Michael Orlove gives Steve Edwards his Chicago exit interview

April 3, 2012

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Anyone who enjoys free music in Chicago's parks should probably know Mike Orlove's name. In recent years his office has put on Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays, SummerDance, Music Without Borders, and Summer Opera at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. Those events have drawn some mammoth crowds- anyone remember the Iron and Wine show last summer?

In 2009 WBEZ selected him as a Chicago visionary for his integral role in presenting cultural programming in the city. WBEZ music blogger Jim DeRogatis routinely refers to him as "this city's best ever programmer of free live music."

Unfortunately many of DeRo's references were in his coverage of the city's shuffling of cultural affairs staff. Those rearrangements resulted in Orlove losing his job twice in less than a year (and no one programming summer events which are technically still going on as scheduled).

Now Orlove is cutting his losses and leaving town. He'll be starting work with the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. on May 7 as Director of Presenting and Artist Communities.

On Tuesday's Afternoon Shift Orlove stops by to talk with Steve Edwards about his career and where it's headed.