Ellen Hughes was a longtime host on WITF, appearing both on radio and television in various roles.
She lost her battle with cancer on June 9, 2015.
She was a mainstay of WITF's classical music programs for years, and a passionate champion of the arts in Central Pennsylvania. Her rich, contralto voice was well known to the community.
She co-hosted a program called New Releases, sampling new classical recordings every week and debating their merits with co-host Cary Burkett.
She was also Director of WITF's Next Generation Festival, organizing free chamber music concerts presented to the community each summer for several years.
But the role for which she is probably best remembered is as the host of the weekly radio program, Desert Island Discs. For eighteen years, she produced and hosted the program, borrowing a format from the BBC.
Sitting at a table decorated with a paper palm tree, Ellen would ask her castaway guests to list eight recordings they would choose to have with them if they were stranded on a desert island. The castaways were also allowed to have one luxury item and one book. (The guests were to choose something other than the Bible or the works of Shakespeare, since these were considered to be on the island already.)
Ellen interviewed more than 800 people of regional and national reputation in the course of the program. As a tribute to her memory, WITF is rebroadcasting a series of the programs over a 12 week period.
These are not necessarily "the best" of Desert Island Discs, but a representative sample of authors, composers, politicians, journalists and musicians of the type you might find any week when tuning in to hear Desert Island Discs.
WITF thanks Ellen's husband, Nick Hughes, and to her family for making these programs available to us from their own collection.
Below is the list of guests scheduled for this tribute series.
Sept. 13 Morning Edition host Bob Edwards
Sept. 20 Flutist James Galway
Sept. 27 Journalist David Dunkle
Oct 4 Adventures in Good Music host Karl Haas
Oct 11 PA Governor Dick Thornburgh
Oct 18 Conductor Stuart Malina
Oct 25 Author Bill Bryson
Nov 1 Composer Lalo Schifrin
Nov 8 Fresh Air host, Terry Gross
Nov 15 Cellist Zuill Bailey
Nov 22 Actor Clark Nicholson
Nov 29 Composer Peter Schickele
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