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

Opportunity: The Reporter position at WHQR Public Radio will focus on local news content, primarily material for use in Morning Edition, All Things Considered, with corresponding links to web stories and podcasts. Under the supervision of the News Director, the Reporter will follow News Department policy in light of the station’s overall mission, and produce offerings that reflect the standards of audio production, journalistic ethics and public service using NPR’s best practices as a model.

You know, sometime you have one of those weeks when everyone thinks you're just swell. . . Yeah, this is not one of those weeks. Listener Len in Ocean Isle Beach wrote: "I will never contribute to NPR again. . . Your news reporting for the past year never revealed the facts of the sources of the stalemates on Capitol Hill, of the depth and breadth of the Obama successes, and the sources of his oppositions, and of the depth and breadth of Hillary Rodham Clinton's proposed programs. You only reported Trump's proclamations, and on Clinton's emails, a trumped-up year of falsehood.

Listener Patti enjoyed reading about all the awards WHQR received last week from the Associated Press and from the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas: “Congratulations for the awards and thanks to the news team for all their good work. It's great to see others recognize just how good you all are!” Thank you, Patti.
Commentator Peggy Porter’s remarks this week on bad behavior from people in the aftermath of last week’s election drew several reactions. For instance, listener Verena wrote:

Wednesday, November 9:

If you stayed up until about 2:30 last Tuesday morning, or learned of the results of the elections later, you know that nationally at least, a number of people were very surprised by both the victory of Donald Trump and to a lesser extent, the composition of the US Senate.

Here in North Carolina, the results may not have been as surprising, but they did reinforce the strength of the overall Republican gains. On this edition of Coastline, we'll talk about the reasons for those gains, and why they did surprise many people.

Listener Bill wrote: "Where is "Prairie Home Companion?!? PLEASE tell me there is technical problems and not a decision to drop it from your schedule. I've heard nothing about it being dropped, and as a long-time supporter I would be very unhappy about that decision. Please explain." And listener John wrote an actual and graceful-worded snail-mail letter along the same lines. I wrote to them that:

original: By ManuelFD - Own work fuente propia, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11368669

Last week I played a call by a fan of our on-air campaign, and got this email in response: "I really like WHQR. I'm a long time listener .. & I do contribute to your support. But I *HATE* your awful begging for money (on-air). Yes, I know someone called in & said he thought it was well done. I'm on the other side of that coin; it is awful. I find another station to listen to when you start & continue to run your terrible begging for financial support. Why can't you do it quietly, like other charities?. . .

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I've been out this week, so mostly it's listeners who will do the talking this week. Wendy Lewis wrote on our WHQR Public Radio Facebook page: "I am appalled at this stations partisan rhetoric. It's obvious this station is run by left wing nuts. Maybe you should try to be more in touch with the community that you are supposed to be serving." I thank Wendy for her comment. We do try to be more in touch with the community. Which is why we published an article about early voting, poll locations and same day registration, to which Wendy so strenuously objected.

So now it's time for some community voices:

Listener Donna wrote: “As a long time member, I am very glad that the goal for the pledge drive was met yesterday, but I a very disappointed that the pledge drive did NOT end when the goal was met. Early in the pledge drive, you told listeners that the pledge drive would end when the goal was met. We as listeners should have received 2 more hours without pledge banter. 

Repeated power outages related to Hurricane Matthew caused damage to WHQR's main transmitter on Saturday October 8th, but we are now operating at full power. Here are the specifics:

Listener Marilyn sent us this: "I cannot believe I did not listen to NPR until I arrived in Wilmington, became a Luddite and gave away all my electronics devices except my radio and new Jitterbug cell phone. Now, NPR is on all day and into the night. I refer to NPR Wilmington as the Rachel Lewis Hilburn station. . . She has the best radio voice I have ever heard plus intelligent and interesting comments in each setting."

This came from Anonymous:

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Listener David wrote: “If the uninterrupted drives have been successful, why do you do these [Fall pledge drives]?” It’s a good question, and one that we have examined in depth. We’re been very pleased with the success of our summer “Stealth” drives. We think listeners appreciate the fact that over the years we have reduced the number of fundraising days from 26 down to 15. But the Summer drive is different from Fall or Spring in that the goal is so much lower — typically, less than half of the big ones. Still, it took three weeks of fairly intense messages, several per hour in the last few days, to reach those goals. We don’t think our listeners would be in favor of a Fall drive that took six weeks of messages, even if none disrupts regular programming.

