Cleve Callison interviewed New York Times best-selling author, humorist and columnist Celia Rivenbark. Among the topics they discussed, with help from callers, was Celia’s recent decision to make her columns more political, and the resulting fallout, both personal and professional…

Isabelle Shepherd

Our CoastLine guest on Thursday, June 15, 2017 was New York Times best-selling author, columnist, and now playwright Celia Rivenbark. Her column is syndicated nationally, but she lives right here in Wilmington and we're lucky to have snagged her as a guest.

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Listener Wayne wrote: “Decline of American societal values is led, in part, by the trend-setting broadcast of vulgar language by the media. My long and appreciative listening to WHQR finds that it is a media outlet which does maintain a good level of broadcast quality. Yet from time to time a little cuss word manages to find its way onto WHQR's airwaves. . . a case in point is the recent announcement of some material to be aired entitled "Getting Paid to Be a Smart <expletive deleted>." . . it appears to me that our WHQR is in a position to assist in reversing the use of this improper language. . . I appeal to WHQR to exert a little more positive influence over the vocabulary used by its own staff and local contributors.

By Photograph by en:User:Stijn Ghesquiere 2004., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=295333

Last week I wrote about our effort to restore our HQR News signal to full power. A few days afterwards, I received this email from an HD2 listener in Brunswick County:

The restoration of beautiful music is always a good thing.

Thank you so much.

It has been sorely missed.

By Jim - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1050996

On Thursday, June 8, 10am ET, NPR will offer a live video stream of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence proceedings. See the bottom of this story, beginning Thursday at 10 am.

As members on our email distribution list know, HQR News (that’s this channel) operated at low power for a day or so earlier this week. Thanks to George Scheibner, John McHarry and our consulting engineer Jobie Sprinkle, we identified the problem as a failed power supply for the main transmitter. The team went back to the wilds of Brunswick County to take us back to full power, [which was restored shortly after 1 pm Thursday].

Note: WHQR 91.3 returned to full power shortly before 1 pm, Thursday 6/1. Thank you for your patience.

Scott Relan wrote on Tuesday: “I watch an awful lot of movies, coming from my previous career as well as occasional festival judge, but [The Sense of an Ending at Cinematique] really stuck with me. Kimberly and I both left Thalian [Monday] night with our jaws dropped. It was quite beautiful and sad. The audience was lighter than normal, and that is a disappointment as I think the regular Cinematique crowd won't know what they're missing. . . You all always pick the best movies for the Cinematique screenings. I try never to miss any.” Thanks, Scott.
I’m going to depart a bit from the usual content of Friday Feedback to step back for some context. . .

May 11 and 14, 2017: This one is our Road Trip! show. In this hour, we’ll talk about some favorite as well as lesser-known places to see in the Carolinas, either South or North.

Our guests are Michael Graff, editor of Charlotte Magazine, and Philip Gerard of UNCW, author of Down the Wild Cape Fear.

Listener Anna wrote concerning reporter Vince Winkel’s story about the dedication of a plaque on Confederate Memorial Day. I’ll quote it at some length: “…as I was driving my car this week, I am quite sure that the drivers around me were wondering who this mad woman was who was yelling back at the radio. I yelled because I was incensed by what I heard, in particular by [the] lack of follow up questioning to the assertions made by the members of the Daughters of the Confederacy. 

I’m going to deal today with an issue worthy of serious attention. This past Monday Pat Marriott, on his Evening Concert program on Classical HQR, played music by Felix Draeseke. That’s an unfamiliar name in music, and Pat explained on Monday morning that the works of Draeseke were favored by “the cultural authorities of the Third Reich”, then largely disappeared after World War II, but are now coming to public attention again. We immediately heard from listener E: “I find [Pat’s] choice, his timing, and his words to be particularly scary, alarming, and distressing."

This week I published results from our Spring Survey on whqr.org, and included a chart of all our programs from most popular to least. When we shared this story on Facebook, Jonathan Trunz posted this question: “Any trends in the comment box like “Please bring back Prairie Home Companion?” I found some support for that. Out of 417 respondents, 7 people voiced support for either Garrison Keillor or Prairie Home. It’s difficult to tell when people say “Bring back Prairie Home” whether they mean the old show with Garrison or the new show. For example, Nina wrote: “I miss Prairie Home Companion.” We know that Garrison is gone and not coming back. Anonymous specified that he or she specifically means the current show. We’ll continue to monitor the reaction. Some samples:

Here are the top-line results from our recent Listener Survey. Thanks to all who participated. Some observations:

  1. The Total is a product of the number of people voting for a given program and the average score (1-9, low to high). As in past years, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and NPR Hourly Newscasts are the top vote-getters.
  2. 417 respondents is considerably more than the last couple of years. There is reason for confidence in this data set. That said, there is reason for caution...

