John Weingart became interested in folk music through hearing records at home by Pete Seeger and The Weavers and by spending the summers of 1958-1961 at Camp Killooleet in Hancock, Vermont. Searching for Pete Seeger's occasional radio appearances in the early 1960s led him to discover FM radio. While in high school in New York City, he discovered WBAI, one of the first listener-sponsored stations. It was BAI and DJs Bob Fass, Larry Josephson and especially Steve Post who gave Weingart an appreciation for the magic that radio can be and led to his apparently lifelong hobby. He also found folk music shows on several college radio stations and became a fan of a bluegrass show on Columbia University's station, WKCR, hosted by Peter Wernick who later became a wonderful and very influential bluegrass banjo player.
John went to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and worked at the college's WBRS. His career in commercial radio followed during most of a week in 1971 when he was on WNTN-AM in Newton, Massachusetts, and earned the $60 that constitute his lifetime radio earnings to date. (Photo at right by Marilyn Silverstein, NJ Jewish News.)
In 1973, John came to Princeton, New Jersey, to seek a Masters Degree in Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. From February-June 1974, he hosted his first show on WPRB from 6:00-9:00 a.m. on Monday mornings. At that time, WPRB had two long-running Sunday night radio shows - one a two-hour folk show ("The Folk Thing") followed by a two-hour bluegrass and country show ("The Orange Blossom Special"). During his second year in graduate school, John became host of the Sunday night folk show. When he finished school in the spring of 1975, he left the radio station but then returned six months later to do a tribute to Paul Robeson who had just died. That show in February 1976 led the station management to invite him to host both Sunday night folk/bluegrass shows. He has been there ever since.
When he is not on the radio, John works as Associate Director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. He spent many years in New Jersey state government focused on land use planning and regulation, and public participation in government. His posts included Director of the Division of Coastal Resources, Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, and Executive Director of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility Siting Board. His book, based on the later experience, is called Waste Is A Terrible Thing To Mind: Risk, Radiation and Distrust of Government. The book has little to do with music but does include the lyrics to several songs and references to Pete Seeger, Jerry Garcia, Tom Lehrer and others.