MA 30 The Influencers: Lois Reitzes
Director of Arts and Cultural Programming
Lois Reitzes has fought for classical music in the radio wars of Georgia for a period of well over three decades and counting. She has been with WABE-FM since 1979 when a fellow Georgian named Jimmy Carter was still president, longer than any other radio personality in Atlanta.
Originally from Chicago, Reitzes has made her mark at WABE as a classical music announcer, the station’s program director from 1992 to 2007, the producer and host of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra broadcasts, and, since 2007, as director of arts and cultural programming. “Lois is known throughout the region as THE champion for classical music and the arts in general,” says Atlanta Chamber Players General Manager Rachel Ciprotti.
In January of this year, Reitzes’s ability to keep classical music on the agenda was severely tested when, in response to a small but vocal faction, WABE— an NPR outlet—scrapped daytime classical music in favor of local and network news and talk shows. Today, Reitzes is back on the air from 11 a.m. to noon with a new program titled City Lights, in which she interviews artists and covers news of all the local performing arts, including visual art and theater. She also has a weekly hour-long evening show, Serenade, that starts a 8 p.m. and kicks off the night’s all-classical programming. Plus, she oversees five hours’ worth of WABE’s HD-2 classical streaming channel, available 24-7 online or on HD radios, where she is able to play longer classical works that were not possible to air due to required NPR hourly news breaks.
“I feel like this is a job of a lifetime to be able to have five hours of music and engage the arts community,” Reitzes told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in January. “It’s a dream come true.”