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Colorado Public Radio host dies at 69

CPR Classical will pay tribute to Ray White on-air Sunday at 1 p.m.
Credit: Hart Van Denburg, CPR
Ray White

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Ray White, a radio veteran of 50 years, has died of cancer at 69.

White's long career spanned musical genres from coast to coast. He was most recently the afternoon host on CPR Classical from Colorado Public Radio (CPR).

“Ray was a music host and producer for CPR Classical since 2019 — part of a long and illustrious radio career,” said Stewart Vanderwilt, President and CEO of Colorado Public Radio. “He brought all of his experiences together in a very personal way. His big smile came across on the radio whenever you heard him.”

White's career included positions at stations for rock, jazz, classical, R&B and news stations.

His radio career began on the East Coast with stints at WHVY, WHCN, WAPP, WNEW, WQCD and WLIR. New York's WLIR helped launch the careers of artists like Billy Joel, Joan Jett and Phil Collins’ solo breakout from Genesis.

CPR said White's career took him to San Francisco where he worked for KKSF, KFOG, KQED and Classical KDFC, before he joined CPR Classical in 2019. 

Credit: Hart Van Denburg, CPR
Ray White

White's career included interviews with violinist Joshua Bell and classical guitarist John Williams, as well as rock, jazz and pop artists like Linda Ronstadt, Randy Newman, James Taylor, Roger Waters, Dionne Warwick and Pat Metheny, according to CPR.

“Ray had a storied career, interviewing and hanging out with rock legends, but we also remember his conversations with jazz and classical musicians,” said Monika Vischer, CPR Classical's program director. “A culture and history omnivore, Ray was equally fluent in jazz and classical. As one listener put it, ‘Ray didn’t fit the normal persona for classical hosts and was a refreshing sound in the afternoon.’ We are grieving with all of Ray's fans right now.”

CPR Classical will pay tribute to Ray White on-air Sunday, March 14 at 1 p.m., as well as on the CPR News show "Colorado Matters" later this week.

Those wishing to share a memory can do so on CPR's Facebook page, via email at classical@cpr.org or by phone at 303-871-9191.

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