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WSIU's Celtic Connections Turns 20

For Immediate Release
Monday, February 7, 2011

Contact: Bryan Kelso Crow, Celtic Connections host and Associate Professor, Speech Communication, SIUC, (618) 453-1884,; Jeff Williams, WSIU Radio General Manager and News & Public Affairs Director, (618) 453-6170,

Carbondale, ILBryan Kelso Crow has an enduring passion for Celtic music. In fact, he loves it so much that he decided to launch a public radio program devoted to the musical genre on WSIU Public Radio, a public media arm of Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC).

Twenty years later, Celtic Connections – the program Crow created and has hosted as a volunteer since February of 1991 – continues to entertain audiences of all ages with the best in traditional and contemporary Celtic music from around the world. The program airs on WSIU Radio on Saturdays at 7pm, with a repeat broadcast on Sundays at 6pm.

“I've been happy to serve as a volunteer at WSIU Radio hosting this program for the past 20 years,” says Crow, an Associate Professor in Speech Communication at SIUC and founding member of the local Celtic band, The Dorians. “As excellent new CDs continue to be released on both side of the Atlantic, I'm as excited as ever to keep sharing the music with enthusiastic listeners.”

Produced in WSIU Public Radio's studios on the SIUC campus and distributed nationally by the station, Celtic Connections features a wide variety of music derived from Celtic culture wherever it has been transplanted. Regular features include interviews, commercial recordings, and concert performances by musical groups such as the Brock McGuire Band, The David Munnelly Band, The Heatons, and Old Blind Dogs.

Celtic Connections debuted in 1991 as a local program,” says Jeff Williams, WSIU Radio General Manager and News & Public Affairs Director. “Taking a local show national is a major undertaking; it's a testament to the knowledge, passion, and dedication that Bryan has for the program and for music in the Celtic tradition. Celtic Connections has been a fixture on the national scene for nearly 15 years. Radio is such a personal medium. The fact that the program has enjoyed such longevity underscores how well Bryan connects with listeners across the country.”

Originally broadcast across southern and east-central Illinois, and northwestern Kentucky, Celtic Connections is now heard on nearly 150 public radio stations in 30 states. Still, Crow is quick to praise the pivotal role that others have played in the program's development over the years.

“Much of the credit for the success of Celtic Connections goes to our production engineer for the first 19 years, Mike Zelten, who retired from WSIU in the spring of 2010,” says Crow. “He trained our current student producer, Jun Kim, who is doing a great job. I couldn't do the series without them.”

In addition to teaching in SIUC's Speech Communication department, Crow is a guest lecturer in the university's Irish Studies program. He is an accomplished musician who plays the concert flute, tin whistle, and keyboards. Crow also has taught whistle classes in Carbondale, at the Mississippi River Celtic Music Festival in St. Louis, Missouri, and at the Saline Celtic Festival in Saline, Michigan. When he isn't teaching or performing with The Dorians, Crow is busy helping to organize the annual Southern Illinois Irish Festival, and – of course – sharing his passion for Celtic music with an appreciative local and national audience on Celtic Connections.


Download an image of Bryan Kelso Crow

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