Leslie is a freelance producer for WUOT. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but has been moving steadily south since her college days at Indiana University. She received her master’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Arlington before settling in Knoxville with her husband and three children.
Leslie began working on special projects for the station in 2010 and liked it so much she decided to stay. In her spare time she writes a weekly column for the Knoxville News Sentinel, hikes the Smoky Mountains, and reads nerdy fantasy novels. Anything with a dragon will do. She has large dogs, small cats and medium-sized kids.
Chris Woodhull was born in Puerto Rico, the son of a U.S. Air Force pilot. Throughout his childhood, his family traveled extensively, landing in places like Brazil, California, Nebraska, Alabama and Massachusetts. Chris has over 20 years of inner-city experience and is the founder of TRIBE ONE, an at-risk urban youth ministry in Knoxville, Tenn. He also has served on the Knoxville City Council for eight years while leading five different public processes, one of which resulted in an Innovation in Government Award from the city. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and has studied negotiation at Harvard Law School. He is currently the director of civic engagement for the Mission Chattanooga in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Paul is the Wednesday evening host of Improvisations. He grew up in Clinton, Tenn., and moved to Knoxville in the late ‘70s to attend UT. While still in Clinton, he developed a lifelong habit of spending a lot of time in record stores and he traces his musical interests to listening to WNOX when pop radio still required using the AM dial. He started at WUOT in June 1982 as a host of Unradio, which was an overnight show on Saturdays featuring whatever the hosts felt like playing, but mostly rock music not normally heard on the airwaves. Due to WUOT’s large jazz vinyl collection, he shifted over into hosting jazz in the mid-1980s, first on Jazz Interlude and Jazz Workshop, two long-defunct programs, and then on their successor, Improvisations.
While growing up in Pontiac, Mich. (the hometown of the Jones brothers—Thad, Hank and Elvin), just north of Detroit, John spent a lot of time listening to great R&B, soul, rock and jazz music on local radio. In the late ‘80s, while a doctoral student at UT and still a lover of music and of local radio, he leapt at the opportunity to become a jazz host at WUOT. For the last 20 years he has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Psychology at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. Since he lives and works in Western North Carolina during the week (and commutes to Knoxville on weekends, holidays and semester breaks), he rarely has the opportunity to broadcast live on Monday’s Improvisations.
Randy began hosting a jazz radio show on KDSU while a physics professor at North Dakota State University in Fargo. After moving to Knoxville, he began hosting Improvisations on WUOT in 1996. In 2004, he created the program Last Set at Birdland, which airs Fridays at 10 p.m. Randy also is an amateur saxophonist and leads the group The Fish Skales.
Paula listened to radio each morning during breakfast when she was a child; and one day, at about the age of eight, she remembers pointing to the radio and announcing “I want to do that!” She’s now been “doing that” for the better part of 30 years. Her broadcasting career began in 1982 at WUVT, the student-run station at Virginia Tech. After graduating from Tech in ‘85 with a B.A. in communications and a B.S. in sociology, Paula spent the next several years working in Top 40 and Rock radio. In 1993, she and her husband, Rob, moved to Las Vegas, Nev. A few months later, she was hired as the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition at Nevada Public Radio’s KNPR.