The History of Jim Svejda

Jim Svejda is celebrating his 40th year at KUSC. Every weeknight, loyal listeners join him from 7 p.m. to midnight to hear his engaging musical choices and commentary. Jim is also host and producer of the syndicated radio series The Record Shelf which is carried by public radio stations in the U.S. and is heard on KUSC on Sunday evenings from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Jim was born in Michigan in 1947. He is a trained musician and earned a Master’s degree in English from Syracuse University. His early career was spent at WONO in Syracuse, New York; WCRB in Boston, Massachusetts and with Public Broadcasting Associates in Berkeley, California. Luckily for KUSC and our listeners, he found his way to KUSC in 1978 where he started as Executive Producer. And the rest is history.

While Jim is one of the most respected, critical voices in the classical music field, he also is one of the most entertaining and popular program hosts on public radio.

The Classical KUSC weeknight program and The Record Shelf feature items such as interviews with classical music notables, surveys of different classical recordings, critical looks at recently released recordings and rare historical recordings of great performers of the past. Jim has been praised for his articulate commentaries on his programs. He is appreciated by many for his frank and subjective opinions. In his published Record Shelf Guide, Jim himself describes the book as “an irreverent, selective and highly opinionated recordings guide of the best classical CDs.”

For the past 40 years, Jim has delighted Classical KUSC listeners with his witty, meticulously crafted commentaries on diverse composers, conductors and artists as well as a wide range of other subjects that attract his musical fancy.

Jim Svejda: Between the Notes

Jim Svejda: Between the Notes was chosen as one of a handful of shorts featured during the LA Shorts International Film Festival. The film celebrates Svejda’s 40th anniversary with KUSC and also recognizes his status as one of the most knowledgeable classical music hosts in the country.

Directed by Daniel Zucker, with a cast including renowned concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, composer Thomas Newman and film director Nicholas Meyer, the short documentary highlights what Svejda has done for the classical music world during his time at KUSC. The station’s former president, Brenda Barnes, commissioned the film to commemorate Svejda’s 40-year milestone.

“As the largest and most listened to classical public radio station in the country, we have a mission to make classical music and the arts an important part of people’s lives,” said Judy McAlpine, current president of the USC Radio Group. “Jim has been an integral part of that mission and for the past forty years has been a mainstay on KUSC and in classical music.”

Watch the film below.

Member Acknowledgements for Jim Svejda

Thank you, Jim! You are classical music radio’s Vin Scully-Chick Hearn-Bob Miller all time great! -J. Adrian-Thiroux, Los Angeles

You have been the soundtrack of our evenings for 40 years. Thank you for giving us and all of your listening audience your musical insights, varied and brilliant programming, interesting guests and a true sense of community–with brio! Thank you so much -S.L. Tittle, Palos Verdes Estates

Dear Mr. Svejda, you are not the only reason we love classical music, but your vast knowledge and good humor make us feel that we have a genuine radio friend to enrich our musical lives. Congratulations on 40 years! -T. Klammer, Irvine

Jim is faulous – monumental – a giant in the musical broadcasting world – knowledge and sensitivity -Z. Bar, Rancho Palos Verdes

I wish to send Jim my sincerest and most heartfelt gratitude and congratulations for his four decades of exemplary service to KUSC. His informative, witty and humorous demeanor has infused many a musical selection and artistic interview with a real sense of enlightenment and true perspective. Add his soothing bass-baritone voice and slower pace and you have an intimate family-like atmosphere and a desire to ‘stop and smell the roses’ – he really ‘wraps himself around you’. In short, he walks with you in an adventurous journey into the wondrous world of classical music. -M. Sandler, Los Angeles

When I hear his theme music come on, I know I am in for a good time. -R. Phipps, Pomona

I’d tune in just to hear Jim say his name. All the best. -K. Paugh, Los Angeles

Mr. Svejda–You have made my day every day. You helped my daughter find her information to share with her 4th graders. They get to listen to classical favorites and are learning about composers’ lives. Thank you, Jim Svejda for your untiring delight in sharing classical music for all of us. -Mr. & Mrs. Dessecker, Yorba Linda

Join us as we celebrate 40 incredible years of Jim Svejda!

Learn About The Jim Svejda Fund for Talent Development

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