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Meet Jillene Khan, our new overnight classical host

Jillene Khan is our new overnight classical host. Provided

June 17, 2021

From an early age, Jillene Khan was fascinated with the people she heard talking between songs on the radio. With her passion for storytelling, love of all kinds of music and natural curiosity, her desire to work in radio led her to Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media as our new overnight classical host.

Khan was born and raised in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. One year while growing up, her family won a Christmas Wish from the Dave Ryan Morning Show on KDWB Radio. Around the same age, she met syndicated host Delilah Rene. Both of those events added to her desire to have a career in radio.

She studied Radio Broadcasting at Brown College in St. Paul and kept her Midwestern roots after graduation by hosting at radio stations in Minneapolis; Milwaukee; Davenport, Iowa; and Madison, Wisconsin. She has received local and national recognition for her work from the Country Music Association and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. She recently won the Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media.

“The Gracie Award is the most exciting accomplishment of my career so far,” Khan says. “To be included alongside such incredibly talented and distinguished women is an achievement that I am extremely proud of.”

Khan found her way to classical music later in life. When exposed, she was deeply moved by the magical, calming ambiance and enamored with the stories behind the music that unfold through the pieces.

She fell in love with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra while she lived in Madison. The ensemble does a summer series called Concerts in the Square, on the Capitol grounds in downtown Madison. From the first time she went, she was hooked. It was so fun to watch the maestro and the performers tell gorgeous stories through their instruments, she says.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet?” That’s how Khan feels about finding her favorite composer. She just hasn’t met them yet.

She is reading the book Classical Music Top 40, by Andrew Rudel, and it’s taking her on a journey of some of the most popular classical pieces by well-known composers. She looks forward to getting to know some of the not-so-well-known composers, especially women and those who have overcome great challenges to write music, with listeners as an overnight host.

Outside of radio, her favorite things include spending time with loved ones, a great hug, an animal of any kind, and the thrill of a new experience. She absolutely loves doing things for the first time or going places she has never been before. She also enjoys being outdoors, no matter what the weather.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing,” Khan says.

Jillene Khan will be heard on-air as a regular overnight host on YourClassical Radio. Her first shift runs from midnight to 6 a.m. central Wednesday, June 23.