Very few people could ever claim to have been on air for over 58 years, much less hosting the same radio program the entire time. Now, the University of Kansas’ KANU-FM Lawrence reports that Jim Seaver died Monday (3/14) at age 92.
Seaver launched “Opera Is My Hobby” on September 19, 1952, just four days after KANU began broadcasting. He retired as a professor in the late 1980s, but continued to produce his radio show for Kansas Public Radio as a volunteer until this week.
Dr. Seaver didn’t teach broadcasting or communications when he was a professor. Radio and opera were passionate hobbies. He taught classes in Western civilization and Ancient History, beginning in 1947. He was also the university’s head tennis coach at one point. Athleticism apparently runs in the family. His nephew is MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver.
“On behalf of the entire KU community, I thank Jim Seaver for his dedication to illuminating culture for generations – those who listened on the radio and those who worked with him in classrooms studying western civilization and ancient history. I also offer sincere condolences to his family, loved ones and colleagues. He will be missed,” said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.
“Jim Seaver was the epitome of a gentleman, with a passion for life like I have never seen. When talking with him, even if you weren’t an opera fan, you walked away a devotee as he just exuded with joy when talking opera,” added KPR General Manager Janet Campbell.
“Opera Is My Hobby” will continue Friday, March 18, 7-8 pm CT on KPR, featuring Seaver’s favorite opera, Guiseppe Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.”
Funeral arrangements are pending and a longer obituary appears on the KPU website.