Günther Schifter

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Günther Schifter (23 December 1923 – 11 August 2008) was an Austrian journalist, radio presenter and record collector.

Born in Vienna, Schifter started collecting 78s of the popular music of the interwar years already as a boy. After the war, he was instrumental in popularizing once again jazz and Swing in occupied Austria, becoming, in 1949, one of the first disc jockeys on Austrian radio. From 1967 to 2000 Schifter had a weekly radio programme, Günther Schifters Schellacks, where he played 78s from his vast personal archives (including, for example, more than 100 cover versions of W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues") while always refusing to resort to reissues of older material on vinyl records, audiotape or, later, CDs. In between songs Schifter developed his unique style of giving enjoyable miniature history lessons.

Ousted by the Austrian state radio (ORF) in 2000 due to a switch to the more commercial music radio format, Schifter continued broadcasting for a while from Bavaria, Germany. A trained actor, Günther Schifter was immediately recognizable by his distinct and sonorous voice. He died on 11 August 2008, aged 84, in Salzburg.

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