Kathleen Biggins

Lynda Shenkman Curtis

Kathleen Biggins has been "welcoming" listeners to WFUV since her undergraduate days at Fordham in the 1980s, when she began hosting the Irish-themed programs Ceol na nGael and A Thousand Welcomes on weekends. Yet her passion for Celtic music dates back even further - all the way to her childhood in Elmsford, NY, when her grandparents and parents fostered a love of their ancestral music in the young Kathleen.

That little girl grew up to become WFUV's assistant news director during college, and, later, a news writer at CBS News, Radio. While it was an interest in journalism that brought Biggins to WFUV as an undergraduate, it was her musical heritage that led her to stay. She quickly became involved with the station's Irish programming, first with the community-minded program Ceol na nGael on Sundays, then with the Celtic music show A Thousand Welcomes on Saturdays. Turns out that last gig was a perfect fit.

Even as her broadcasting career has taken her elsewhere, Biggins keeps her roots firmly planted in the Bronx. She has continuously hosted A Thousand Welcomes since 1986, and her tenure speaks not only to her vast knowledge of the music she plays, but also to her ability to unite a disparate audience, just as Celtic music unites the disparate cultures who make it.

Kathleen has earned the Irish Echo newspaper's top annual honor in Irish traditional music, named Traditionalist of the Year for 2006 - the first ever as a nonperformer.

Kathleen Biggins lives in Westchester County, N.Y. She can be heard on A Thousand Welcomes Saturdays from 9 am to noon.

Stories from Kathleen Biggins