WFMT Radio Network, the global radio syndication division of Chicago-based Window to the World Communications, announced plans this week to launch a new national jazz music network.
Starting January 10, the newly branded Jazz Network will originate from Chicago and feature four new hosts — John Hill, Neil Tesser, Dee Alexander and Dave Schwan. For 63 hours each week, they will showcase a wide range of jazz recordings, “including more new releases, complemented by unique anecdotes and insights into the music,” according to the network.
Though carried on more than 300 radio stations in 28 states and in Puerto Rico and China, none of the programming is expected to air on the company’s classical and fine arts station WFMT FM 98.7, according to program director David Polk. Plans for the Jazz Network to be heard locally in Chicago are in development.
Since the 1990s WFMT Radio Network has syndicated a jazz format, modeled after its Beethoven Network classical music service, originally produced and hosted from the Bay Area by Bob Parlocha, who died in March 2015.
“We are excited to put jazz front-and-center in the WFMT Radio Network’s portfolio of globally syndicated arts radio programs,” Dan Schmidt, CEO of Window to the World Communications, said in a statement.
“Chicago is one of the world’s most important jazz cities, from the days when Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Earl Hines and other jazz greats called the city home almost a century ago to today’s vibrant jazz scene. The WFMT Radio Network is proud to be able to serve as a creative media ambassador for Chicago jazz and jazz more generally.”