Balkan, Eastern European
Michael-Leonard "Misha" Creditor began his interest in ethnic studies, concurrently with his radio career, while still in high school in Brooklyn, New York.
Early in his junior year, a classmate took a few students to Michael Herman's Folk Dance House for an evening of Israeli (and other) dances. Creditor soon found that the dance, music, folklore, and history of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and the other Balkan countries affected him as nothing else. With characteristic verve, he immersed himself in studying and enjoying all things Balkan.
In his senior year of high school, as a member of the New York school system's All-City Radio Workshop, Michael recorded radio dramas for WNYE, the city's educational FM station. Two years of college radio (WVHC-FM) and one year of commercial radio (WLIB-AM) followed, at which time he relocated to Portland, Oregon. There, radio and folklore combined at KBOO-FM where Creditor (now known by the name "Misha") presented Balkan music weekly for 11 years. That program, The Folk Motif, was nationally syndicated for a while, through the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
As preparation for the 1976 Independence Day Bi-centennial celebration, a group of folks from several groups and organizations came together to plan an ethnic festival. This became the umbrella group known as the Folkfest of Portland. The festival featured booths of over 30 ethnic groups as well as three stages of entertainment over the course of a weekend. Misha served as the festival’s coordinator for two years.
While at KBOO, he helped promote ethnic and international music and folklore, opening radio to the community by bringing many ethnic groups to the radio station to have their own programs. At one point, international programming accounted for about 20 hours-per-week more than any other radio station in the country. Concurrently, Misha was teaching folk dance and folklore at several locations in the Portland area, including the city Park Bureau, local schools, and Portland State University. He also appeared as a teacher at many festivals from Seattle to San Francisco and, for a short time, was proprietor of the ADANA Folk Arts Center of Portland. Creditor compiled two collections of song words (The ADANA Songbook, vols. I and II) which are included in the Library of Congress.
In 1982, Misha departed the beautiful weird wetness of Portland for the warm, dry beauty of San Diego, California, and focused his energies on matters other than broadcasting and folklore.
On July 28, 1999, Michael-Leonard was involved in the startup of World Music Radio (later known as World Music Webcast or WMW). As part of a committed group of World Music aficionados, Michael-Leonard helped to create the station from a bold concept: the world's first and, to this day, still the only live-hosted Internet audio stream featuring ONLY World Music, 24/7. With a staff of almost 50 on-line "IJs" (Internet Jockeys), WMW streamed on the Internet for more than four years, finally going silent on November 26, 2003.
Creditor served as Coordinator of Programming and Production, was in charge of training prospective IJs, and has written "The Manual for Internet Program Hosts." He produced and hosted several programs with differing formats: Balkan Fever, Edge of the World Music, and Eclectica.
For more than two years, Michael-Leonard produced and live-hosted the daily four-hour eclectic World Music program, The World for a Song. WfaS featured a great live mix of traditional and classic World Music, along with the best new releases from around the globe, all woven together to form a distinctly listenable mixture.
Since the demise of WMW, Michael-Leonard enjoys occasionally dancing at one of the ethnic church festivals around San Diego and listening to his large collection of Balkan and international music. He can be contacted via email at: mlc *at* san. rr. com.