Classical 24

Host Bios and Pictures

Julie Amacher

Julie Amacher (fill-in host)

Julie Amacher is the only four-time winner of the PRPD Announcer of the Year award. Her work as music director of KUNC/Greeley helped win that station the PRPD Flo Award for Best Station six times and the Fundraising Award twice. Amacher's record of outstanding work as an announcer, programmer, and producer at KUNC make her one of the most respected hosts in the public radio system.


Andrea Blain

Andrea Blain was born and raised in the Midwest, but lived in Northern Ireland for 33 years, working as a freelance musician, teacher and journalist. She joined the BBC in 1998 and worked in various capacities in the areas of classical music, religion and ethics and current affairs. She plays violin, viola, piano and organ. A lifelong interest in orchestral and choral conducting has been the catalyst for her involvement over the years with a variety of ensembles including orchestras, choirs and theatre groups. She was an adjudicator for the Association of Irish Musical Societies and conductor of the Belfast Bach Consort. Being the only member of her string quartet, Avalon, prepared to talk to audiences about their Irish/Classical musical fusion led her eventually to a radio microphone, and she has never been far from a studio since then. Andrea is delighted to join the C24 team, and has learned a great deal from all of them, all of it good.

Scott Blankenship

Scott Blankenship

Scott Blankenship started his radio career in college when he began working as a volunteer at a local cable radio station, announcing alternative and new rock music. His love and appreciation of classical music began at public radio station KVNO in Omaha, where he spent 13 years in various on-air and management roles, five of those years as the morning drive-time host.

Indications that radio was in his blood go back to age five, when he used a corkboard and a battered phonograph as a make-shift radio studio, his father's Air Force issue flashlight served as his "on air" light. In his spare time, Blankenship is an avid cyclist and amateur playwright with several produced scripts to his credit.

Bob Christiansen

Bob Christiansen

Bob Christiansen has been an announcer and program director for nearly 30 years. He teamed up with Bill Morelock while at Northwest Public Radio, and became part of the nationally distributed "Bob & Bill," which won a CPB program award in 1989. In addition to his current work in classical programming, Christiansen hosts shifts on Minnesota Public Radio's classical music stations, including hosting "The Opera," a weekly program devoted to one of his personal weaknesses.

Jeff Esworthy

Jeff Esworthy

Jeff Esworthy previously worked at WKSU-FM/Kent in northeastern Ohio, where he was host from 1978 to 1995. He professes a widely diverse musical background. As a teenager, he developed a keen interest in the classical music of North India and studied sitar. In college he studied anthropology, the music of India, Japan, and Africa, and music from rural Northern Thailand. Esworthy also has an interest in folk music. He has played banjo in a southern string band and also plays fiddle. He describes himself as a "fairly nocturnal person."

Valerie Kahler

Valerie Kahler

Kahler was born and raised in Mesa, Ariz., and graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in performance as a cellist. She was a member of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. She began her career in radio at KNAU-FM/Flagstaff in 1989, working as program host and music director. During the summer of 1998, she worked for National Public Radio's "Performance Today." Her interests in music are wide-ranging and include many classical genres, pop, Broadway music, and more. Her current classical favorites are clustered around the early 20th century and include Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," Respighi's "Ancient Airs and Dances" and the violin concerto by Samuel Barber.

Bill Morelock

Bill Morelock (fill-in host)

Bill Morelock fell into radio as a refugee from graduate school. This was at Washington State University in Pullman, where Edward R. Murrow learned how to speak like Edward R. Murrow. Therefore, a permanent broadcast inferiority complex developed. In 1988, he conspired with Bob Christiansen to create the daily classical music show "Bob & Bill". It was distributed nationally by NPR from 1991-96. As a storyteller Morelock agrees, for comprehension's sake, always to proceed from left to right. As a golfer, though, he prefers to work his approach shots right to left, since the game is incomprehensible either way.

