June 29, 2015
Philadelphia is about to lose one of its darling radio hosts but gain a screenwriter in the process.
Michaela Majoun, who's hosted the WXPN "Morning Show" and "The Women's Hour" for 25 years, will depart from WXPN for good after her usual 7 a.m. broadcast Tuesday morning, June 30. She's leaving to pursue screenwriting, she told PhillyVoice, which has been her lifelong passion.
“I had an agent for writing in LA when I first came here, and I was going to establish myself in a major market and then go back there and write in the afternoon and do morning radio," Majoun explained. "But my job is full time, and I used to go out every night, and it was not conducive to the quiet and center-of-concentration I would need to write. I thought I could do both, but I can’t. It’s time to focus on the writing."
Majoun also just fell in love with broadcast, the voice it gave her and the reaction she got from listeners -- "Nobody in my family ever listened to me," she quipped.
"Presenting music is a wonderful thing to do, to get excited about music and artists and introduce people to artists they’ve never heard of and watch their careers develop -- that’s what XPN is all about, and it’s been a privilege to be there all these years," she said. "And to watch how the profile has changed of XPN. In ’91 it wasn’t easy to get people to come in and do interviews; now, everybody wants to be in World Café."
As host of "Women's Hour," she came to embrace artists like Jonatha Brooke and further develop a voice for women in Philadelphia's music scene, following in the footsteps of previous "Women's Hour" host Laney Goodman.
Majoun: Presenting music is a wonderful thing to do, to get excited about music and artists and introduce people to artists they’ve never heard of and watch their careers develop -- that’s what XPN is all about, and it’s been a privilege to be there all these years.
In addition to highlighting female artists in her Friday-morning segments, Majoun has also contributed to the Philadelphia Film Festival and Philly Fringe and has co-hosted AIDS Walk Philly for the past 20 years.
But what stands out from her time at WXPN are her moments with guests -- those friendly, sometimes intimate, sessions when it's easy to forget voices are being beamed out of stereos in cars, offices and bedrooms everywhere.
“One of the most wonderful memories was the first time I interviewed Sting, and we really hit it off, and he asked for another interview -- that was great," she said. "I gave him a book of poetry, and the next time he saw me he wrapped his arms around me and said, ‘I love this book! I keep it by my bedside and read it every night!’ [Laughs]"
So, what's next?
For now, Majoun -- who's tried her hand at screenwriting once before for "Designing Women" -- is keeping quiet about the details of her current projects but did note that she's working with a New Orleans historian to write a fictional script based on a historical female figure. She also pointed to Netflix's "Bloodline" and PBS' "Downton Abbey" as examples of shows she's inspired by -- stories that deals with personal relationships.
But while she moves forward, she wants longtime listeners to know she's not leaving her home (Philly), and that she's not abandoning her voice, so much as tapping into a new one.
She also wants them to know that their journey with her has left a lasting impression.
"I want [listeners] to know I won't forget them," she said. "I'll carry them with me into the future."