Six years after leaving Chicago to become general manager of Classical KCME in Colorado Springs, George Preston is returning to the Windy City.
Preston has accepted a job as vice president and general manager of Chicago’s WFMT, where he had served as afternoon drive host from 2009 to 2013 and hosted and produced the internationally syndicated Lyric Opera of Chicago broadcasts.
“It’s an extraordinary opportunity,” he said. “I’m so grateful to my team, my staff and the board at KCME and to all of our partners and supporters in the community. I’m so grateful for this whole experience. There’s no way I’d have been considered for this job in Chicago had I not been successful here in Colorado Springs.”
Preston joined the staff of Cheyenne Mountain Public Broadcast House, owner of KCME 88.7 FM and Jazz 93.5 FM, in June 2013, replacing longtime general manager Jeanna Wearing. He helped launch the FM jazz station 93.5 in October 2017.
The Cheyenne Mountain Public Broadcast House board has launched a nationwide search for a general manager.
“While KCME/Jazz 93.5 FM is sad to see George go, the entire staff has positioned the stations for continued success as the cultural voice of the Pikes Peak region,” board President David Steigerwald said in a statement.
”We’re counting on a few months of a transition period,” Preston said. “There’s such a great team at KCME and Jazz 93.5 that staff and board members are stepping in in the meantime. We’re optimistic that we’re going to be able to do transition without naming an interim general manager.”
In his new role, Preston said, he will be responsible for strategic programming, production, fundraising, broadcasting operations and syndication activities for WFMT, which has a long history of classical music.
”It’s an opportunity for learning and professional growth for me. I think that’s something we’re all looking for in our careers,” he said.
Prior to 2009, Preston was a host and music director for WNYC, New York City’s primary NPR member station. Earlier, he was at WXCR, a commercial classical station serving the Tampa Bay market in Florida. And before that, he was a program host and producer, music director and assistant program director for WBUR in Boston.
Preston, a former opera singer and actor, has music degrees from Oberlin Conservatory, the New England Conservatory and Boston University.
He said he will miss the Pikes Peak region, where he also took on many singing, voice acting and acting roles.
“I would just love to encourage everyone in this town to continue to get out and support the arts and great music, because it’s more important than it ever has been,” he said. “If it’s important to you, you’ve got to show up and live your passion for music, giving where necessary to KCME and all the other organizations in town that work so hard to present great music. Don’t take it for granted.”
Preston’s wife, Sydney Brown, and their 11-year-old twins will stay in Colorado Springs through the end of the school year.