WEMU names new host for 'Sunday Best'
Nik Thompson has been named the new permanent host of "Sunday Best," the popular traditional jazz program on WEMU (89.1-FM).
Thompson has been serving as interim host of the show since longtime host Arwulf Arwulf stepped down in early February. Thompson will continue hosting 89.1 Jazz on Saturdays (5-8 a.m.) through the end of April, when a new host will be named, the station said in a press release.
"Sunday Best" airs from 10 a.m.-1p.m. Sunday's on WEMU, Eastern Michigan University’s public radio station.
“Nik brings out the new in the old, with great melodies, charm, and fun,” WEMU Program Director Clark Smith said in a prepared statement. “I'm absolutely thrilled that Nik will continue to host 'Sunday Best.'”
“Nik grew up in Ann Arbor listening to WEMU and now adds his own personal dimension and taste to the mix,” said Music Director Linda Yohn. “Listeners can expect longtime jazz favorites such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday and Lester Young along with surprising classic blues selections. Nik may also play some of today’s finest traditional jazz players in an effort to keep moving the music forward. He is deeply committed to the community and to excellent music. He will be great company for WEMU listeners on Sunday mornings.”
An Ann Arbor native, Thompson began at WEMU as an overnight music host in 1999 when he was a student at EMU, the station said. In 2006 he moved to his current time slot on Saturday mornings where his mix of jazz and blues standards with roots, soul, and Americana has created a loyal following among WEMU listeners. He sat in for Arwulf for several months a few years ago when Arwulf took a personal leave and has a deep familiarity and abiding fondness for the classic and traditional jazz featured on "Sunday Best."
“How exciting to host a program as beloved and respected as the Sunday Best,” said Thompson in the announcement. “I am humbled and enthused to take on the responsibility that comes with both the legacy of the program, and the music itself. “For me, it really does come down to the music. Most music from the first half of the 20th century is ignored at this point. What a great opportunity to have three hours to explore these fundamental American sounds, and reacquaint listeners with the forbearers of the music we hear today.
“When I think about the program as Arwulf made it, I think primarily in terms of 'fun.' Arwulf always had fun with the genre. I want the Sunday Best to be a blast. I want people to brighten up when they hear it. For many of us, Sunday mornings are one of our last chances at fun before the work week begins—and I don't take having fun lightly. I want to energize and inspire folks. I know I have fun putting the program together—I hope that's evident and contagious.”
Thompson is the fifth "Sunday Best" host in its 32 year history. The program began in 1980 and was hosted briefly by then-student Lou Rabadeau, then by current "Groove Yard" host George Klein, and current 89.1 jazz host Michael Jewett, before Arwulf began his 25-year run in 1987.