EdBride at aol.com
EdBride at aol.com
Wed Jun 20 23:45:11 EDT 2012
This is nothing less than a cultural travesty, the Dean of New England jazz
broadcasters cast aside, like a wilted salad. Steve is a little more
eloquent in his comments. A sad day for Jazz, indeed.
In a message dated 6/20/2012 9:42:33 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
drjazz at drjazz.com writes:
Jazz programming on WGBH-FM being scaled back, a blow to local jazz fans
By Joseph P. Kahn, Globe Staff
To the consternation of loyal listeners, WGBH-FM (89.7) is dropping jazz
programming on weeknights, moving longtime host Eric Jackson to weekend
duties only and eliminating Steve Schwartz's Friday show.
The changes, which take effect July 2, amount to a serious downscaling
of jazz programming on Boston radio, where Jackson and Schwartz have
been mainstays for three decades, exposing their listeners to artists
old and new and promoting concerts and other events that have been vital
to the local jazz scene.
"Jazz on WGBH With Eric Jackson" will no longer run from 8 p.m. to
midnight Monday through Thursday, airing instead from 9 p.m. to midnight
Friday through Sunday. Schwartz's Friday evening jazz show is
disappearing altogether, and he will no longer produce live performances
for Jackson's show. The hosts learned of the changes Tuesday from
station managing director Phil Redo. As of mid-afternoon, WGBH had yet
to release a statement confirming the new programming schedule.
Jackson, who celebrated 30 years on air last spring, was told his show
was being moved --- and cut back to nine hours weekly --- to make room
for more news and public affairs programming. "The station has been
moving in that direction for a couple of years," he said Wednesday. A
month ago, he and Schwartz heard their shows would be cut one hour
apiece, he added, but moving his show to weekend nights only was "a
To the local jazz community, "this is major," Jackson said. "The music
has always been there in the evening. To put it on the weekends at 9
p.m., when families won't necessarily be listening together, is not the
same thing. It's a different vibe."
Live interviews and shows featuring a single artist may no longer be
tenable, he continued. "I still love doing radio, and Boston still needs
jazz radio, because jazz is a major part of American culture. Not to pat
myself on the back, but I think my show has been a major part of the
jazz scene around here."
Schwartz, who's been on the local airwaves for nearly 27 years, said
change was imminent a couple of years ago, when WGBH shifted its
classical programming to another station. Then, "the other shoe
dropped," said Schwartz as he was told that having two jazz hosts no
longer fit with WGBH's plans.
"It wasn't a total surprise, but it is a loss," Schwartz said. "The
station is losing a consistent format spread across the week. And the
Boston jazz community is losing an important venue for musicians to
promote their events."
The moves could also have a negative impact on WGBH membership, Schwartz
added, since membership in the WGBH Jazz Club includes access to live
concerts that will no longer be produced.
As news of the changes spread, many in the local jazz community reacted
with shock and dismay. On Facebook, a "Save Eric in the Evening" page
--- a reference to the show's former title --- elicited postings ranging
from sadness to calls for a protest petition directed at WGBH.
Saxophonist Ken Field noted how well-known and popular jackson has been
among artists from all over the area, and the world. "Reducing his
airtime is a step in the wrong direction, for people in Boston and
people outside Boston," he said. "Eric has been so supportive of not
only international musicians who come to town but also local jazz
A lot of people he knows are angered by the news, Field added, and
wondering why they should continue to support WGBH if it drops shows
such as these.
"That's some tragic news," commented pianist Danilo Perez, reached by
phone in Colorado Wednesday afternoon. "In a culture where we are so
much in need of hope and optimism, that's what jazz is all about. As
long as people listen to radio, it's crucial to have jazz [featured]
Beyond that, said Perez, "People like Eric and Steve love and know the
music. To a listener like myself, it's almost like having a History of
Jazz class on the radio."
Joseph P. Kahn can be reached at jkahn at globe.com.
Dr. Jazz Operations
Oak Park, MI 48237
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