The letter from James Barnett [June 2] demands a response, particularly since he was given so much space to expound on his personal preferences as if they were universal truths. Mr. Barnett made it clear that he doesn't like jazz and therefore welcomes the proposed change in WBEZ's format to eliminate most music programming, including the current jazz programs on weeknights and Sunday afternoons. However, he ignored the widely held views that jazz is "America's classical music" and "America's gift to the arts"--recognitions of a level of artistic and cultural importance that should carry far more weight in programming decisions at a public radio station than any one person's lack of understanding or appreciation.
At a time when popular entertainment has sunk to such lows as gangster rap, the plan to eliminate WBEZ's jazz programming is the wrong thing to do. We desperately need to preserve the few avenues available to foster and celebrate music that embodies high artistic standards. That certainly includes good jazz.
E. 49th Street