In Memoriam: Valerie "The Problem Child" Kacprzak

Published on: March 31st, 2024

The Problem Child [Photo by Kichea S. Burt]

The Problem Child [Photo by Kichea S. Burt]
The Problem Child [Photo by Kichea S. Burt]

We are heartbroken to share the news that longtime WWOZ host "The Problem Child" Valerie Kacprzak died on Saturday morning, March 30. She passed peacefully, surrounded by her family.

Arrangements will be private. On behalf of the entire WWOZ family, our thoughts and best wishes go out to her family and her many friends. She will be missed, on the air and in our lives.

Valerie had been a fixture at WWOZ since first going on the air in December of 2003, and she filled many different spots as a sub show host before finally settling in on Friday afternoons from 2-4 pm, with her "Blues Breakdown" show, specializing in Southern regional blues, often with a gothic or spooky twist. Her show was a favorite of WWOZ listeners. Her longtime opening song was "Storm Warning" by Dr John, and in recent years she often followed it with the Lost Bayou Ramblers' "Freetown Crawl / Fightin' Ville Brawl."

Valerie's final on-air shift at WWOZ was July 7, 2023.

Valerie was a very private and distinct individual, and was never afraid to speak her mind and do things her own way -- she could easily live up to her nickname "The Problem Child," she would joke. Irma Thomas said to her, "you don't seem like a problem child!"

Valerie was fiercely devoted to WWOZ, and proud of her association with it; while the station was temporarily relocated after Hurricane Katrina, she made three or four long car trips to Baton Rouge every week to do shifts in WWOZ's makeshift studios in the offices of Louisiana Public Broadcasting. And she often served as board operator at the station during big festival broadcasts.

To close, here's a great blog post she wrote, during one of WWOZ's Spring Pledge Drives:

Thank you Tesla (still waiting for the free electricity)

Published on: March 18th, 2014

When I was a small (problem) child, I hid underneath the covers at night with a small radio. I went back and forth through the stations and the white noise and the static of broken music and words.

Late night preachers, forgotten blues, country songs about trucks, trains and honky tonk teardrops.

Back then, just a bitty little whisp of a tomboy country girl, I was fascinated by the magic box. Yes, there was life unknown, beyond my little world.

Free music to those who have a receiver. Thank you Nicola Tesla.

Here in the 21st century Radio as it was is nearly dead. Not WWOZ! Because we do not depend on commercial interests.

We depend on listeners like you to keep the music free and "real."

Topic tags: 

Get the 'OZone monthly newsletter
facebook logo
Like us on Facebook
Volunteer at WWOZ
Hear it here!