Richard Ray

(Photo: CPR)

Longtime host Richard Ray will retire at the end of April. We asked him to share a few memories from his radio career. We need your help, too: Post your memories and message for Richard in the comments section at the bottom of this article. We'll share them on air as we celebrate Richard's longtime presence on CPR Classical and the Colorado airwaves.

Most of us at one time or another imagine a dream job. Back in the early 1980s, mine was to be on the air at Colorado Public Radio.

When my kids were born, I suspect the first thing they heard in their crib was classical music or Morning Edition from NPR. Colorado Public Radio was always on at our house. My children are grown now and, not surprisingly, both are classical music fans. 

Richard Ray working at a radio station  in Missoula, Mont., in the early 1972.

But getting back to the dream job: I already had one.

Those were the early years of KBCO in Boulder. We had the same spirit that I hear now on CPR's Open Air. Young and musically adventurous. Excited about new music made by talented musicians.

I had a Sunday night jazz show too, but my own radio was always tuned to KCFR and Colorado Public Radio.

In the spring of 1998 I got lucky. I was at the right place at the right time and was invited to join this incredible group of broadcasters. For nearly 20 years now I watched them set a standard of excellence that demanded I do the same or stick out like a sore thumb.

During these years there were teachers, conductors and professional musicians on the classical music staff who constantly reminded me there is always something new to learn and share with our audience. Working along side the incredible journalists from CPR News taught me the importance of disciplined accuracy. The challenge as a classical music host is to never lose your sense of joy and wonder.

Colorado Public Radio has grown exponentially in the nearly 20 years I've been here (thanks to listener support.) For me, some things remain the same.

This is a team of colleagues and friends who live in and are dedicated to adding to the quality of life in Colorado. It has been a privilege to work along side them.

I am constantly amazed that they keep getting better each and every day. I will deeply miss seeing them every day.

This has indeed been a dream job. I leave with a deep sense of gratitude for the love and understanding of classical music that CPR has given me and the honor of sharing that love with our loyal listeners. A big, sincere thank you to everyone. It's been a wild, wonderful ride. 

And speaking of a wild ride, my retirement starts with fulfilling a lifelong bucket list dream to ride my bicycle from Astoria, Ore., to Yorktown, Va.

It's time for me to take Mark Twain's advice: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. discover."