Robert Hubert, WABE’s longtime voice of classical music dies

Robert Hubert, a long-time WABE classical music host, died this week at age 72. WABE

caption arrowCaption
Robert Hubert, a long-time WABE classical music host, died this week at age 72. WABE

Hosted ‘Nocturne’ and ‘The Atlanta Music Scene.’

Robert Hubert, a longtime classical music host on WABE-FM, has died at age 72, the station announced Wednesday.

A Montgomery native and Auburn University graduate, Hubert hosted “The Atlanta Music Scene” and “Nocturne” shows for more than 30 years.

Lois Reitzes, the station’s long-time radio host who runs the station’s digital classical station, said Hubert’s voice immediately captivated her when he arrived as a part-timer in 1987.

“He became our nighttime host, and he was perfectly suited for that,” Reitzes said. “He had that tuxedo voice, that deep resonant sound that was really him. There was no affectation.” And despite his Alabama roots, she was amazed he had not a trace of a Southern accent.

On his Linkedin page, Hubert described “Nocturne” as “a late evening classical program featuring music from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras. My listeners were of many different ages, cultures and professions. I programmed familiar fare, with an occasional excursion into the avant-garde.” “The Atlanta Music Scene,” which still airs weekly on WABE Classics and on Sunday evenings on 90.1/WABE-FM, focuses on live recordings of local classical artists.

Hubert left WABE full time in 2015 when the station dropped classical music from its daily schedule, but continued to host “Atlanta Music Scene” show on the digital channel until he died.

Tommy Joe Anderson, a retired music professor and producer for “Atlanta Music Scene,” said he couldn’t reach Hubert over the past week and requested the police do a “wellness check” at his home on Sunday. Anderson said that is when authorities found Hubert dead. He did not know what the cause of death was.

Anderson said Hubert was impeccable, and his love of languages, including fluency in Italian, French, Spanish and German, made it easy for him to pronounce any classical song title or artist with aplomb. “He rarely, rarely ever made a mistake,” he said.

Reitzes said he was a good fit for the nighttime slot. “He enjoyed the intimacy of speaking to people when they weren’t at work, when they were more relaxed,” she said. “I remember him saying he liked programming at night so he could play things that were more challenging. He called it music without boundaries.”

And he was deeply passionate about opera, something he picked up from his mother, Reitzes said. “I think for a rather shy person like himself, the grand gestures in opera were very appealing. He loved the drama. He loved the sounds of the language and the music itself.”

Hubert cared deeply about his work. “He was extremely exacting and regimented,” said John Lemley, a former WABE-FM classical music host from 1997 to 2015 who is now hosting a show for Georgia Public Broadcasting’s classical station. “He scared me silly for my first several months at WABE. The last thing I wanted to do was cross him.”

But after Lemley’s mother died in 1998, Hubert gave Lemley a deep hug and “that changed everything between us. I very quickly learned that, beneath his sometimes gruff exterior was a heart of gold and the warmest of spirits. He also had a deliciously wicked sense of humor. He and I were great friends from that point forward.”

Hubert never married and had no children.

There are no plans for a public memorial service.

About the Author

Editors' Picks