After 30 years as music director and on-air personality at WEMU-FM, the NPR/Jazz station at Eastern Michigan University, Linda Yohn has retired. Her last day on the air was December 18.
Yohn announced her retirement plan early this year.
Yohn began at WEMU in April of 1987, after stints at WKSU in Kent, Ohio, and a career as a jazz publicist in New York City. She began as host of “Café Du Jazz” on weekday evenings but quickly moved into the morning jazz slot where she has been a mainstay at 9 a.m. for over 25 years.
During that time, she oversaw a massive growth in WEMU’s jazz audience and mentored countless on-air music staffers including current hosts Jessica Webster, Wendy Wright, Nik Thompson, and Daniel Long.
Yohn has been named National Jazz Programmer of the Year five out of the eight years she was nominated, was given the Duke Dubois national award for service, and last summer won the Willis Conover/Marian McPartland Award for Jazz Broadcasting from the Jazz Journalists Association.
She has worked tirelessly on behalf of jazz in the community as a board member for the Southeast Michigan Jazz Association, as a panelist at numerous conferences and conventions, and with her stage presence as emcee at countless jazz shows that include the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Michigan Jazz Festival, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, and many others.
Yohn’s dedication to jazz and the local community earned her a special award from former Michigan 54th District Representative, David Rutledge, as Ypsilanti’s Ambassador for Jazz.
“Nobody has done more for jazz in southeast Michigan than Linda Yohn,” said WEMU’s General Manager, Molly Motherwell. “While Linda is well known and beloved in our area, I don’t know how many know of her impact on the national industry as well, both as a broadcaster and through her relationships with musicians, record labels, promoters, and other industry professionals. I don’t think there has been a jazz presenter in this area who hasn’t consulted with Linda before bringing in national acts because they know that she knows who is hot and who will draw. Everybody who enjoys live jazz in this community owes her a debt of gratitude.”
“This decision was not made lightly,” said Yohn. “But it’s time. I’ll miss working at WEMU and serving listeners with my heart and soul. I have never felt so fulfilled and inspired by my work as I have at WEMU, thanks to our wonderful listeners and the incredible Southeast Michigan jazz community.”