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.