[Photo] Marc Sophos founded WDFH through an effort that spanned decades. He is the Executive Director, Program Director, and Chief Engineer of WDFH. He is also the founder and chairman of Hudson Valley Community Radio, Inc., the nonprofit corporation that owns and operates WDFH. In addition to his responsibilities at the station, he also served during WDFH's college alliance as an assistant professor. [Picture of Marc with rest of antenna crew, 1997 or in earlier days at WDFH]
Marc was a 1976 honors graduate of Dobbs Ferry High School, where he led a trailblazing effort to establish a community radio station at the school. This effort, which gained the enthusiastic support of the school administration, was funded by the Board of Education, but ultimately it did not succeed because of Dobbs Ferry's proximity to NYC and its crowded FM dial — there was simply no available FM or AM frequency available so close to the city. However, the high school effort marked the beginning of Marc's 20 year quest for an FM license, which eventually succeeded in the mid 1990s, when WDFH's license was granted by the FCC — see history. He also played ice hockey, worked on the photography staffs of the yearbook and newspaper, was piano accompanist for the chorus and high school musicals, and appeared in numerous concerts and competitions in classical music performance. In his junior and senior years, he persuaded the school system to provide three courses specifically for him: advanced physics, in which he studied Einstein's special theory of relativity, and two additional years of advanced Spanish.
Later, Marc earned a degree in Telecommunication from Michigan State University, one of the nation's leading institutions in telecommunication policy. While in East Lansing, Marc studied broadcast management, programming, ratings, broadcast regulation (including its structure, policies, and the politics that affect it), news and public affairs programming, journalism, linguistics, the science of sound (fascinating stuff — acoustical environments, acoustics of speech, acoustics of music, how we hear), electrical engineering, political science, the business structures and practices of commercial and noncommercial broadcast entities, and at a Ph.D. level, public broadcasting. He minored in Spanish, played ice hockey, went skydiving (once, and not necessarily with a good outcome), and was heavily involved as pianist and musical director in the rich college and regional musical theatre environment. He also gained tremendous experience at the university's WKAR-AM/FM, a major public radio station serving a large area of mid-Michigan.
Marc holds a J.D. from the Pace University School of Law. Academic honors included Dean's List and Ranking Scholar. He was a Managing Editor of the Pace Law Review, and he wrote and published an article about the negative effects of broadcast deregulation: The Public Interest, Convenience, or Necessity: A Dead Standard in the Era of Broadcast Deregulation?, 10 Pace Law Review 661 (1990), also available in law libraries and on Westlaw. Other law school writing included explorations of the ethical and moral implications of end-of-life issues, animal welfare law, and the role of legislatively interested money in congressional elections.
While he was in law school, Marc served as an extern with the legendary Judge John M. Manos (1922-2006) of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, doing extensive research, analysis, and writing on a complex case involving parties from several states and involving areas of law including federal civil procedure, conflicts of laws, corporations, and products liability.
Outside of an educational setting, Marc is an accomplished classical pianist. His father was Anthony Sophos (1923-2004), a gifted cellist who performed as a youth in the Cleveland Orchestra and later in the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Toscanini and then with the New York Philharmonic. He was also a staff musician for CBS. After leaving the Philharmonic, Tony freelanced, touring and recording extensively with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Barbra Streisand, and many others, and performing in the orchestras for many films, TV shows, and Broadway musicals. Later in his life, he taught cello privately.
Marc started his piano studies with his mother, Marilyn Sophos, who continues to teach in private practice in Dobbs Ferry. Her students have included members of the singing King Family, one of the Steinway children, and many others whose lives have been enriched by this tremendously elegant and gifted teacher. (Marilyn's students consistently get top evaluations in competitions.)
Marc had the wonderful opportunity to study under the concert pianist Joel Rosen between 1969 and 1978 with continued coaching from both parents. His piano studies continued with Edith Kraft at Michigan State University and Benning Dexter at the University of Michigan. His personal Mount Everest, conquered in 1997: the third piano concerto in D minor by Rachmaninoff.
He has served as musical director, conductor, and rehearsal and performance pianist for many theatrical musicals in school, college, community, regional, and professional theatre. He has also been a sound technician for a number of Off-Broadway shows in New York. In his spare time <what spare time?>, he has been an amateur astronomer, photographer, member of the Titanic Historical Society, and longtime member of the Broadway Show Bowling League in NYC. He's an attorney admitted to practice law in New York State and before the U.S. Supreme Court. He's cited in Who's Who in the Media and Communications.
Marc has operated WDFH since 1968 (see station history). His other radio experience includes on-air work (program host/announcer), news, production, promotion, and engineering (including satellite uplink and downlink operations; location recording; live music recording (classical, rock, jazz, theatre); studio design, construction, maintenance, and repair; transmitter site design, construction, maintenance, and repair) at: WDFH (1968-present); National Public Radio (New York Bureau) (1984-1989); NPR member station WKAR-AM/FM, East Lansing, Mich. (1977, 1978, 1980, 1981); and between 1977 and 1989, commercial stations WVOX (AM) and WRTN (FM), New Rochelle, NY, WMCA, New York City; WGSM (AM), Huntington, NY, and WCTO (FM), Smithtown, NY; WGLI, Babylon, NY, and WALK-AM/FM, Patchogue, NY.
