By John Stran
Barbara Krauss served as the voice of Youngstown for many years as host of Morning Edition and Weekday Morning Classical Music for WYSU-FM 88.5 radio for three decades.
Krauss unexpectedly passed away on Feb. 15 and will be missed by not only friends and family, but an entire community who listened to her voice daily and felt they truly knew her.
Born in Youngstown, Krauss stayed in the area for college attending the Youngstown State University Dana School of Music earning a bachelor’s degree in music education.
Emily Karr, a senior music recording major, worked with Krauss and credited Krauss’ background in music with what made her an outstanding announcer.
Gary Sexton, director of broadcasting at WYSU, said Krauss started at the radio station in 1975 as a student worker.
He said Krauss worked on and off at the station for a while to raise her two children, but accepted a full-time position at WYSU in 1987.
Sexton met Krauss in 1987 when he moved to Youngstown and remembers the first time he met her.
“She was very vibrant, enthusiastic and loved classical music,” he said. “I could tell she was so good at what she did, and I was impressed.”
Sexton worked on air with Krauss during different fund drives where they developed a chemistry, which would involve a lot of friendly banter. He said every time he would poke fun at Krauss, she was always able to come right back with a good joke.
Her friendly demeanor seemed to catch the attention of many of those she worked with, as well as those who may have never met her yet listened to her everyday and felt a connection to her welcoming voice.
“Barbara always showed how much she cared about and appreciated her coworkers,” Karr said. “There isn’t any specific advice she gave me, but she influenced me to lead life with a more positive and loving outlook.”
Isaac Hraga, a senior music recording major, briefly worked with Krauss and remembers when the two bonded over food after he stole her cookies at work.
“I found some mysterious cookies, which weren’t mine, but I decided to try one and I ended up eating the whole bag,” Hraga said. “The next day I went around looking for the owner, so I could apologize and get the name of the cookies so I could replace them. They ended up being Barb’s, and when I apologized she lit up and seemed overjoyed that she had fed me, even indirectly. We then had a talk out our love for cooking for others.”
Her impact on her audience was made evident when WYSU created a Facebook post remembering Krauss, resulting in numerous comments from people saying, in essence, they never met her, but they still feel like they lost a friend.
Sexton said she was on the air so much that he could not think of something her audience wouldn’t know about her and emphasized that Krauss was the same person both on and off the air.
Karr, Sexton and Hraga agreed that overall, they will miss Krauss’ presence and kind-hearted personality.