Kimberly Haas thought she was going to be a marine biologist. When she came to the University of Pennsylvania as a student, she didn't even know they had a radio station. Now she runs Echoes.
Kimberly was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey and grew up in Mountainside. Though only a pre-teen in the late 60s, her musical tastes were influenced by her three older sisters and progressive rock stations like WNEW-FM in New York. Her favorites were British folk revival bands like Pentangle and Steeleye Span, and art rockers like Yes and Genesis.
By the time she graduated high school, she had turned to jazz. When she came to Penn, she joined WXPN and embarked upon an odyssey of musical discovery. It wasn't long before she was hosting jazz shows and producing on-the-air concerts with Sun Ra, Sunny Murray, the Heath Brothers, and other artists.
Then she discovered Diaspar and Sleepy Hollow. Diaspar was a high energy new music fusion show pushing the boundaries of sound. Sleepy Hollow was designed to keep you in bed on weekend mornings with a pastoral mix of music.
Kimberly became the Music Director and de facto program director of WXPN. She came to the station just after they lost their FCC license for "lack of University control" prompted by the infamous "Vegetable Report." (Don't ask, but the case study is in every broadcasting textbook). It was left to Kimberly to formulate the application and strategy for a new license which they did acquire.
In the meantime, Kimberly was pushing the station out into the Philadelphia music community. She hosted Directions in Music, a show focussing on 20th century experimental sounds. She remembers interviewing Laurie Anderson the same day the performance artist received a test pressing of her first single, "O Superman." Under Kimberly's stewardship, WXPN received the recognition and support of the new music community: Robert Fripp, Philip Glass and Terry Riley all gave benefit concerts in support of the station.
She also created and hosted the popular Pastime with Good Company, a program of medieval and Renaissance music, sharing her love of early music with WXPN's audience. During this time she also studied tenor and soprano recorder.
In 1980, she and John Diliberto began producing programs for national distribution on the brand-new public radio satellite. Ever since then, their radio careers have been inextricably interwoven, producing award-winning documentaries including Edgar Varese's Sonic Liberation, The Mythic Worlds of Sun Ra and Bird Flight: A Portrait of Charlie Parker. They went on to produce Totally Wired. Some highlights for Kimberly were:
Being in awe of the great Karlheinz Stockhausen who insisted on autographing his Sternklang album with "Liebe, Karlheinz Stockhausen."
Getting dropped by Minnesota Public Radio after the Ultravox & John Fox: Metal Beat program documentary, which opened with The Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K."
Going to Rajneesh Baghwan Shree Rajneesh's ashram in Cote D'Azur on the French Riviera.
After Totally Wired, Kimberly went on to produce Echoes with John.
At Echoes, Kimberly runs the show, obtaining grants, underwriting, and stations, and maintaining the direction of the program on a global level. She narrates most of the interviews you hear on Echoes and has also produced several of them.
Some of her Echoes highlights are:
Getting an insiders tour of the Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto with Stomu Yamash'ta and having tea with a monk.
Sitting three feet away from Anthony Phillips while he gave his first, and thus far only live performance since leaving Genesis.
Climbing the Glastonbury Tor with Sheila Chandra and Steve Coe.
When she's not at the computer or behind the mike, Kimberly is in the garden with her two young daughters.