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Remembering Dick Bishop

WFIU's longest-tenured host has passed away. His association with us stretched from 1957 into this decade.

The longtime WFIU jazz host returns to the airwaves with a weekly celebration of the Great American Songbook.

The WFIU family is saddened to share that Dick Bishop, the host with the longest tenure in the station’s history, passed away Monday, May 2, after a long illness. He was 78.

Dick joined the station as a student announcer in 1957. Two years later, he established WFIU’s jazz presence with a daily 15-minute program. For most of the 55 years that followed, he was by day a part of the administration of Indiana University and the IU Foundation; and he continued to moonlight as a jazz host for WFIU.

He founded the popular-song program Afterglow, which remains a Friday night institution on our airwaves, as well the longtime show The Big Bands. His most recent program, which aired from 2012 to 2015, was Standards by Starlight.

In announcing his passing to staff, general manager Perry Metz said Dick was “known for his mild manner, love of the music, and broad knowledge of jazz musicians. … He loved WFIU and was always interested in how the station was doing and what he could do to help.”

IU Foundation President Emeritus Curt Simic remarked, “Dick Bishop played a major role in the evolution of the IU Foundation over the 20 years he served as a key figure  in the IUF President’s Office. There was not a single program developed that he did not remind all of us that we were dealing with individual people, not statistics. Many members of the IUF Board came to know  him as a thoughtful, dependable, gracious ‘go to person’ when they were in need of some advice or help. The University and the Foundation could not have been served better and with more loyalty than they were served by Dick. That service gave his life the satisfaction of meaningful work and countless friends. I shall miss him as I would miss a brother.”

Our on-air tributes to Dick this week are slated to include a special two-hour Just You & Me, Thursday at 3, filled with memories from friends and colleagues, and the music he loved; and, Friday evening from 8 to 11, Dick’s last episodes of Afterglow and Standards by Starlight. We’ll share information about further memorials as plans are finalized.

He’s being remembered fondly in the IU Newsroom here. If you’d like to share your memories of Dick Bishop, then we invite you to do so on our Facebook page and by email.

Indiana Public Media is a producer and distributor of public media from WFIU Public Radio and WTIU Public Television at Indiana University including your favorite programming from NPR and PBS.

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