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June LeBell, Groundbreaking Advocate For Classical Music, Dies

June LeBell, a longtime advocate for classical music both nationally and in the Tampa Bay area, died Sunday in Sarasota.

Her husband, Ed Alley, posted on her Facebook page that after a five-year battle with cancer, June passed away peacefully at her home at about 7 p.m.

LeBell was the first female announcer on a major commercial classical music radio station in the U.S., remaining behind the microphone at WQXR for almost 30 years. In that time, she earned 17  important awards for outstanding broadcasts, interviewed hundreds of music celebrities, wrote a cookbook with illustrations by Al Hirschfeld, and had articles published in Opera News, Gourmet, Stagebill, The New York Times and – most recently – the Observer Group in Sarasota, where she was the music critic and a contributing columnist. 

She hosted June LeBell’s Musical Conversations on WSMR, which is operated by WUSF Public Media. She was also the host of Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning's Music Monday Lecture Series.

Today - May 1 - would have been June and Ed’s 8th wedding anniversary.  

Here is an interview with LeBell by WXQR from last year, called Catching Up With June LeBell.

Credit Photo Courtesy WQXR
June LeBell was a host with WQXR for 30 years

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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