[JPL] LA Times: KKJZ to keep jazz for at least 10 years

Doug Crane dcrane at comcast.net
Wed Mar 28 15:29:55 EDT 2007


KKJZ will keep jazz and blues format
By Steve Carney, Special to The Times
March 28, 2007 
For at least the next decade, KKJZ-FM (88.1) out of Cal State Long Beach will remain an outlet for mainstream jazz and blues, according to a new programming contract announced Tuesday.
The university, which owns the station, will hand over programming duties on April 21 to Global Jazz Inc., owned by radio entrepreneur Saul Levine, who also owns country music station KKGO-FM (105.1) and classical KMZT-AM (1260).
Levine said K-Jazz fans "are not going to hear any radical changes," as he tried to allay fears among some jazz aficionados that he would introduce "smooth jazz." Instead, he referred to the softer genre as sometimes "oppressive."
"We're going to be playing the best of contemporary jazz and not smooth jazz," Levine said, citing, as an example, the difference between saxophonists Grover Washington Jr. and Kenny G.
The California State University Long Beach Foundation, which holds the station's radio license, awarded Levine the right to manage KKJZ in October, when he beat out several others in a six-month bid process. The two sides have been hammering out contract details since then.
Levine said he hopes to fine-tune KKJZ programming by adding new practitioners of the mainstream, or "straight-ahead," jazz that the station already plays.
In addition, Global Jazz will provide four $5,000 scholarships a year, hire student interns and other employees, continue offering the annual KKJZ Blues Festival and co-sponsor events at the university. Levine said he also hoped to attract younger listeners by sending jazz combos to perform at schools and parks.
KKJZ has struggled financially and cut staff in recent years. Levine said the new contract guaranteed the university would do no worse than break even, and Global Jazz would help with fundraising and promotions. "This is essentially going to be a labor of love," said Levine, who played jazz on KKGO for 29 years, after founding the station in 1959. "This is a niche format. Nobody is going to get rich off this."
University President F. King Alexander said in a news release that the new management "will provide K-Jazz listeners with the quality of sound and service that they expect." 


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