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Posted on Thu. Jun. 19, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

Longtime jazz radio show host dies


Leah Tourkow, 91, who helped found local public radio station WBNI in 1978 and hosted a jazz music show on the station for 33 years, died Monday at her Fort Wayne home.

Tourkow was one of several people who worked to get the operating license for the radio station switched from Purdue University to what now is the nonprofit organization Northeast Indiana Public Radio.

“Our station would concentrate on classical music, opera, jazz and the arts. We were all volunteers who ran the shows,” she wrote in a Jan. 13, 2011, guest column in The News-Sentinel.

Tourkow was well known for her “Jazz Classics” radio show, which aired Wednesday nights on WBNI, 89.1-FM. In 2004, the station became WBIO. She also was a charter member of the Fort Wayne Jazz Club.

In addition, Tourkow was active in the community, including 25 years as a board member of the Three Rivers Festival and many years in the leadership of local Jewish Congregation B'nai Jacob, her obituary said.

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