Raymond Jones Celebrates 40 Years With WHRO Public Media
- Written by Belinda Elliott
- Category: Featured - Radio
- Published: 15 September 2023
His voice is one that local residents recognize immediately, and that’s no surprise given his talent for narration. When Raymond Jones isn’t broadcasting classical tunes on WHRO FM, he can often be found out in the community lending his voice talents to narrate concerts like The Boston Pops or every Virginia International Tattoo performance since 1997. He is also the emcee of the annual WHRO Spelling Bee.
Raymond has worked in radio for 63 years. “I started September 1961, and I was a kiddie on a local TV show in the 1950s,” Raymond recalled.
Through the years he was also an educator with Chesapeake Public Schools, an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University, served as a classical music recording columnist for 32 years with the Newport News Daily Press, and earned six college degrees including post-doctoral study at Oxford — all while continuing to broadcast on the radio.
How did his interest in radio begin? “My high school, Oscar Smith High, had a fully licensed radio station - WFOS. The same WFOS that is now part of the WHRO radio family!” Raymond said.
His career has featured many memorable moments including broadcasting the coverage of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as coverage of man’s first landing on the moon. He also narrated General Douglas McArthur’s acceptance of the Japanese surrender at the MacArthur Memorial on the 50th Anniversary, which was televised on CNN worldwide, and he traveled with the Continental Army Band to narrate concerts in New York and Long Island immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
Raymond spent a decade as the vice president and station manager for WHRO FM and WHRV FM, and he has seen many changes in public radio during that time — mostly in the advancements of technology.
“Everything is digital and run through computers,” he said, "but on the programming side it has been, and still is, voice and music - intelligent presentation with great music.“
But sometimes it takes more effort than listeners realize to put together a great program. Raymond recalled being in the studio once when the NPR satellite stopped working. “We had to cobble together our own two-hour news block,” he recalled. “We called it 'Some Things Considered.'”
He has also had memorable appearances on the station’s TV pledge drives.
“I was doing TV pledge with former Lawrence Welk pianist JoAnn Castle who was wearing a blue feathered dress,” he said. “The feathers shook loose during her vigorous piano playing leaving me looking like a blue version of Big Bird!”
As fun as moments like those have been, he said it is sharing great music and performances with people, while being able to work in a highly creative environment, that drives his passion for radio.
“I once discussed retirement with my late wife Joan,” Raymond said. “She rolled her eyes, laughed, and said: ‘If you retired, you’d sit in a chair, talk, and play music. You might as well go and get paid for it.’ And so I did, and I will continue to do so.”
We are all very thankful for that! Congratulations, Raymond, on 40 years of service at WHRO.
Raymond hosts Evening Classics, Sunday Classics, This Just In and A Local Touch on WHRO FM. Read more about him.