Michael Whorf, longtime radio host of the Peabody Award-winning WJR program Kaleidoscope, died in Detroit on Tuesday, November 10. He was 88. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Whorf spent his childhood and teen years in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Whorf attended Provincetown High School and upon graduation in 1950, enlisted in the United States Air Force where he trained as a radio announcer on the Armed Forces Network.
After military service, Whorf worked on the radio in Massachusetts and in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where he met and married his wife of 49 years, Barbara Ann Brown. From the 1960s through the 90s, Whorf was part of a WJR Detroit line-up of radio personalities known throughout the Great Lakes region. Whorf’s Kaleidoscope topics ranged from politics to religion, from the arts to sports. In 1968, he was recognized with one of the world’s top media honors: the George Foster Peabody Award for his documentary on the life and work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Mike Whorf also served during the mid-1980s as program director of classical station WQRS-FM in Detroit. While with WQRS, Whorf created the program “Quest for Excellence,” a juried music competition show for aspiring young talents broadcast live before a studio audience.
In 2008 he was inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.
Aside from broadcasting, Whorf’s greatest joy was his life as a family man. He and his beloved wife Barbara and their son and daughters enjoyed traveling to the Eastern US for visits with many relatives. In their golden years, Mike and Barb were blessed to alternate time between overseas trips and watching their grandchildren grow.
Michael’s wife Barbara preceded him in death in 2006. He is survived by son Peter (Jennifer), daughters Sarah, Jennifer (Quinn), Suzannah (Ian) and grandchildren Daniel, Annemarie, Michael, Noelle, Jack, Sean, Nate, Noah and Olivia.
Private services have been held.