[JPL] Aging Programmers

Toby Gleason toby_gleason at sbcglobal.net
Tue Jun 12 12:49:39 EDT 2012

When I began programming jazz radio in 2004, at the tender age of 50- 
something, I programmed exclusively music from the '40s-'70s and  
believed I would stick to that, because I simply didn't KNOW how much  
great new jazz was being produced. When my father's old friend Dick  
LaPalm discovered that I was on the radio, he immediately let every  
jazz label and promoter know that Ralph Gleason's kid was on the jazz  
airwaves and I began to receive new releases in the mail (a  
surprisingly pleasant return to my childhood). One month, I received  
so many good new releases that I decided to do an entire show of new  
releases. I have been programming exclusively new releases ever since  
(and the occasional important re-issue.) I don't believe the age of  
the programmer is necessarily of much relevance to his/her appeal to  
the jazz radio listening audience. I believe that the programmer's  
skill, scope, energy and knowledge are of far more relevance than age.  
A good programmer can hook listeners of any age. Without gimmicks. I  
program, pretty much, on the fly. I pre-pick the discs for a show, but  
pick the tracks in the moment. That works really well for me. Another  
of our programmers pre-programs and pre-records every bit of his show,  
including scripting every word he says. And he sounds really good. We  
both consistently get compliments on our programming. I believe there  
is enough room in jazz radio for all ages, all styles, all periods. It  
just depends on what you are comfortable with and/or good at.

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