Chicago Public Radio to Drop Jazz From Schedule

Classic Arts News   Chicago Public Radio to Drop Jazz From Schedule
Chicago Public Radio has incensed listeners with its plan to drop jazz, blues, and world music programming from the three frequencies it controls, including Chicago's WBEZ, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The plans will be carried out in early 2007. Among the shows to be dropped are locally produced programs such as Niles Frantz's blues program "Comin' Home," Chris Heim's world-music show "Passport," the Sunday-afternoon "Jazz With Dick Buckley," and all other jazz programming.

Shows produced by other public radio stations popular with listeners, including "Afropop Worldwide," "Blues Before Sunrise" and "Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland" will also be axed.

According to the Tribune, fans were shocked because they had been expecting music programs to be increased, not the reverse. But Chicago Public Radio decided to devote its frequencies to talk shows.

"It's a slap in the face to Louis Armstrong and Joe Williams," Chicago broadcaster Dave Freeman told the Tribune. "If this were Lincoln, Nebraska, fine. But this is a part of our history in Chicago, a part of who we are."

Torey Malatia, president and general manager of Chicago Public Radio, told the paper that the stations have changed their strategy and hope to "support the artistic community in a more effective way." He added that there would be discussions of music under the new format but said "I don't want to mislead people that there will be sets" of music played on any of the stations.

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