Joseph Cooper Celebrates His 40th Anniversary At WLRN

Mar 18, 2014

03/18/14 - Today’s Topical Currents takes a much different approach than usual….We’re turning the tables!! An interviewer . . . becomes an interviewee. Bonnie Berman's guest for the hour is a friend, mentor and colleague: Joseph Cooper.  The Topical Currents host and executive producer celebrates his 40th anniversary at WLRN in 2014. He came to the station back when it was a low-powered, monaural education outlet.  It had just recently qualified as a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grantee and had just joined the fledgling National Public Radio Network. He’s seen the long road of progress and excellence in public broadcasting.  That's Topical Currents Tuesday at 1pm.  

From Peter J Maerz, Programming and Operations Manager 

Joseph Cooper began his career at WLRN in January, 1974, fresh from the University of Missouri School of Journalism (the first such school in the nation). WLRN  had been recently renamed from WTHS, and then operated from the old Lindsey-Hopkins Education Center which stood on the corner of NE 2nd Ave and 14th St.  At the time, WLRN was still broadcasting “in-school” instructional radio morning programs, run by Roger Kobzina and Len Pace. The days of NPR satellite broadcasts were still well in the future. 

Joseph Cooper circa 1977
Credit WLRN

Mr. Cooper was the founding producer and host of Florida Public Radio Legislative coverage in 1976. He was instrumental in the formation of Friends of WLRN and produced the first generation of pledge drives for Friends. A knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan of jazz, Mr. Cooper worked to  implement a jazz radio format on WLRN and produced three 13-week seasons of live jazz concert broadcasts from Hialeah Racetrack. Among other contributions, Joe created the original WLRN program guide, served as a station consultant at NPR during the creation of Morning Edition, wrote the initial federal grant to create the WLRN Radio Reading Service, and produced numerous radio documentaries, specializing in Florida water history, issues and homelessness.

As WLRN Radio Program Manager for many years, Mr. Cooper instituted 24-hour operation, including the late-night reggae format. Following the devastating 1992 Hurricane Andrew, he hosted and produced the “Care Force Radio” program which took calls from and provided information for desperate residents, live on the air. Joe began his run as producer & host of Topical Currents in January 1999.

Hats off to a man who has worn many hats here at WLRN and has played a significant role in making WLRN radio what it is today!

Best regards,

"Peter J" Maerz

Programming and Operations Manager