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End of the Jazz Age

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boos.qxd

Another concern in the sad case of WBEZ [Hot Type, February 20] is what has happened to jazz on the station. Perhaps a clue is Torey Malatia's idea that most listeners listen for news--maybe he hopes that jazz will be so unsuccessful that he can discontinue it. Apparently he can't conceive of listeners that like both jazz and news.

I have been listening to Dick Buckley since 1955, except for the few years in the 60s when jazz was doing so poorly on radio that he was forced to announce "the world's most beautiful music" on WAIT. Buckley plays artists from Armstrong and Morton to Coltrane and Mingus, and knows how to program so that the music connects.

On weeknights Buckley has been replaced by Chris Heim, who seemed OK when she followed Buckley at 9 PM and continued what he was playing. Left to her own devices, she seems not to know the difference between jazz and noise. She also seems to prefer world music and thinks that is jazz as well. She also (despite being music coordinator) has no concept of programming order, which I am sure has caused many to tune out, even if they don't know why. She thinks that Jack Kerouac reading poems is jazz.

Malatia seems to have a very strange idea of when the jazz audience is awake. Jazz From Lincoln Center has been moved to 5 AM (!) on Sunday. Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz is on at 10 AM on Sundays, and Buckley's Sunday program has been moved from its previous 1 PM to 4 PM period to 11 to 2--obviously when all the jazz fans who have been out Saturday night (when Buckley does his other three hours) are there to listen. Buckley is constantly mentioning that people think he isn't on anymore. After 2 on Sunday there is more news.

I have indeed been forced to time-shift. I tape Buckley on Saturday and Sunday and listen to him weeknights. I'll continue to do this until he is cancelled for lack of audience, if Malatia's apparent plan works. Also, WDCB 90.9 seems to have found a staff of mostly jazz musicians that know the difference between jazz and noise, but its Glen Ellyn signal is a little weak in Evanston.

Charles Eric Boos

Evanston

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