Home Local News WPR’s Dr. Jonathan Øverby inducted into WBA Hall of Fame

WPR’s Dr. Jonathan Øverby inducted into WBA Hall of Fame


Dr. Jonathan Øverby, Wisconsin Public Radio executive producer and host, has been inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place on June 15 at the 2023 Summer Conference at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Øverby was born and raised in Milwaukee and went on to earn a doctorate in Administrative Leadership in Higher Education from Madison’s Edgewood College as the first post-doctoral fellow in the history of the college.  

Øverby’s most known work with WPR, “The Road to Higher Ground,” is a global music program to promote diverse genres and has done so since its inception in 1994.

“This is a well-deserved honor,” said Tom Luljak, Interim WPR Director, in a media release. “In his nearly 30-year career at WPR, Jonathan has offered listeners both joy and lifelong learning through engaging music, insightful hosting, his scholarship and his commitment to bringing people together through music.”

Øverby plays the same role as host and executive producer for the annual State of Wisconsin Tribute and Ceremony Honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the oldest state celebration of Dr. King in the nation. 

Øverby himself sees his work as an extension of his lifestyle which is the truly fulfilling aspect of it saying, “Being a student of various music genres worldwide is more than a personal vocation. It is a way of life that has been richly rewarding.”

“‘The Road to Higher Ground,’ exemplifies Jonathan’s belief that music can bridge cultural divides and bring people together,”  Peter Bryant, NPR News & Music Director, said in a media release. 

“Although there are no awards or measures to quantify it, his contributions to the work of the music staff at WPR are notable. The entire staff – and our listeners – benefit every day from his knowledge, enthusiasm, and passionate advocacy for the ideals that inform his work.”

Øverby also worked with Madison’s WORT community radio for many years before WPR, conducting music ensembles and performing in concert and with groups throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He was appointed to the Wisconsin State Arts Board by Governor Tommy Thompson and served multiple terms as Vice Chair. 

This is the second Hall of Fame induction for Øverby who is also in the Folk Alliance International’s Folk DJ Hall of Fame as of 2022. He was also named a distinguished broadcaster at the University of Wisconsin in 2013 and honored with the U.W. Colleges and Extension “Wisconsin Idea Award” in 2016.    


To learn more, visit Wisconsin Public Radio’s website here.