Sara Jarvis wrote:

I’ve been happily listening to WHQR via my SONOS system for several months. I access the station via Radio by TuneIn — a program that came loaded on my system. During that time, I’ve had several experiences in which the WHQR signal simply disappeared. . . For the past week, WHQR is totally inaccessible via the Radio by Tunein program.

Anonymous from Oak Island wrote, in part: “It seems that every day on virtually every program you air the topic is LGBTQs… 3.8 % of the population are LGBT and yet 85% of the programs seem to involve the LGBTs.”

Listener Susan wrote on our website after a recent commentary by Shane Fernando: “Beautiful memories, Shane. Thank you for sharing this. It reminds me that we are a multi-cultural nation of immigrants- some who came willingly and some forced. Our country has a rich and varied heritage... which we often forget in our attempt to make everyone 'the same'. For some reason, we assume that will make us feel safer and more accepted or more comfortable, but actually, embracing our differences and the richness of our ancestors, is what makes life interesting, teaches us respect, and gives us stories to tell.... stories that bring us into community to celebrate our lives and memories. Please keep on telling your story! Thank you.”

Listener Jimmy wrote:

I was a bit taken aback by a story aired in WHQR that informed us that “A conservative limited-government group is actively campaigning against Democratic nominee Deborah Ross in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race”. The story went on to outline their objection to Ms. Ross’ policies, accusing her of “raising taxes and supporting reckless government spending.", buzz words worthy of Roger Ailes.
I found that story, virtually verbatim, in the News and Observer, and discovered that your reporting left out the next paragraph, which revealed that this particular limited government group is funded by the Koch brothers. They, like most superrich, find government spending anathema to their quest to personally acquire the largest share of the nations’ wealth. After all, he who dies with the most cookies wins.

A station underwriter, who shall remain nameless, sent us this: "…regarding the underwriting, it’s funny. We had to hire a marketing firm to help us and the first thing they did was cancel the agreement I had with Kate [Brandis] -saying it was a waste of money. So when Kate called me back and told me that, I of course instantly reinstated our agreement. (I think of everyone there as my friends for one and two I knew it was the audience I was after). Anyway, to make the story short, we get a LOT of calls from WHQR listeners, and I love pointing that out to [the marketeer]!"

Listener Beverly wrote on Monday: "Cokie Roberts is just the latest NPR commentator offending my husband and me. We listen to NPR for news. We do not listen for an individual commentator's personal assessment.

“To be biased without even realizing it...for example, in asking a leading question...is sometimes understandable. Cokie makes no excuses for imposing her opinions. Whatever happened to journalistic principles? Is she not a journalist? She seems to be a lifelong politician which is contrary to the Jeffersonian principle of public service by citizens across the board as citizen duty...not public/political careers.

Abby Saunders of Hampstead wrote: "After hearing Isabelle Shepherd's story on Trump's rally in Wilmington [last week], I feel compelled to share my disappointment with the use of the adjective "lighthearted" to describe Governor McCrory's inappropriate joke about bathrooms during his speech. Certainly, all who are negatively impacted by HB2, as well as all who are in marked disagreement with a bill that violates human rights, would disagree that a joke referencing the bill is cheerful or happy-go-lucky. Thank you for your time.”

We received some calls and messages on Monday when listeners heard Donald Trump’s full speech to the Detroit Economic Club on our air. Some pointed out that there were some odd moments, such as when our local announcement aired right on top of NPR. Some wondered why we decided to pre-empt Here and Now to carry it. In both cases, at the beginning of the day, we were not aware that NPR intended to preempt the entire noon hour (and beyond) of Here and Now to carry the speech. A communications snafu caused us to miss some of the normally scheduled program cues.

Well, it must be karma. Just as in the last couple of weeks we have been celebrating out new AudioVault control software, another problem reared its head. A couple of weeks ago we started noticing and receiving reports of poor performance on our Classical HQR signal (92.7 in Wilmington, 102.3 in Myrtle Beach). People heard distortion in loud music and overall weak signal resulting from our attempting to solve the problem by lowering the music volume. For example, Joanne Purnell wrote: "Makes me sad not to be able to listen to my classical music in the car.

