Remembering WMUK Pioneer Glen Bishop

Nov 12, 2015

This personal appreciation of Glen Bishop and his pivotal role in the history of WMUK was written by former station manager Garrard Macleod, who knew him well.

Glen Bishop 1931-2015
Credit WMU University Relations

"Glen Bishop died peacefully at his home in Kalamazoo this past weekend at the age of 84. Glen served Western Michigan University and WMUK brilliantly and faithfully for 45 years. He retired in 1995 as Associate Director of the Division of Academic Services. But his true love at the University was its public radio station, WMUK.

"Glen served WMUK first as Chief Engineer and Program Director, and later as Station Manager and Chief Engineer. In 1969, when Dr. Charles Woodliff created the Division of Academic Services, Glen was promoted to Associate Director of the Division, in which position he oversaw all the technical operations of the Division, including WMUK.

"Glen’s expertise was crucial in establishing WMUK as the first FM station in Kalamazoo in 1951, and the first non-commercial station in Michigan to broadcast in stereo. Glen’s accomplishments as program director include establishing the recording and delayed broadcast of all the major concerts in Kalamazoo, including the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Music Society of Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, the Kalamazoo Concert Band, the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony, and concerts from the Western Michigan University School of Music, among others.

"We at the station always deferred to his unerring judgment in important technical decisions. It has been said that Glen may have understood FM transmission better than its inventor, Major Edwin Armstrong, and he certainly understood and practiced the art of audio in broadcasting better than anybody. In fact, Glen, like Armstrong himself, always regarded his technical expertise, which was profound, as simply a way to deliver high quality programs through a high quality medium to an audience of intelligence and good taste. So in every important way, Glen has always been a vital presence at WMUK.

"The news of Glen’s death is very sad indeed for those of us who knew and worked with him. He was a very fine man in every sense of the word. And his contributions to the University transcended both WMUK and the Division of Academic Services. So many aspects of the University he loved would be incomparably diminished were it not for his touch.

"Glen had recently celebrated his 84th birthday in high spirits. At a certain indefinable age these closings of last chapters are not to be unexpected, except that they are."

See more information at the Kalamazoo Gazette and from Langland Funeral Home.