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Don't Blame 'BEZ

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riordan.qxd

Dear letters editor (I do hope you have the guts to print this),

I participated as a volunteer with the early WBEZ Jazz Festival broadcasts. I am appalled by the Tesser-Judge "Whinefest '97" [Post No Bills, April 11].

Obviously Neil Tesser is a "ghost writer" for Mr. Margasak (oh my, Tesser just happens to be a writer for the Reader?!). Neil Tesser and Tony Judge are both embittered former WBEZ employees who can't reconcile that their times have passed. Tesser came off not only pretentious as a WBEZ jazz host but placed himself so far above the music that I'm amazed he ever actually played any of it. Yes Neil, without your "brilliant" insights I'm sure we can't enjoy and appreciate four nights of live jazz on WBEZ, a station that has been doing it for 15-plus years. Like I need you to tell me which jazz artists are qualified to play under your "expert" approval label. Oh please. Tesser would be better off broadcasting to himself in the basement of the Green Mill. (He'd probably have more listeners too.)

In regard to earlier broadcasts, perhaps if Tony Judge had done his job at WBEZ (he was raising WBEZ monies back then) and cultivated some funding, WBEZ would not have had to wait until the last minute to decide if broadcasts could be pulled off. Fifteen live comprehensive concerts out of sixteen years is truly a remarkable record. Judge failed at WFMT, WBEZ, and now as an independent broadcast marketer. Why would the city want to work with someone sporting such a dismal track record?

Since Tesser has left WBEZ, Jazz Forum has shined with a new and younger host, and I can now listen again to 91.5 FM in the evenings. Stay away from the Jazz Festival, Neil, and I'll enjoy that too.

Finally, Neil Tesser's biggest claim to fame in regard to WBEZ's first Jazz Festival broadcasts was keeping the legendary Dick Buckley off the festival broadcasts early on (he said Buckley was "too out of it"). I was at meetings when he actually said that. Hey Neil--what goes around comes around, my friend.

Michael Riordan

Oak Park

Peter Margasak responds:

Tony Judge left WBEZ in January of 1995 and cannot be blamed for the station's failure to broadcast the Jazz Festival that year or its late commitment to doing so the following year. Neil Tesser told me he never kept Dick Buckley off the broadcast; he says they worked together on the broadcast from 1982 to 1994.

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