Michael Hanson (1940-2019)

Michael Hanson

Radio personality, jazz drummer and the creator of Mindwebs, Michael Hanson, died of cancer on September 9 at the at the age pf 78. The family obituary is here.

He was the voice of the Mindwebs series out of WHA radio in Wisconsin, which offered weekly readings of sff stories by well-known writers. Between 1976 and the mid-1990s they presented 169 half-hour shows with 188 short stories by 135 different authors, ranging from Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin and Isaac Asimov to Thomas Disch, Joanna Russ, and R.A. Lafferty. Hanson’s readings were enhanced by music, periodic sound cues, and the occasional character voice.

Just a few years ago Milwaukee station WMSE resumed airing the old episodes, at which time Hanson also recorded a few new episodes, for example, reading a story by Neil Gaiman from 2017.

Rick Hurdle of Plot Spot has created a Mindwebs show guide with information (so far) about 171 episodes, with verified cast information, interviews, pictures and more.

Hanson was a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. They posted a eulogy from FFRF Co-President Dan Barker, a pianist, that focused on their mutual interest in music –

I played with the Michael Hanson Jazz Group a number of times… His style on the drums was breezy and fun, leaving plenty of room for the soloists to express themselves. During breaks, we often talked about music, but Michael especially wanted to talk to me about politics and religion. He really cared about the world.

Hanson is survived by his wife Rosie and sons Rolfe and Stephan.

Michael Hanson

3 thoughts on “Michael Hanson (1940-2019)

  1. Such sad news. I absolutely love Mindwebs. I only started listening via online a year or so ago. It’s wonderful. Condolences to the family.

  2. For me, I will always associate Michael Hanson (and Carol Cowan) with the Reader’s Chair productions of the Vorkosigan saga. It’s what I grew up on and I have a hard time listening to anyone else attempt their own take on the series.

  3. I spent 6 years in Madison in college and Medical school. I listened to Michael’s jazz programming a lot and to Mindwebs religiously. I have recently found the Mindwebs archive at the Internet Archive and have been going back systematically to listen to episodes–many which I heard 30-35 years ago and some that I missed. It will take some time to get through them all. Though I never met Michael (I wish I had), his work touched my life in significant ways. I’ll always be grateful!

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