Maine Public Broadcasting Network announced on Wednesday morning that Robin Rilette, a longtime classical music broadcaster at Northwest Public Radio in Pullman, Washington, would fill the seat vacated in August by Suzanne Nance as MPBN’s new music director and host of the Morning Classical Music program. Nance left MPBN over the summer and now broadcasts on a classical music radio station in Chicago.
Rilette’s appointment is the result of a national search. She was vetted by MPBN staff in Bangor and Portland, community leaders in Maine, and members of statewide arts organizations. Rilette is expected to join MPBN in early February and immediately take over the host position.
Currently the Morning Classical host at Northwest Public Radio, located on the campus of Washington State University, Rilette has been responsible for music programming for audiences across 19 FM channels in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia. Rilette has served as the face of classical music for NWPR for over 20 years through extensive community involvement, developing partnerships with arts organizations, and hosting concerts and music festivals each year.
“When we started this search some four months ago we knew we needed to find an individual who had an exceptional on-air presence, possessed deep music knowledge not exclusive to classical music, had an affinity for connecting with the area arts organizations in a real and genuine way, and had the experience to help MPBN build a separate music channel ideally in the years ahead,” MPBN president Mark Vogelzang said in a press release. “Robin is all this and more. While there were a number of very credible finalists for this position, it was clear that Robin’s deep experience, her passion for music, and her on-air persona were the absolute right fit for Maine and MPBN. We couldn’t be more excited and pleased to have her on board.”
On the television side of things, January is a hot month for programming on MPBN, starting with the “Downton Abbey” season four premiere broadcast on Jan. 5. On Thursday, Jan. 16, the network will screen the premiere episode of season three of “Sherlock,” the BBC’s wildly popular modern update of the Sherlock Holmes stories starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, at 7 p.m. at the State Theatre in Portland. The sneak preview State Theatre screening will occur a full three days before the episode broadcasts nationally on MPBN at 10 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, immediately following “Downton.” According to the MPBN Facebook page, the tickets to the Thursday screening, which were free with reservation, sold out in less than 48 hours.