Penny Schmitt wrote: “Not kidding. Tuesday afternoon just after 4:00 p.m. Lynne Warfel actually introduced William Walton's "Orb and Sceptre" march as having been "played at every Coronation since it was written." Since this march was written for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953, and this is the one and only coronation that has taken place in the United Kingdom since, that certainly stopped me in my tracks while putting away the clean laundry! I know Lynn is not a local staffer, but could not resist reacting to this whopper!!!!" And this is Cleve speaking: I don’t know Lynne either, but I wonder if it’s possible that she knew what she was saying, and said it tongue-in-cheek.

CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=682157

Today is the last day for our Spring Listener Survey. We’ll give away a Smooth Landing or Classical Guest DJ-ship to one respondent, drawn at random. See whqr.org for details. Here are some nuggets from the Survey so far. Anonymous wrote: “Coastline is unremarkable, needs some life breathed in. . .1A is a terrible successor to Dianne Rheem. Josh the host is ateurish, sometimes unnecessarily combative, and rudely uninformed. (Opinionated tone and insterted noise does not substitute for intelligence).” A different Anonymous wrote: “CoastLine has an excellent moderator.”

Starting late Tuesday night and on into Wednesday afternoon we experienced a problem at our 91.3 transmitter in Winnabow, resulting in diminished signal strength and the complete loss of HD2 (though our web streams continued without issues). Anonymous from Supply wrote: “. . . as you leave, could you see [for] people like me who have given to the station religiously for many years that the station’s serious music is preserved and operational, hopefully for years to come (in fact, the station was started by people like me who wanted to hear the opera and other serious music)?"

One of the great things about our fundraising campaigns is hearing directly from listeners about what they like (or don’t). I’m touched and appreciative for the comments made about me on my retirement later this summer. Here are some other samples from last week’s Take A Day Off drive. Laura Dean of Wilmington said: “Thank you for consistently bringing excellent programming to Wilmington." Donna Giles and Sue Sneddon of Shallotte said: “WHQR is more important than ever in our current political climate. We need voices of reason news that is just the opposite of "fake”speakers who can discuss opinions in thoughtful clear ways without histrionics and vitriol. Thanks WHQR!”

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Tuesday, March 28: Because of a re-wiring project now going on at WHQR, listeners may experience temporary interruptions to network functions such as web pages and audio streaming. We apologize for the interruptions, and thank you for your patience.

Ben Newton from Australia - 24, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10462693

Anonymous wrote: “[The] pledge drive is sooo... demeaning and embarrassing. it must be terribly inefficient at raising money, terribly efficient at raising hackles. thanks for ruining "Science Friday". name withheld because of gossip.” And listener Jerry said “Why do you spend two weeks telling us that your pledge drive is shorter than ever?”

Beatrice Murch from Buenos Aires, Argentina - Fireworks, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3393567

Our "Take a Day Off Drive ends today.

Thanks to your generosity, we hit the $140,000 goal of this campaign today. As promised, we will end the campaign one day earlier than ever before, and resume regular programming at 7 pm Tuesday night.

Public stations face an uncertain future if we lose funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. So it’s essential that support for WHQR reach unprecedented levels from our renewing and especially NEW members.

By Beatrice Murch from Buenos Aires, Argentina - Fireworks, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3393567

We're taking a day off!

The Spring 2017 "Take a Day Off" campaign reached its announced goal just before 1:00 pm on Tuesday March 21 -- with a day taken off! Our previous drives have run at least 7 days, but we wanted very much to shorten this drive, and thanks to you our listeners, we did.

Looking good for Day 5 of what we hope will be a 6-day drive. Thanks to all who have pledged!

We're giving away an Apple Windfall Wednesday night -- iPad Mini, Watch, Ear Pods and $100 in the iTunes store. You don't have to make a pledge to enter, and Sustainers are automatically in. 910-599-0398 or whqr.org.

The new WHQR App is ready for action!

The WHQR app for smartphones and tablets provides super-useful features like live streaming, local news stories, your favorite programs and on-demand content. The App is free and available to download for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android phones. Find it using the links at the bottom or by searching for “WHQR” in Apple’s App Store or Google Marketplace. Or, just click here. 

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