89.1 WEMU

Celebrating Decades On The Air At WEMU With Michael Jewett & David Fair

Sep 10, 2019

(L to R) Michael Jewett and David Fair in the WEMU studio.
Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

Lengthy on-air careers are pretty rare in the radio business.  Here at WEMU, a number of on-air hosts have been on the air entertaining and informing listeners for decades!

89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with jazz and blues host Michael Jewett and news director and local Morning Edition host David Fair about their careers and memories on the air at WEMU.


For WEMU on-air music host Michael Jewett, working on the air at WEMU is his "life's work."  News Director David Fair says it's "a job that turned into a passion to serve listeners on a daily basis."  Michael has been on the air at WEMU for over 35 years.  David is celebrating 25 years on the air at 89.1.

Michael Jewett says the experience has only gotten deeper and richer for him, and he becomes more aware of what people get out of jazz radio.

A flashback photo of Michael Jewett from his earlier years at WEMU.

David  Fair says he has found a community "so deeply engaged, so richly intelligent, and so curious, and so full of expectation of what we should provide. that, on a daily basis, it became a challenge to live up to that standard."  But adds "in working towards and for that standard,"  he has found "is an investment from myself back out into the community and a deep and meaningful relationship" that he cherishes, adding "that has only grown through the years."

Michael says working at WEMU is a real investment for him on an intellectual, emotional, and even spiritual level and says after working here for a few years he couldn't imagine himself doing anything else. Michael says the entire industry and culture and technology has changed over his radio career.  His radio career went from the end of the LP era to the emergence of the compact disc era to the emergence of the digital delivery of music.  Michael says, even though people have changed their relationship with music, "we're still doing basically the same mission: Trying to connect people with music and people with the community."  He adds "the more things change, the more they're still the core of what you do, and that hasn't changed."

A flashback photo of David Fair from his earlier years at WEMU.

David Fair says his mission at WEMU is to "serve on a daily basis with a longer view to understand our role in the community and what is the meaning of what we do on the air to every pair of ears listening on a daily basis," adding there is nothing of greater pleasure for him than to do that.  What started out as a job for David Fair 25 years ago at WEMU has turned into a passion.

Check out Part 2 of this interview here.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu