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Jazz Funeral Tonight as WGBH Fans Mourn Loss of Weeknight Jazz Programming

Jazz Funeral at WGBH Headquarters Tonight

Jazz Funeral at WGBH Headquarters Tonight

Jazz fans upset about programming changes at Boston public radio station WGBH have planned a Jazz Funeral for 8:00 tonight in front of WGBH headquarters at 1 Guest Street in Brighton, Massachusetts. Musicians will play jazz songs appropriate to the occasion. According to the event invitation on Facebook:

“WGBH Radio’s management has recently demolished its jazz programming by firing Steve Schwartz and relegating Eric Jackson to weekends. Join others in saying goodbye to decades of weeknight jazz programming on WGBH by participating as a musician or listener in a short New Orleans style jazz funeral outside WGBH studios on the final evening of Eric Jackson’s weeknight program.”

Tonight’s event (which reminds me of the wake held by KUSF supporters last year) is part of a bigger series of protests against changes to WGBH’s programming schedule. WGBH announced in June that the station would be revamping its schedule to include more talk programming during the weekdays. In its statement about these changes, WGBH stated that, “This summer also will bring a new focus on jazz on 89.7 as the popular program Eric in the Evening, featuring Eric Jackson, the ‘dean of Boston jazz,’ moves to weekends…”

WGBH’s outline of the new line-up doesn’t mention the loss of overnight jazz programming (Jazz with Bob Parlocha), which will be replaced by Public Radio Exchange Remix from midnight to 5am. Additionally, re-runs of daytime local talk radio show Boston Public Radio will air on weekday nights (Monday to Thursday) from 9pm to 11pm, replacing Eric Jackson and Steve Schwartz’s night-time jazz shows.

Eric Jackson’s jazz program will continue on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 9pm to midnight, whereas Schwartz’s show is being eliminated. Boston Radio Watch outlines the new schedule which goes into effect on Monday, July 9.

An online petition and several Facebook pages are focused on working to bring jazz programming and hosts back to WGBH’s weekday schedule. Eric Jackson’s jazz program has been airing during the evening on Mondays through Thursdays, as well as on Sunday nights. Steve Schwartz hosted a Friday night jazz show.

In addition to its talk-focused WGBH at 89.7 FM, WGBH also airs classical music programming on separate frequencies throughout New England under the Classical New England umbrella (which stemmed from WGBH’s purchase of classical station WCRB and was augmented last year by its use of college radio station WJMF’s signal in Providence) and airs a mostly talk format over WCAI in the Cape Code area.

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7 Responses to Jazz Funeral Tonight as WGBH Fans Mourn Loss of Weeknight Jazz Programming

  1. Paul O'Donnell July 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    The best way to let WGBH know how I feel is with my checkbook. Eric’s listeners (including local, national, and international ones) were not consulted or surveyed about this big change. As a longtime supporter of the station, I don’t feel as appreciated and respected as I thought I was. The gap between public radio and commercial radio is suddenly disappearing. Recovering from this miscalculation could take awhile for fans everywhere.

  2. Lee Wright July 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    It really is a sad day. One almost thinks, “Hey, the listening public needs a station that values some of the things that commerce has largely passed by. Let’s start a public radio station!”

    I don’t know of anyone who feels that their life or our community would be richer with more talk radio.

    And, “This summer will bring a new focus on jazz . . . ?” The implication surely must be that the station’s management thinks so little of listeners that they can just spin eliminating programs and making huge cuts in others as somehow “bringing a new focus.” Perhaps the rest of that sentence is, “so that we can cut it back further.”

    Very, very disappointing.

  3. Terry Chapman July 7, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    I am very disappointed that WGBH would fire Schwartz and reduce Eric’s air time to weekends only. Realizing that jazz audiences are a small part of your listeners does not preclude decisions based upon the high quality of the jazz offerings by this station. I will not support WGBH any longer. It’s just the right thing to do!

  4. Robert K Moore July 7, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    First they came for the Folk. Then they came for the Jazz. And in its place they are giving us more talk radio. Huh?

    I for one am done. I am through. WGBH used to be a great station. My membership will not be renewed.

  5. Bruce Fournier July 10, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Sad and stupid. Replace an iconic show with retread public radio pablum?

    For those seeking jazz, there is a public station in Portland, OR broadcasting and streaming 24/7 – KMHD. I’m sure they’d appreciate your support.

  6. kmccafferty July 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    How I used to love this station! It was the background of my life. Classical in the afternoon, just enough news and then waiting for 7pm for those first notes to play. And pleasant, interesting saturdays as well.

    People everywhere envied Boston for our public radio station.

    It was the perfect mix of varied music and news. I felt part of a community of local thoughtful open-minded people. I can’t tell you how much I miss WGBH. I wish I understood how this monumental betrayal of trust happened.

    If only there was a station I could transfer my interest and loyalty to. I was raised to trust WGBH. Who do I trust now?

    Any ideas where we can all go to listen together again?

  7. Stephanie Schorow July 13, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    WGBH wants younger listeners – as does all media. Young listeners DO NOT LISTEN TO TALK RADIO. Young listeners are into music, like JAZZ, Like Alternative. Eliminating Eric from weeknight is short-sighted; better to PROMOTE it and not drop it. There are plenty of talk and news options. What I want from 9 to midnight is a chance to get a break. I’m a news junkie but I want options in my media giant. I am saddened by WGBH’s decision to cut back Eric’s show and other Jazz options.

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