Pat and Allan Harris timura at allanharris.com
Mon Apr 24 17:05:24 EDT 2006

hi all,
this is pat harris, wife and manager of jazz vocalist, allan harris.
i love reading these threads, and i can't believe this blog in the
chicago tribune!  thanks for putting it in an email bobby.
times are scarry for jazz artists and jazz programmers  alike!
keep swinging,

On Apr 21, 2006, at 12:22 PM, Jackson, Bobby wrote:

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> Peeps,
> More BEZ thoughts from the features blog of the Chicago Tribune.
> Bobby Jackson
> http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/technology_internetcritic/ 
> 2006/0
> 4/wbezfm_915_is_d.html#more
> Can you believe that WBEZ-FM 91.5 is dumping jazz, world music and
> blues? Neither can I.
> I thought the city's public-radio station would never get around to
> making this smart decision, a big improvement over its current
> personality divide.
> It's not that I hate jazz, blues or world music. A little of each goes  
> a
> long way for me, to be sure, but they are all fine, even splendid, at
> certain times -- like during brunch and over tinny speakers in
> college-town clothing stores.
> But even melodic jazz (as opposed to the numbingly virtuosic kind; I  
> get
> it, dude, you can play your horn) is no match for a lineup of  
> first-rate
> public-affairs programs, and the latter is just what WBEZ aims to put  
> in
> place of the nighttime and overnight music it now plays.
> Critics of the station's planned move -- and they have been vocal out  
> of
> all proportion to their representation in the ratings -- say the
> airwaves are already stuffed with news and talk. But this is only true
> if you take as adequately informative the news  
> blips/traffic/commercials
> treadmill of all-news radio or the partisan bloviations of the likes of
> Rush Limbaugh.
> Not only is news radio a woefully inefficient -- and insufficient --
> format, there's only one such station left in Chicago. And the talk
> that's out there, in places other than NPR outlets, ranges from
> right-wing screeds to far-right-wing screeds to the occasional would-be
> comic, even the best of whom (Steve Dahl, still, and Steve Cochran) are
> only occasionally comical.
> Even when the talk is relatively mature and moderate, as on Tribune
> Co.'s WGN-AM 720, it's cluttered with more commercials than a TiVo  
> owner
> can stand.
> The extra NPR and BBC programs that WBEZ will be able to add are
> commercial-free; they lean, by contrast, toward the intelligent, even
> the high-toned; they are scrupulously reported and, often, lavishly
> detailed.
> They increase our comprehension of and engagement in the world around
> us, which is what good newspapers, good TV newsmagazines ("60 Minutes,"
> "Frontline"), and good TV news reporting (most of the network stuff  
> from
> outside of Washington, D.C.)  still do. But this kind of work is not a
> growth industry, and nobody in American broadcasting does it on so
> consistently high a level as NPR. In terms of covering the world, the
> BBC is even better.
> More of both on the radio dial is a good thing, especially in this --
> and here I follow the example of shamelessness set by certain political
> leaders -- post-9/11 world.
> Where the plan falls down a bit is in WBEZ's relative dearth of local
> reporting. The station's morning regional newsmagazine "Eight
> Forty-Eight" is much improved since it's been shortened to an hour; it
> deserves a nightly rebroadcast because of its keen eye on Chicago and a
> new-found sense of whimsy.
> But beyond it, you don't get the feeling the station has the legions of
> reporters needed to put the city in perspective. A station of its size
> in a city of this size ought to be serving up at least 30 minutes of
> local news nightly, and it should strive to hire more reporters and get
> such a program together before the format change kicks in early next
> year.
> It also should give a Chicago-focused show to the very sharp Gretchen
> Helfrich, who's been underemployed since her intriguing talk show
> "Odyssey" failed to catch fire in syndication.
> And it really needs to stop spending so much Chicago airtime,
> proportionately speaking, on Indiana issues. I know WBEZ now has a
> sister outlet in Northwest Indiana, but that doesn't mean I should have
> to hear about every last thing Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels does,
> especially when those rare local moments could be spent on more
> immediately relevant news.
> But these are quibbles compared to my excitement at the prospect of
> turning on WBEZ at midnight and having it sound like public radio, not
> college radio.
> As for jazz, even true believers have to admit it's already a niche
> format, well served by the small stages of Internet  and satellite  
> radio
> outlets and devotee record stores.
> Let's not pretend the playing of prerecorded niche music continues to  
> be
> more deserving than freshly produced news of the huge auditorium that  
> is
> Chicago's lead public-radio station. Let's especially not pretend this
> when there's a whole world out there to try to comprehend.
> -------------------------------------------
> This week's sponsor: ''don't call her Larry, volume 2'' by LAWRENCE  
> -------------------------------------------
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