Obituary: Dennis Owens, longtime D.C. classical radio host, 87

Posted on: January 6, 2022

“Dennis Owens, the witty voice of classical music radio in Washington whose rumbling bass voice could throw off the atomic clock, died Sept. 26 at a hospice center in Naples, Fla. He was 87,” writes Marc Fisher in Tuesday’s (1/4) Washington Post. “For nearly four decades, until his retirement in 2005, Mr. Owens dazzled his listeners on WGMS with tongue twisters, told gently ribald tales of wayward composers, … and delighted loyal listeners with antics… ‘Classical music is like sex,’ he explained … in 2002. ‘You never know how long it’s going to last, and it’s embarrassing if you clap at the wrong time.’ Having worked as a country and western DJ in Canada and a pop jock in Bermuda, Mr. Owens brought to classical radio a brash, sometimes biting style…. At WGMS … his longest run [was] as a morning show host from 1981 to 2002. His show drew a big audience…. He recited poetry … and noted the surrealities of life…. Dennis Owens was born in London on July 11, 1934…. The family moved to Canada, where he … found work … as a country DJ in Saskatchewan. His radio career took him … to Washington…. In 1972, WGMS hired Mr. Owens…. A year later he married Christiane Giesch…. She is his only immediate survivor.”