Meet the Hosts
Bill Baker hosts WCNY-FM’s midday program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A native of Seneca Falls, Baker graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in French, and for 11 years, he was a high school French teacher. He returned to the classroom as a student at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, N.Y., where he earned his Masters in Communication Arts and began his broadcast career. His community efforts have been recognized most recently by Civic Morning Musicals in Syracuse for his commitment to local artists and composers; and by such organizations as the Red Cross of Central New York Blood Services, Success By 6 and Contact of Syracuse. He has also received awards from the Syracuse Ad Club and New York State Associated Press.
Jim Battaglia was born in the Southern province of Calabria and raised in an Italian American enclave on Syracuse’s Near Westside, where his parents established their home when he was two and a half years old. He is fluent in his first language, the Italian Calebrese dialect, and has toured Italy many times. He and his wife, Francine, have vacationed worldwide and are frequent visitors to his birthplace, the coastal village in Calabria. Jim graduated from CCBI with a degree in business and has been manager of Nojaim’s Market on the Near Westside for more than 40 years. He is Vice President of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame.
Jon English is an announcer for WCNY-FM on Saturday mornings and co-host of WCNY’s weekly art show Artifex. He is also a member of the voice faculty at Syracuse University as well as an accomplished singer and stage director. A native of Syracuse and a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Jon has performed a wide range of musical styles – from opera and oratorio to art song, choral, Broadway, and modern vocal chamber music.
Dubbed by some as “Mr. Bluegrass of Central New York”, Bill hosted the first all-bluegrass radio show in New York City in 1960. Coming to Syracuse as a US Air Force Public Affairs Officer, Bill started the “Bluegrass Ramble” on WCNY-FM in January 1973. In 1997, Bill was named “Broadcast Personality of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association. He emcees at least 13 bluegrass festivals every year and writes liner notes for bluegrass and old-time country music artists. Bill is a resident of Liverpool.
Marie Lamb, ClassicFM announcer from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays and host of Saturday Opera, Part 2 is a Central New York native and a graduate of the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University. Marie began in radio as the host of classical and opera programs at WIKE-AM, at the former Eisenhower College in Seneca Falls. She also hosted a daily jazz program for many years at WAER-FM in Syracuse. Marie began at Classic FM in 2002 as a board operator. Her duties have expanded over the years to include announcing, production, interviews, and running WCNY’s ReadOut radio reading service, which serves the blind, visually impaired, and people with other conditions that limit their use of print. Aside from her work at WCNY, Marie is the host of the award-winning “DXing with Cumbre” program for fans of international radio, which is heard on shortwave and as a podcast.
Joey Nigro has been entertaining audiences as a singer most of her life in musicals, clubs, concerts and cabaret performances. Her recordings and original songs have been featured on numerous radio and CD compilations. After graduating from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications with a degree in journalism, Joey worked in New York City before returning to Central New York. She was raised on Syracuse’s old North Side Italian American Community where she began interviewing immigrant forbears and second-generation Italian Americans in her family and writing about growing up Italian American. She is a charter trustee of the Landmark Theatre and has worked in workforce development for more than 30 years.
Bruce Paulsen hosts your afternoon drive time Classic Choices program weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. With degrees in music and theatre, Bruce has performed with many of the great musicians of our time. He brings more than thirty years’ performance experience to the microphone. WCNY is his second expedition into radio. Before this, he hosted opera programs and weekends for WGKA, Atlanta’s Voice of the Arts.
A graduate of Hamline and Yale, Pilgrim is a professional singer and recording artist. She is also a founding member of the Society for New Music and its educational programs, concerts and operas the organization sponsors. Having concertized throughout the U.S. and abroad with such conductors as Boulez and Keene, Neva has been artist-in-residence at Colgate University for many years. Pilgrim garnered numerous awards, most recently CMM’s Lifetime Achievement for outstanding contribution by a musician to the community.
Leo Rayhill has been the host of The Sounds of Jazz since 1961 and the program has been broadcast on WCNY-FM since the station signed on in 1971. Rayhill is also the host of Classic Sinatra, a weekly program devoted to the music of Frank Sinatra. Both shows air on Classic FM and are available daily WCNY’s Jazz HD station. A Central New York native, Leo is a graduate of Hamilton College.