Jeanna Wearing had a talent for classical music and opera; as a teen, she won a regional tryout for the Metropolitan Opera, where judges and the audience voted her the “most promising talent.” However, a little thing called love put her train on a different track.
The daughter of many generations of Denver natives, Wearing rode her bicycle to daily piano lessons, and as a high school senior, she earned the Spencer Penrose Scholarship, making it possible for her to attend the University of Denver. She majored in vocal studies with a piano minor.
Wearing, now general manager of classical/jazz public radio station KCME, 88.7 FM, patiently recalls her maturation as a classically trained professional musician. After her Metropolitan Opera tryout win she earned a scholarship from Denver’s Allied Arts Foundation to the Aspen Music School. There she studied with famed soprano Jennie Tourel.
“But life can hold many surprises,” Wearing said. In this case, it came in the form of a handsome soldier. She married, and soon arrived at her new husband’s duty station in Germany. Wearing concretized in Germany when possible.
The couple returned from Germany and relocated in California.
“California can be very hard on a marriage,” said Wearing, who at nearly six feet tall makes her office seem smaller than it really is.
“You can make a mistake and you can wallow in self-pity,” she said. “Or, you can move on and make something of your life.”
Wearing moved on, and found herself working at KTCU FM at Texas Christian University, where she was attending. That station’s frequency was also 88.7 FM, she mentions, a footnote of irony.
“I had tremendous success as a radio host,” she offers. She also hosted an arts program on a Fort Worth television station. Nevertheless, she was homesick.
“I was very lonely, and I decided to come home,” she said. Home was Denver, where she hosted a successful classical radio program for several years.
When Wearing was offered the position at KCME 88.7 FM, she did not hesitate. And she couldn’t be happier.
“I adore my job,” Wearing said. “I work, therefore I am. I am happy.”
The station’s listeners comprise a demographic advertiser’s lust over, but there are none in the general sense. It has underwriters, and operating funds come from twice-a-year telethons. A new drive begins November 18, and the goal is $145,000.
“Public support is vital to the continuation of KCME’s great classical music and jazz programming,” Wearing said. “We realize the competition for financial support is greater than ever, but so is the need to provide this world with ‘nourishment’ for the soul.”
Sponsors, underwriters and listeners make the station successful, Wearing said. In addition, the fall fund drive, Wearing said, “is also a perfect opportunity for us to voice our appreciation to our listeners… it is a chance for me to thank the wonderful, never-tiring staff, and the volunteers who comprise the Friends of KCME.”
“Thank you,” she said.
For those who do not want to listen to classical music and opera all the time, the station also features jazz from 6 a.m. to noon and 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays. Office Manager Lenny Mazel hosts programs, called Sunrise Serenade and Night Train Jazz.