[JPL] WMUB's "Mama Jazz" Dies
drjazz at drjazz.com
Mon Nov 28 21:16:27 EST 2011
Former WMUB-FM jazz host Phyllis "Mama Jazz" Campbell, one of the most
popular personalities on the Miami University station, died Saturday in
Eaton, Ohio. She was 89.
Mama Jazz was a WMUB-FM host for 29 years. She started as in 1979 doing
a two-hour weekly show that grew into a four-hour, five-days-a-week show
in 1984. The show ended in 2008, when WMUB-FM dropped jazz in favor of
evening news and talk (before the station was sold in 2009 to Cincinnati
Public Radio). WMUB-FM had been playing reruns since December 2006, when
at age 85 she stopped doing original broadcasts due chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (which impedes air flow) and emphysema.
Here's a link to our 2003 profile of Mama Jazz.
"Everyone had a story and aspecial memory of Mama. Once you heard that
voice, you could never forget it," recalled Cleve Callison, former
WMUB-FM general manager, in a comment to the Miami University News and
Public Information Office.
"She was feisty as all get-out, passionately devoted to jazz and
unabashedly loyal to her legions of fans. I can't think of anyone I've
met in radio who has seen that kind of devotion doubled back so much as
the lady simply known everywhere as Mama. The song running through my
head right now is 'Hello Central, Give Me Mama Jazz,' an adaptation of
the classic 'Dr. Jazz' by Dave Greer and his band, one of Mama's
Campbell also worked in other capacities at Miami from 1967 until she
retired in 1994, first in the personnel and guidance department and
later as secretary to the dean of the graduate school, according to the
university. She was at Miami University 60 hours a week between her day
job and radio shift, the university said.
She graduated from Miami-Jacobs Junior College of Business in 1941 and
attended Miami University. Prior to joining the staff at Miami, she was
a bookkeeper for Ashman Heating Company in Eaton.
Miami's announcement today said Mama Jazz was commended by the G.H.B.
(George H. Buck) Jazz Foundation in New Orleans in 1993 for preserving
the music of New Orleans jazz musician George Lewis "and his living
pioneers of New Orleans jazz," by locating lost masters and having them
digitally transferred to compact discs. Buck said: "You turned your
back on the commercial promotion department of so called jazz labels,
and decided to give the art form, the true art form, a chance to be
heard by the public. As a result southern Ohio has been a much richer
place to live and work."
Campbell is survived by, her husband William, sons; Perry of Alabama
and William "Corky" of Columbus; daughters Jane Campbell Gordon of Eaton
and Gail Campbell of Oxford; a brother, grandchildren and other family
members. Barnes Funeral Home in Eaton says services will be held at the
convenience of the family at a later date.
Dr. Jazz Operations
Oak Park, MI 48237
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