I was shocked when I read this announcement in a newsletter from Yadgar’s current radio home, WMSE 91.7. I knew he was broadcasting there on Sundays but until their notice, I hadn’t seen anything in the media.
Obie Yadgar was a long time fixture at Milwaukee’s classical flagship radio station, WFMR! A radio station, that sadly isn’t a radio option in Milwaukee anymore. His morning show was a thing of aural beauty. He had impeccable taste when it came to mixing classical pieces so that they seemed to flow one from another. And his smooth lilting voice had an incredible precision in its English and a joy in the clear and precise pronunciation of composer names and opus names and listing numbers. And once you heard that voice, you never forgot it, never got tired of it, and would recognize him the moment you heard him. My mind’s ear can still hear him back announce a piece by Mozart and then give us the correct Kochel listing number as well!
And I am grateful to Yadgar for helping expand my knowledge and appreciation of great classical music. Something that I had started by myself in high school and nurtured in college in course work and concert attendance. But his knowledge and eagerness to share it on the radio was a blessing. And I often had him playing over the house stereo system in my record shop, On Broadway Plays, before I opened to the public each weekday morning.
And don’t overlook his two novels, Will’s Music and Whistling To Cairo. I have read Will’s Music and it is a great book and relies heavily on Yadgar’s radio and music.
Here is an excerpt from the WMSE announcement, a bit of a tribute from one of his daughters: “A spiritual man who believed you always do your best and treat others with human kindness and respect. A man who deeply loved and always put his family first.“
And here is a link to his full obituary. He is far more accomplished than I realized so please take a moment to click through and read it.
And then this final note from WMSE:
WMSE is incredibly saddened by this tremendous loss and will be re-airing Obie’s Opus on Sundays starting from the beginning. Listen every Sunday at 8 a.m. or through the radio station’s website, through the WMSE app on your phone: 91.7 WMSE.