If you recognize Teri Noel Towe ’70 by sight, you may have watched him in the P-rade, riding down Elm Drive in full costume as Royal Governor Jonathan Belcher, Princeton’s Colonial-era benefactor.
If you recognize Towe by voice, chances are you are a fan of classical music. A self-proclaimed “Bach crazy” and radio devotee, he took an early interest in music and has been hosting classical programs off and on since his undergraduate days.
Next month, Towe will mark the 45th anniversary of his debut on WPRB by hosting a special edition of his current show, Towe on Thursday. (Since the date of the anniversary, Jan. 11, falls on a Friday, he’s billing it as “Towe on Thursday on Friday.”)
Towe’s radio career started at Princeton and continued during his law school days at the University of Virginia. When he arrived in New York City to practice law, he hosted a show on WBAI, adopting the pseudonym the “Laughing Cavalier,” a nod to both his law school alma mater and his Princeton degree in art history (it’s the title of a painting by the 17th-century Dutch artist Frans Hals).
The current incarnation of Towe’s show began in 2008 when he was asked to fill an open time slot on WPRB’s summer schedule. He joked that he sometimes feels “like a dinosaur at the end of the Cretaceous period,” carefully constructing the theme of each program using handwritten notes, just as he did 45 years ago. But he’s also embraced technology, promoting his show on Facebook and enjoying the wide reach that online streaming audio provides. He’s heard from listeners around the world — in Tokyo, Singapore, Berlin, Paris, London, and Leipzig, to name a few.
While the music is Towe’s first love, he also takes pleasure in the role of host, developing playful turns of phrase and alliterative introductions. “I find it immensely enjoyable,” he said.
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