Melissa Ousley

Melissa Ousley (fill-in host)

Melissa Ousley stumbled into a career in broadcasting many years ago when she moved to Wichita, Kansas to be near her soon-to-be husband. The attraction (to radio work, that is) was immediate and the chance to be around great music without having to practice piano was irresistible. After establishing herself as a host and producer in Kansas, Melissa moved to Minnesota and continued her work at WCAL in Northfield and Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul. Her morning classical show at WCAL was twice named "Best Classical Radio Program" by the Twin Cities paper City Pages. Melissa grew up near New York City. As a teenager, she attended the Preparatory Division of the Manhattan School of Music. Her bachelor's degree in music education is from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. When she's away from the airwaves, Melissa loves to run, read, and spend time with her family.

Mindy Ratner

Mindy Ratner

With years of broadcasting experience and a lengthy list of performing credits under her belt, Mindy Ratner infuses her weekend programs with her knowledge and deep roots in the classical music community. Ratner's broadcast career began at Wisconsin Public Radio and includes tenures at stations in Cincinnati and Philadelphia. She joined Minnesota Public Radio in 1983, and has become a fixture of the regional arts and culture scene.

Ratner appeared as narrator with several community orchestras in works as diverse as "A Lincoln Portrait" by Aaron Copland, Stravinsky's "A Soldier's Tale" and Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," and she hosted live broadcasts of the Minnesota Orchestra's Sommerfest seasons for more than a decade. Her spare time is devoted to international travel; folk, ballroom, and contradancing; singing in the Minnesota Chorale; her two cats; and trying to stay ahead of the weeds in her garden.

Elena See

Elena See

Elena See started her radio career in Minnesota in 2001, working as part of the production team for Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion. She then decided it was time to put her clarinet-ing skills to work and so began performing in local orchestras and working as a classical music host for Maine Public Broadcasting. Eventually, she headed south to Washington, DC for several years to try out satellite radio with Sirius XM. When she's not on the public radio airwaves, Elena is usually spending time with a great book, her family (which includes a couple of enormous dogs), or her guitar.

Steve Seel (fill-in host)

Steve Seel possesses a broad knowledge of many musical genres, having hosted radio programs ranging from classical to jazz and even avant-garde music at radio stations around the country. Steve began his love affair with public radio at the age of 24 working whatever shifts he could at his hometown station of WUSF-FM in Tampa, FL, and from there worked his way to snowy Buffalo, NY and its renowned classical station WNED-FM, where he hosted mid-days and the weekly experimental-music show Present Tense.

In 2005, Steve became one of the founding voices on Minnesota Public Radio's eclectic station The Current. While there, he hosted afternoons and mornings, and conducted in-depth interviews with pop music luminaries ranging from Brian Eno to David Byrne to Tori Amos. Steve is a basement composer obsessed with all things both minimalist and slow, and might actually be incapable of writing anything that exceeds 75 beats-per-minute.

Lynne Warfel

Lynne Warfel

Lynne Warfel returns to a 24-year radio career in her role as a "Classical 24" host. She has the distinction of being one of C24's first national hosts when the service began in 1995. She was also heard locally on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) from 1993-2005. In her former MPR incarnation, she hosted the Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest, "Echoes of Christmas" with the Dale Warland Singers and "Sommerfest" broadcasts, and she appeared as guest narrator with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra.

Before coming to MPR in 1993, Warfel was at WCAL in Northfield, Minn. From 1989-1991, she hosted a daily show at rock station Radio Forth in Edinburgh, Scotland. Joined by two rather raucous and unpredictable Scotsmen partners, she also hosted Radio Forth's "Sunday Morning Zoo Crew." Her radio career began 24 years ago in Los Angeles at the commercial classical KFAC, and in 1988 she filled in for Jim Svejda at KUSC. She earned a bachelor's degree in theater and minored in music (voice) at Northwestern University, finishing a master's at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. She still works as a professional actor and voice-over artist, and is a proud 30-year member of Actors' Equity and Screen Actors' Guild. She chairs the North Country Gordon Setter Club's dog rescue program. Her passions are music, theater, finding the funny side of life and dogs of all varieties.

Jon Zech

John Zech

John Zech is a radio veteran with 21 years of broadcasting experience. He is an accomplished trombonist whose knowledge and love of classical music make him a perfect fit for a classical music series.

Zech is multilingual, speaking English, German, French, Spanish and Italian. His interests are broad, including tournament level tennis, all forms of billiards, and martial arts. He also boasts tremendous marketing savvy, having spent many years in management and sales for a Twin Cities-based multilingual communications company.