Every Friday from noon-1 pm, proponents of the local arts scene, creative folks and lovers of background noise tune into WMNF 88.5 for JoEllen Schilke’s “Art in Your Ear” radio show.
From in-depth interviews to previews of exhibits, performances and other creative-centric events happening throughout Tampa Bay, Schilke has had years to practice the art of talking about art.
Folks may recognize her friendly face or made-for-radio voice from her now-shuttered downtown St. Pete cafe The Globe, which hosted grassroots arts shows and DIY gigs for almost a dozen years before its closure in 2011.
Although the radio show encourages Tampa Bay’s art proponents to visit their local theater or art gallery on the weekends, Schilke tells Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that she also hopes to convince her listeners from all walks of life that they can be artists, too.
“Everyone has some sort of entrance into creativity…I think that we all have that ability inside us to create something that will communicate,” Schilke says. “I can usually find a pathway into it—whether it be cooking, gardening or writing, but everyone has the ability to take something that isn’t there and manifest it.”
While the show itself has been on WMNF’s airwaves for almost four decades, it has gone through various evolutions. It started in the mid-80s by a USF arts professor and was taken over by one of the station’s radio engineers a few years after that, remaining a 30-minute show for many years.
When Schilke took the temporary position in the early ’90s—around the time she first started volunteering at the station—she thought it would only last a few weeks.
Since then, Schilke has opened and closed The Globe, transitioned from being a Volunteer at WMNF to a full-time employee back to a part-time radio host, and has helped found local organizations like Keep St. Pete Local. But she’s never relented on her enthusiasm and fervor for art and the community that surrounds it.
In 2023, “Art in Your Ear” is now an hour-long show, boasting in-depth interviews and curated tunes woven in between poetry, artistic advice and whatever else Schilke wants—but she always makes a concerted effort to stay away from stale , PR-sounding content.
Simply put, “Art in Your Ear” is a call to action for listeners to get in touch with the creative part of themselves, no matter how buried out of touch it may be.
“You know, no matter what, this is my favorite hour of the week, every single week. I love being on the radio. I love being behind that mic. I love interviewing people. I love having listeners. I love my listeners themselves.”
She compares hosting her radio show to cooking. Sometimes you don’t feel like feeding yourself, but preparing a meal for your loved ones is worth it every single time.
To listen to “Art in Your Ear,” tune in to 88.5 FM on Fridays from noon-1 pm or head to wmnf.org, where programming from previous weeks can be found as well.
Jan. 27’s show previews The Tampa Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Elephant Man,” while Schilke discusses Studio Grand Central’s rendition of “This is Our Youth” on her Feb. 3 programs