Obituary: David Elliott, longtime programmer and host at Harvard’s WHRB-FM radio, 78

Posted on: November 19, 2020

When he arrived at Harvard University as freshman in fall 1960, “David Elliott tuned in to WHRB-FM and visited the station before attending a single class,” writes Jeremy Eichler in Thursday’s (11/19) Boston Globe. “Mr. Elliott never really left, for the next 58 years. He became a … beloved announcer for classical and opera programming with deep ties to the local arts community; mentor to countless students … staunch advocate for the station’s fate across a shifting broadcast landscape; and dry-witted yet unfailingly rigorous keeper of standards who insisted that WHRB [be] a robust, community-oriented radio station that happened to be run by college students. Mr. Elliott died in his Cambridge home Nov. 12 of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. He was 78…. WHRB … became an essential FM destination known for its bracing mix and its exploratory zeal…. WHRB’s studio became a refuge for creative-minded students…. WHRB’s alumni include The New Yorker’s Alex Ross; former New York Times critic and editor John Rockwell; Chris Wallace of Fox News; and Scott Horsley of NPR…. After illness forced Mr. Elliott to step back from his numerous roles, WHRB honored him with the station’s own ultimate gesture of tribute, a seven-hour David Elliott Orgy. It will be rebroadcast on Dec. 24.”