On-Air Highlights

Desert Island Discs

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Jun 12, 2015 3:24 PM

Former WITF Desert Island Discs host Ellen Hughes has died, after losing her battle with cancer. She was 68-years-old. Read her obituary here.

In recognition of Ellen, WITF broadcasted a few classic episodes of Desert Island Discs.   The two episodes include Ellen speaking with Ira Glass host of This American Life and  Pepe Romero, famous classical guitarist who grew up as one of the "Royal Family of Guitarists" of Spain and who may have some interesting life anecdotes to share. Selected segments from the broadcast are available to listen to below.

Also WITF's Cary Burkett and Mike Greenwald remember Ellen Hughes in a conversation on Friday's Smart Talk.

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  • epmark img 2015-06-14 18:08

    Any chance these 2 hours of D-I-D can be posted as a podcast?

  • John Rohrkemper img 2015-06-14 20:12

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the excerpts from "Desert Island Discs": such a reminder of a time when WITF mattered, when the station was on the cutting edge. Ellen Hughes was also responsible for another highlight of the great days, the "New Releases" program she co-hosted with Cary Burkett. He often was infuriating for his conservative tastes, but her openness to the cutting edge of modern and new "classical" music riveted me. I didn't always agree with her, but how could one not respect and celebrate such a cultured and discerning and daring voice. Who would have thought Harrisburg, of all places, could be so hip, so sophisticated?

    Those were the days. Those were great days. Hughes, as smart and good as she was, nevertheless was only the second best personality and hosted only had the second best show. Certainly John Clare's "Composing Thoughts" was the crown jewel, a locally-produced show that featured extended interviews conducted and produced by Clare that explored the creative processes of the world's greatest composers, including important local composers as well as Pulitzer Prize winners. I was disappointed that WITF buried the show at an off-hour. I never could understand that and am sure that if they hadn't it would have won every national radio award available. I know that I made sure to be at my radio every Sunday evening--nothing got in the way.

    I haven't felt such a passion for radio in a long time, but the tribute to Ellen Hughes reminded me that there really was a time when WITF actually mattered, when it made a difference,when we could speak of "our" local radio and do so with pride and pleasure.

  • H. Dennis Shumaker img 2015-07-02 18:36

    I was very sad to learn of Ellen Hughes' death. She was truly a creative genius & will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to have witnessed her talent.

    I was also sad when I learned of the recent, untimely death of classical music on WITF Radio, & before that, when you terminated the brilliant programming that she, Cary Burkett & John Clare brought to our then, very fortunate community. This station was an absolute unique gem, a true joy to listen to - but that is not the case now.

    WITF Radio is nothing but a hollow reflection of what it once was, with a few brilliant national interview shows & some insightful news programs, but only a little music thrown in as an afterthought.

    There was a time when WITF Radio was what I went to sleep by, what I woke up to & all I ever listened to during the day because of its wonderfully diversity, especially including some of the best classical music available anywhere in America. But, there is no compelling reason for me to listen any more, & that is almost as sad as the death of Ellen Hughes.