Sorry 'bout the boring bio — but that's what you get when there's too little balance between work and play. One major point of balance: Marc happily lives in Manhattan with his longtime partner, Doug Koch.
Host of Eyes on Westchester. I came to Westchester in 1980 from Long Island and never looked back. Stumbled across the amazing music on WDFH in 2010 and stumbled into working with this amazing station. My background is in public relations, desktop publishing, and backoffice administration, but my passion is photography and graphic design. Apparently that qualifies me to host a news program. My hope is that I can slowly inject my take on the issues into the broadcast, thereby bringing all listeners around to my way of thinking. If I were Queen, things would be different.
Co-host of In Focus. Jane Botticelli is a member of the News and Public Affairs Department of WDFH Radio, where she began volunteering in 1993. As a host of In Focus, she interviews journalists who cover local news and issues affecting the lower Hudson River Valley and Westchester County. Jane has lived in Westchester for 30 years. She and her family reside in Ossining, where her children attend Ossining Public Schools. She is active in school events, as well as in community organizations such as the Food Pantry, the Farmers' Market, and Clearwater.
Jane received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette
University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Following graduation, she moved
to New York and worked as a substitute teacher in various high schools,
before attending Pace Law School in White Plains. In 1983, she
received her law degree and began practicing law in White Plains,
Today, she is Counsel to the Martuscello Law Firm, a general practice firm
in New York City.
co-host of In Focus. I’m an information technology
manager by day who craves musical stimulation during most waking hours.
Raised on New York FM radio in the late '60s and '70s with heroes like Vin
Scelsa and Dave Hermann, I was introduced to and dazzled by artists such
as John Prine, Richard Thompson and Phil Ochs. Radio revealed a
wealth of amazing music that helped me weather the '70s, and hardened my
status as a music junkie.
Program host. Basic: created as a life-form, classified fauna, born an animal, presto — WDFH.
Program host. How can someone with a conservatory degree in voice from the Eastman School of Music end up spinning rock and other crazy stuff on the airwaves? Easy! Suppression never lasts too long… most of my radio listening was done on the sly and my obsession with the Beatles, the Roches, and jazz was looked down upon from on high while I continued to nurture my vocal talent by cutting it on opera (also a great love of mine) and, under threat of disinheritence, in a rock band along with some bass playing and songwriting. I make my living by singing some kind of music usually pigeonholed as early, which has some vague similarity to the band Dead Can Dance, and to be asked to provide a bio for the WDFH website is weird, since I always have to update my singing bio saying I’ve sung here, there, and everywhere, except with YOU, so could you just please hire me?! Here at WDFH I can share my love and knowledge of the other side of my musical life…and I didn’t learn any of it from the conservatory curriculum!
Program host. My show comprises new music: the latest, disposable, skimming-on-the-surface-of-life, song-oriented fare by indie kids with GUITARS. I have a lot of fun exploring 'hep' new music and I hope you tune in to my show, or any of the excellent programs on WDFH.
About me: I don't like girls, I don't like boys. I don't even like myself. I do like beer, sailboats, and independent record stores. Have a nice day.
Host, Recovery Talk (1950-2011). Journalist and writer-producer Robyn Leary hosted and co-produced (with Marc Sophos) Recovery Talk from 2004 until her death in 2011. She was also president of Recovery Network Foundation. The foundation's mission was to create recovery-dedicated material in print, TV, radio, film and video formats. Ms. Leary was CEO of a cable and satellite venture, The Recovery Channel, television's only 24/7 recovery-dedicated venue.
Recovery Talk is an electric mix of news, features and documentaries, historical and scientific profiles that distill the latest research and new thinking on treatment and recovery. Leary interviews national superstars in addiction medicine including leaders in the fields of prevention, intervention, research, treatment and recovery.
The show is a salon of think-pieces on the arts and philosophy as well as programs that probe the spiritual components of a sustained recovery and a renewed life. Ms. Leary talked frequently to people in recovery from both trauma and addiction, anonymous and otherwise, who, in intimate detail, open their life-affirming recovery stories for all to hear.
In loving and respectful member of Robyn and the dedication she brought to her work, we continue to air Recovery Talk.
Program host. I live in Port Chester, NY, and enjoy listening to many genres of music. But Spanish rock and reggae are my favorites. I am a clarinet player, and have also taken a couple of piano lessons. Music is one of my passions; I love buying CDs and going to live music events. I always wanted to work at a radio station, so I'm really happy to be a member of WDFH.
host. Cuper Vargas
is an obsessive collector of recorded music, an accordion player of
limited ability (but great determination), and a friend to animals large
and small. He works with the Putnam County
Humane Society and Little Orphan Animals of Westchester County: cleaning,
feeding, socializing, and attempting to find homes for stray cats and
dogs. Years ago, he learned the true
potential of music upon hearing Rhinebeck's native Lettuce Boy play a tiny
little bar in upstate New York. Since then, he
has scoured the tri-state area's thrift stores, record shops, and live
clubs seeking to satiate his unbearable hunger for new tunes.
Ska is his favorite, but examples of polka,
punk, folk, celtic, klezmer, and any number of other styles have found
their way into his collection. Now, thanks to
the good people at WDFH, he has a whole new musical library to explore.