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John Chester to Retire from Classical WETA 90.9 FM

Popular Host to Step Down from Afternoon Drive Shift in December

Washington, D.C. — John Chester, afternoon host at Classical WETA 90.9 FM, will retire at the end of December. He has hosted his signature afternoon drive slot at Classical WETA since February 2007 – a few weeks after Classical WETA became the exclusive classical music station in Greater Washington.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been very fortunate to share the music that I love with devoted radio listeners,” said Chester.  “I thank WETA for keeping classical music alive in Greater Washington and am grateful to the station’s dedicated audience for their ongoing support.”

“John has been a tremendous asset to Classical WETA, a vital presence on our air, a wonderful companion to listeners and a great colleague at the station,” commented Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA. “A true icon of Washington radio and a leader of his craft, he has created an extraordinary legacy of remarkable broadcasts. We will miss his wisdom and superb baritone on the air each afternoon.”

“One of the most pleasant outcomes of becoming Classical WETA, almost six years ago, was the good fortune of having John join us as a member of the on-air staff,” shared Dan DeVany, vice president and general manager of Classical WETA. “A long-time fixture in Washington's classical music radio scene, John has brought his experience, wit, warm on-air presence and general good will all to the betterment of Classical WETA.  We've all enjoyed having John here, and our audience has certainly shown their affection for him as well.”

Chester currently hosts afternoons and overnights on Classical WETA. He will continue to host the overnight shift remotely after he relocates to North Carolina with his wife and his tenure as afternoon host concludes.

Chester came to WETA in February 2007; he has worked in the radio business for more than three decades. After serving in the Air Force, Chester attended Southern Illinois University where he received a B.A. in Communications. He started his radio career working for WFRL in Freeport, Illinois and then worked for public radio station WILL-AM/WILL-FM at the University of Illinois for four years. Chester then moved to Greater Washington in 1981 for an opportunity to work at former WGMS as assistant program director where he eventually became a full-time announcer for the station. He worked for former WGMS for twelve years and then moved to Boston in 1993 to work for WCRB. In 1996, Chester returned to former WGMS as afternoon host until he joined Classical WETA in 2007.

Classical WETA 90.9 FM is the exclusive classical music radio station in the nation’s capital. Special features on Classical WETA include the following programs:

  • From the Top -- Sundays at 6 p.m. -- the hit NPR radio program featuring America’s best young classical musicians
  • Choral Showcase -- Sundays at 9 p.m. -- a wide variety of classical choral music from Washington and beyond
  • Front Row Washington -- Mondays at 9 p.m. -- classical performances by top local musicians and ensembles recorded at venues throughout the Washington area
  • NSO Showcase -- first Wednesday of each month at 9 p.m. -- an exclusive production from Classical WETA featuring the National Symphony Orchestra airing November through June
  • Classical WETA Opera House -- Saturdays at 1 p.m. -- Washington’s home for opera year round. From December through May, experience the power and passion of the Metropolitan Opera. The rest of the year features performances from leading opera houses around the world, including Washington National Opera.

VivaLaVoce is Classical WETA’s all-vocal classical music channel, available by live stream at and via the HD2 signal of Classical WETA.

Classical WETA and WETA Television are public broadcasting stations serving the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia with high-quality programming. As the leading PBS station in the nation’s capital, WETA Television broadcasts on four channels: WETA TV 26, WETA HD, WETA Kids and WETA UK. WETA Television productions and co-productions include PBS NewsHour, Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal and Ken Burns’s upcoming film The Dust Bowl. Embracing the educational mission of public broadcasting, WETA creates leading public service websites such as,, and WETA’s headquarters is located in Arlington, Virginia. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. For more information on WETA and its services, visit

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