Marc Sophos is the founder, Executive Director, and Board Chair of MFPG and the Executive Producer of OutCasting. He founded and led MFPG's previous incarnation as WDFH FM 90.3 Westchester Public Radio through an effort that spanned decades. He was the Executive Director, Program Director, and Chief Engineer of WDFH. He was also the founder and chairman of Hudson Valley Community Radio, Inc., the nonprofit corporation that owned and operated WDFH. In addition to his responsibilities at the station, he also served during WDFH's college alliance as an assistant professor.
Marc was a 1976 honors graduate of Dobbs Ferry High School in Dobbs Ferry, New York, where he led a trailblazing effort to establish a community radio station at the school. This effort, which gained the enthusiastic support of the school administration, was funded by the Board of Education, but ultimately it did not succeed because of Dobbs Ferry's proximity to NYC and its crowded FM dial — there was simply no available FM or AM frequency available so close to the city. However, the high school effort marked the beginning of Marc's 20 year quest for an FM license, which eventually succeeded in the mid 1990s, when WDFH's license was granted by the FCC — see WDFH's history. He also played ice hockey, worked on the photography staffs of the yearbook and newspaper, was piano accompanist for the chorus and high school musicals, and appeared in numerous concerts and competitions in classical music performance. In his junior and senior years, he persuaded the school system to provide three courses specifically for him: advanced physics, in which he studied Einstein's special theory of relativity, and two additional years of advanced Spanish.
Later, Marc earned a degree in Telecommunication from Michigan State University, one of the nation's leading institutions in telecommunication policy. While in East Lansing, Marc studied broadcast management, programming, ratings, broadcast regulation (including its structure, policies, and the politics that affect it), news and public affairs programming, journalism, linguistics, the science of sound (fascinating stuff — acoustical environments, acoustics of speech, acoustics of music, how we hear), electrical engineering, political science, the business structures and practices of commercial and noncommercial broadcast entities, and at a Ph.D. level, public broadcasting. He minored in Spanish, played ice hockey, went skydiving (once, and not necessarily with a good outcome), and was heavily involved as pianist and musical director in the rich college and regional musical theatre environment. He also gained tremendous experience at the university's WKAR-AM and FM, a major public radio station serving a large area of mid-Michigan.
Marc holds a J.D. from the Pace University School of Law. Academic honors included Dean's List and Ranking Scholar. He was a Managing Editor of the Pace Law Review, and he wrote and published an article about the negative effects of broadcast deregulation: The Public Interest, Convenience, or Necessity: A Dead Standard in the Era of Broadcast Deregulation?, 10 Pace Law Review 661 (1990), also available in law libraries and on Westlaw. The article has been cited in books and other law review articles. Other law school writing included explorations of the ethical and moral implications of end-of-life issues, animal welfare law, and the role of legislatively interested money in congressional elections.
While he was in law school, Marc served as an extern with the legendary Judge John M. Manos (1922-2006) of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, doing extensive research, analysis, and writing on a complex case involving parties from several states and involving areas of law including federal civil procedure, conflicts of laws, corporations, and products liability.
Outside of an educational setting, Marc is an accomplished classical pianist. His father was Anthony Sophos (1923-2004), a gifted cellist who performed as a youth in the Cleveland Orchestra and later in the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Toscanini and then with the New York Philharmonic. He was also a staff musician for CBS. After leaving the Philharmonic, Tony freelanced, touring and recording extensively with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Barbra Streisand, and many others, and performing in the orchestras for many films, TV shows, and Broadway musicals. Later in his life, he taught cello privately.
Marc started his piano studies with his mother, Marilyn Sophos, who continues to teach in private practice in Dobbs Ferry. Her students have included members of the singing King Family, one of the Steinway children (in the 1950s), and many others whose lives have been enriched by this tremendously elegant and gifted teacher. (Marilyn's students consistently get top evaluations.)
Marc had the wonderful opportunity to study under the concert pianist Joel Rosen between 1969 and 1978 with continued coaching from both parents. His piano studies continued with Edith Kraft at Michigan State University and Benning Dexter at the University of Michigan. His personal Mount Everest, conquered in 1997: the third piano concerto in D minor by Rachmaninoff (watch this amazing video of Van Cliburn's performance in 1958 with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra under Kirill Kondrashin; it's available on DVD).
He has served as musical director, conductor, and rehearsal and performance pianist for many theatrical musicals in school, college, community, regional, and professional theatre. He has also been a sound technician for a number of Off-Broadway shows in New York. In his spare time <what spare time?>, he has been an amateur astronomer, photographer, member of the Titanic Historical Society, and longtime member of the Broadway Show Bowling League in NYC. He's an attorney admitted to practice law in New York State and before the U.S. Supreme Court. He's cited in Who's Who in the Media and Communications.
Marc operated WDFH from 1968 (see station history) until it went off the air in 2013 and reorganized as MFPG. His other radio experience includes on-air work (program host/announcer), news, production, promotion, and engineering (including satellite uplink and downlink operations; location recording; live music recording (classical, rock, jazz, theatre); studio design, construction, maintenance, and repair; transmitter site design, construction, maintenance, and repair) at: WDFH (1968-present); National Public Radio (New York Bureau) (1984-1989); NPR member station WKAR-AM/FM, East Lansing, Mich. (1977, 1978, 1980, 1981); and between 1977 and 1989, commercial stations WVOX (AM) and WRTN (FM), New Rochelle, NY, WMCA, New York City; WGSM (AM), Huntington, NY, and WCTO (FM), Smithtown, NY; WGLI, Babylon, NY, and WALK-AM/FM, Patchogue, NY.
Sorry 'bout the boring bio — but that's what you get when there's too little balance between work and play. One major point of balance: Marc happily lives in Manhattan with his longtime partner — and now husband — Doug Koch.