Long-term faithful listeners to Wisconsin Public Radio may shudder at the prospect of Program Manager Bill Lutes' departure, for he will be leaving behind a 20-year record of excellent service based on a solid background in music. But he himself looks forward to the challenges ahead, for at age 45 he's embarking on an entirely new path. "Over the course of a year of intense self-examination, I've been discovering what I really want to do," he observes. "It's a bit like that famous chestnut: 'When you come to a fork in the road, take it'."
The road up to this point is studded with memorable successes. Lutes is a talented pianist, a first-rate actor and unquestionably the area's leading classical-music radio program host. "I got my start in radio as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky," he notes, "worked part-time here at Public Radio in the late 70's, moved to Reston, Virginia for a while, and returned to Madison in '87." Though Lutes is personable and very easy-going, he is also serious about life. "I feel there is a sacredness in the music," he says, "and that it's important to relate that to people, to communicate with them directly."
The communication element will very likely remain as Lutes goes through the coming crossroads. "I'm looking forward to practicing the piano every day and to doing some teaching. I'll be directing the Savoyards' production of Princess Ida this season as well. I have a lot of affection for the people at WPR; much good came to me here. But this change will open up new possibilities, not least among them getting in touch with my spiritual side. Perhaps I've come to the point of sharing not only what I have or what I know, but also what I am."
Isthmus, March, 1999
Copyright 1999 Jess Anderson