After nearly 30 years on Wisconsin Public Radio, Jean Feraca, host of Here on Earth, has retired.
Jean's final broadcast, on Friday March 30, also marked the final episode of the show she created, a daily exploration of global issues, cultures, arts and cuisines.
"This was not an easy decision," Feraca noted, who announced her retirement with a personal letter to listeners, which she read on air on December 20, 2011. "After that show, I was just amazed by the outpouring of love and support from listeners," she added. You can add your voice to the hundreds of listeners who have shared their appreciation of both Jean and Here on Earth on a special comment page set up by WPR. "When you work in radio, you don?t always know the impact you have on people?s lives," she said.
According to Mike Crane, WPR Director of Radio, when Jean announced her decision to retire, the station faced some tough decisions. "Jean is truly an irreplaceable talent," Crane said, "she brought so much of her passion and personality to her work, we couldn't imagine the show continuing without her." The station will continue to maintain the Here on Earth archives, where listeners can find more than 2,000 episodes for streaming and downloading.
In July 2003, Jean launched Here On Earth: Radio without Borders, giving voice to people and issues from around the world. Over the years, Jean worked with and mentored an estimated 40 producers, students, interns, and volunteers. The show?s series on Muslim culture, "Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates," won a Brass Crescent Award in 2009 for its blog and a Gabriel Award in 2011 for "Muslims, Mosques, and American Identity," a program in the radio series.
During her retirement, Jean is looking forward to dedicating her time to writing, reading, cooking, traveling, language study, and getting to know her first grandchild. In her farewell to listeners, she wrote: "There is something about this exercise of opening up a microphone, day after day, year after year over the thousands of radio hours we have shared together, that calls us to be bigger, that requires it. Thank you, not only for listening, but for making me bigger. It is you who have opened up my mind and grown my heart."
The Here on Earth Staff
Jean Feraca, center, with:
Laura Zimmerman, Kalpana Prakash, and Marika Suval (left)
and Joe Hardtke, Nayantara Mukherji (right)
Luther "the Jet", King of the Hobos, uses his royal powers to dub Jean "Boxcar Jean Feraca Queen of the Airwaves" on the final broadcast of Here on Earth.