David Miller ’50 celebrates 25 years on the air

David Miller ’50 is the host and producer of a weekly radio program, “Swingin’ Down the Lane with David Miller.”
David Miller ’50 is the host and producer of a weekly radio program, “Swingin’ Down the Lane with David Miller.”
Staton Breidenthal

Since he was an 8-year-old listening to the big-band nightly radio program “Make-Believe Ballroom” out of New York City, David Miller ’50 has been drawn to the big-band sound of the swing era, featuring vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald and band leaders like Benny Goodman and Count Basie.  

At Princeton, Miller would call in the name of the “mystery tune” played by the WPRU disc jockey and win prizes for being the first listener to identify the artists.

That ear for music eventually landed him a job hosting and producing his own big-band weekly radio program, “Swingin’ Down the Lane with David Miller,” out of his home studio in Little Rock, Ark. Last fall he celebrated 25 years on the air. During the hour-long syndicated show, carried on 50 National Public Radio stations, Miller plays about 15 songs and weaves in background on the musicians and composers, interviews, and tributes to the great artists of the era.  

With little technical knowledge of music — he took up the clarinet as a teenager “with disastrous results,” he says: “My teacher gave up before I did” — he calls himself a “super fan” of the Big Bands and aims to share that love of the genre with his listeners. In addition to running the radio program, Miller is a psychologist with a market-research company specializing in focus groups.