WFMT welcomes Suzanne Nance to Chicago, and to the WFMT family. Suzanne comes to us from Maine Public Radio where she was the morning host on weekdays. Starting on Monday, she will be our late afternoon host, bringing you music and news. Over the coming months, you’ll be getting to know her between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM on WFMT. In the meantime, here’s a little Q and A. Please join us in welcoming Suzanne (back) to Chicago.
You’ve most recently been with Maine Public Radio. Are you originally from the northeast?
I grew up just outside of Philadelphia, in Newtown Square, PA and most of my family still resides in that area.
Have you always worked in radio?
My broadcasting career began in television in Philadelphia with an impromptu television interview (a story for another time)! In 2001, I joined the team at WHYY and had the opportunity to watch host Terry Gross (Fresh Air) and other extraordinary radio producers and personalities in action which was inspiring and influential. Eventually, I decided to focus most of my efforts on live performance (as a classical singer) and on radio broadcast as a host and producer. I became fascinated with the art of the interview and presenting classical music and the fine arts in an exciting way.
What’s your earliest memory of loving music?
Growing up, there was always music in my home. We would often find ourselves dancing in the kitchen, spilling into the living room before long. My mom and sisters possess a strong love of music along with a great sense of humor and eclectic musical tastes. My dad loves oldies and jazz and he would often DJ Sunday brunch for us! I’d often run around with a makeshift microphone, (usually a hairbrush) singing for any willing (or unwilling) listener! So, music has always been an important and beautiful part of my life.
Where did you go to school?
I attended Syracuse University (NY) to study music performance and the music industry for a B.M. degree. I received the Master of Music degree from DePaul University (Chicago) in 2005.
What are your interests beyond music?
Suzanne – I love to cook and read poetry! I enjoy dancing very much. And I like to travel and listen to people speak about their lives, cultures and experiences. I also love walking and playing with my dog (mini-poodle), Coco Chanel along Lake Michigan!
What do you think people would be surprised to know about you?
I’ve always dreamed of being on Saturday Night Live! I love 80’s music and I landed a plane when I was 7 years old.
What do you like to do in your free time? Do you need any recommendations from our listeners?
I enjoy attending concerts and events and supporting the local fine arts community. Yes, I’d definitely love for folks to let me know about exciting upcoming events. And, I always welcome hearing about pieces of music that are special to people and why.
Did you have any idea you’d be doing this (becoming a program host for a Chicago classical radio station)?
Are you kidding? (She says with a hearty laugh, and her hands stretched out wide)! This is a dream job! I have always admired and respected WFMT and its mission, hosts, supporters and listeners. Chicago is home to the most extraordinary fine arts station in the world, WFMT, and I am humbled and honored to now be a part of the team. I thank everyone that supports WFMT’s efforts and will work hard to contribute to this legendary network!
What did you love the most about New England/what do you think you’ll miss? How do you imagine adapting to Chicago?
I miss the people of Maine. It truly is an extraordinary place filled with hard-working, creative, good and dedicated people with a fantastic arts scene and a fine appreciation for the good things in life. However, I’m ecstatic to be back in Chicago. The people here are also wonderful and so welcoming. I’ve already enjoyed preparing shows for broadcast and attending Lyric Opera of Chicago’s dress rehearsal of Verdi’s Otello in preparation for WFMT’s live broadcast. The music and art scene is amazing and the lake is glorious. I have friends here and I feel incredibly lucky to once again call Chicago home!