In the last couple of weeks we have experienced, and received reports of, poor performance on our Classical HQR signal (92.7 in Wilmington, 102.3 in Myrtle Beach). Symptoms included distortion in loud music and overall weak signal resulting from our attempting to address the problem by lowering the music volume. Once again, wonder-working engineer Jobie Sprinkle (Jobie-Wan) was able to fix the problem, and balance has once more been restored to the Force.

Listener Margee Herring wrote: "As you consider programming to fill aging programs (enough with Car Talk!), or retired programs (Prairie Home) or repetitive programming … , please give thought to introducing a less-than-accessible perspective. Several years ago, NPR conducted its own "voice audit" and recognized that its voices-of-color were frequently less than ethnic-sounding, and thus, began its code-switch programming in earnest. As communities re-consider our country's progress, or lack thereof, in race relations, an authentic and accessible black perspective would valuable.

Update in response to inquiries: Rachel Lewis Hilburn is not leaving the station. She is moving to a new role as the local host of All Things Considered, in addition to continuing on CoastLine. Opportunity: The News Director of WHQR Public Radio is head of the News Department and will supervise the station’s news coverage in all media.

Thanks to the 549 generous donors who made our Stealth Campaign such a success. Together we were able to end the drive several days early, and over the goal. The final tally was $73,615, and contributions are still coming in over the transom, so to speak. What did you think of the drive? Here are some comments we’ve received. Paul Reinmann wrote:

As I predicted last week, we were at last able to get our new AudioVault computer automation system up and running – with thanks to a lot of people here, but especially consulting engineer Jobie Sprinkle of Charlotte, assisted by George Scheibner, Lan Nichols and others. The irony of systems like this is that ordinarily, listeners are aware of them only when they misbehave, as the old system did recently in a massive way. But the new system will give us extra capabilities for producing and distributing content in new ways, and provide extra backups in case of failure.

From the earliest days of European settlement, Wilmington and the Cape Fear region have been places of active military involvement. From the Revolution through the Civil War, from liberty ships in World War II to the relocation of the Battleship North Carolina, this area has seen its share and more of events that have shaped the military history of our country. In fact, there is a movement in progress to have Wilmington declared America’s first World War II city.

I’ll get to listener comments in a moment, but first this: after returning this week from vacation, I’m happy to report that there are strong signs of progress at WHQR – despite recent setbacks concerning our program automation. The system we use to run both HQR News and Classical HQR, called AudioVault, suffered a major failure in late June.

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Jake Thomason had this reaction to a recent interview on The State of Things from WUNC: “Why is there a Christian discussion on your broadcast right now? My coworkers and I are loyal listeners, but are very concerned and not interested in hearing this. Christians have their own stations. Thank you for your time.” I wrote to Jake that the show segment featured an interview with two people who are attempting to approach environmental activism from a religious perspective, much as Dr. Martin Luther King worked within both an activist and a religious framework in the battle for civil rights.

David Gilkey/NPR

WHQR is deeply saddened by the killing of two NPR journalists on Sunday in Afghanistan. Photojournalist David Gilkey and Afghan interpreter Zabihullah Tamanna were embedded with an Afghan military unit when their convoy was struck by hostile fire. WHQR staff members Mary Bradley, Kate Brandis, Cleve Callison, and Jeff Hunter were honored to witness the presentation of an Edward R. Murrow award to David Gilkey in July of 2015, when they attended the annual Public Media Development & Marketing Conference in Washington, DC.

If you want to know “What happened to the Midday Interview?” Well, it’s still around, but with several changes. Our daily in-depth look at art, events and ideas, hosted by Gina Gambony, is now called Communique. It’s still heard at noon on Classical HQR, and now on HQR News twice a day, at 8:50 during Morning Edition and 4:45 during All Things Considered. We believe these changes will give wider exposer to our interview subjects on HQR News, while allowing CoastLine and the other noon-time public affairs programs to incorporate an NPR newscast.

Here’s a Feedback question I expected to get but did not, as of press time: “What happened to the Midday Interview?” Well, it’s still around, but with several changes. Our daily in-depth look at art, culture and ideas, hosted by Gina Gambony, is now called Communique. It’s still heard at noon on Classical HQR, and now on HQR News twice a day, at 8:50 during Morning Edition and 4:45 during All Things Considered.

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