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Jurisprudence or… legally speaking

(Gavel Photo by Jason Morrison/

Q: As we all know, public radio is full of smart and talented people! Heck, our own local host of All Things Considered, Laura Lorson, won the TV game show JEOPARDY! Not once, but twice. But of all the smart KPR staffers, only one holds a Harvard law degree. Who is this KPR staffer?

A: Bob McWilliams
Bob McWilliams is the host of Trail Mix (Sundays, 1-7 p.m.) and is often the host of jazz music on Kansas Public Radio. McWilliams was born in St. Joseph, Missouri. His father had aspired to be an attorney, but the Great Depression made that impossible. Instead, those dreams were conferred on the son. And the son did, indeed, become an attorney, graduating from Harvard Law School.  

But McWilliams far prefers radio to the law. He's hosted jazz programs on KPR since 1983 and became jazz director in 1996. He also did graduate work in jazz history with the late jazz broadcaster and instructor Dick Wright. In addition to his love for jazz, McWilliams is the host of Trail Mix, a blend of contemporary and traditional celtic, folk, bluegrass and beyond.  
He also loves history, teaching American history at Johnson County Community College. A passionate baseball fan (Cardinals and Royals) and a Kansas Jayhawk basketball fan, McWilliams follows sports and plays tennis. Somehow, he also finds time to be an avid reader, consuming fiction, non-fiction and three daily newspapers. Bob is also the founder of the nonprofit West Side Folk concert series in Lawrence.

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