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Afterglow Jazz and American Popular Song

About Afterglow

Afterglow is a weekly one-hour program of vocal jazz and popular song from the Great American Songbook, hosted by Mark Chilla. Each week, Mark highlights the best of vocal jazz and popular song from the 1930s to today, exploring a new topic about the greatest jazz singers. Whether it’s the unlikely friendship between Frank Sinatra and songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen, the times trumpeter Clifford Brown worked with vocalists, or songs all about love, Afterglow tells the stories of the Great American Songbook.

Afterglow airs on WFIU every Friday at 8 p.m and on WFIU2 every Sunday at 7 p.m. It’s also available for subscription via PRX.

If your station is interested in carrying Afterglow, please contact us for details.

Program History

The origins of Afterglow are rather misty now, but dogged detective work based entirely on an offhand reply from creator Dick Bishop leads us to believe that the program debuted on WFIU sometime in the late 1970s.

Dick took the title of the show and his theme from a Marian McPartland composition; all of the rest—the elegance, the passion, the laidback expertise, the congenial charm, and the delivery with a “martini moon” quality to it—came from Dick himself.

In addition to his considerable knowledge and love for the jazz and American popular song that he played every Friday evening, Dick also drew on his personal relationships and encounters with many of the performers that he featured.

Dick signed off on his last Afterglow program in January of 2005, turning the show over to David Brent Johnson, who also hosts WFIU’s Night Lights. In February of 2015 David passed the baton to Mark Chilla.

Theme Music

The theme music you hear each week at the beginning of the show is the 1933 Will Hudson, Irving Mills, and Eddie DeLange tune “Moonglow,” performed by Oscar Peterson 1956 Verve album Pastel Moods. Another version by the Benny Goodman Sextet sometimes shows up at the end of the show.

In the Dick Bishop years of the show, the theme was by Marian McPartland, a song called “In the Days of Our Love,” although it used to have a different title before Peggy Lee added lyrics to it. The title of the original instrumental tune was, appropriately, “Afterglow.” The recording used is by McPartland off of her 1993 album In My LifeMcPartland gave Dick Bishop special permission to use this tune.

Support Afterglow

Afterglow is brought to you in part by the generous support of WFIU listeners and our corporate supporters. Please consider making a small contribution to help us keep bringing the program to you each week, or if you’d like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, contact us.

Questions or Comments?

We love to hear from our listeners. If you have a question, comment or a suggestion for a future program please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know what’s on your mind.

Mark Chilla, Host

Mark Chilla
Mark Chilla took over writing and hosting duties for Afterglow in February of 2015, after the nine-year tenure of host David Brent Johnson (and the three-decade tenure of Dick Bishop!).

Mark has worked at WFIU since 2013, serving as the host and head writer of the music trivia show Ether Game. He’s also reported for the WFIU Arts Bureau, and served as the local host of All Things Considered and Weekend Edition Saturday.

A Georgia native, Mark has been a musician all of his life. He has degrees in music theory and voice from the University of Georgia and the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and taught music at both IU and Butler University. He’s also a music scholar and educator, who’s given talks on everything from the the songs of Jerome Kern, to the Beatles, to modern hip-hop music.

When not hosting Afterglow, Mark is teaching others about music, playing guitar or ukulele, or singing with the Bloomington choir Voces Novae. He has sung in almost every kind of musical genre, including jazz—he sang with the group Classic City Jazz in Athens, GA, and even sang jazz professionally for a time!

Other Afterglow Staff

  • LuAnn Johnson, Program Services Manager
  • Will Murphy, Program Production Manager
  • Eoban Binder, Director of Digital Media

WFIU Supporting Staff

  • Joe Goetz, Music Director
  • Nancy Krueger, Grants/Gifts Officer
  • Marianne Woodruff, Corporate Support Director
  • John Bailey, Operations Director
  • Perry Metz, Executive-in-Charge IU Radio-Television Services

In Memory of Dick Bishop (1938–2016)

Afterglow remembers the original host of the program Dick Bishop, who worked at WFIU from 1957 to 2015. Dick Bishop passed away on May 3, 2016. He was the first jazz host on WFIU, beginning with a 15 minute scripted program, moving on to Afterglow in the 1970s, and then to the show Standards By Starlight in 2012. Michael Bourne, WFIU’s former jazz director, said that Dick “was always cool and swinging.”

You can hear Dick’s final episode of Afterglow from 2005 in the link below, as well as remembrances from WFIU and the IU Newsroom.

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