The up-coming changes to KBCS programming will deal a huge blow to the Seattle Jazz Community and local jazz on the radio. A number of long-time volunteers and KBCS fans have grouped together to form Save KBCS. As their website says, they want to “Keep the ‘Community’ in Community Radio.”
For the full list of proposed changes by KBCS management, click here.
The list of shows to be eliminated are:
* The Bud and Don Show
* Bebop Spoken Here
* 20th Century Jazz
* Vintage Jazz
* The Caravan
* Lunch With Folks
* Daily Planet
* Drive Time Jazz
Looking at this list it is evident that a large chunk of jazz will be taken off the Seattle airwaves. Drive Time Jazz especially will greatly impact the Seattle Jazz Community.
We at Seattle Jazz Scene have talked to a number of KBCS DJs over the years and they have made it their mission to consciously play new music, music by active jazz artists (something you can’t always hear on KPLU), and give prominent attention to Seattle jazz musicians when they have new CDs out. With the 7-9am Drive Time Jazz spot filled with public affairs programming, KBCS is going head-to-head with public affairs programming on KPLU, KUOW, AM1090 and others.
With John Gilbreath being tapped to host a 9 – Noon spot Monday – Friday, this poses even more questions for the Seattle jazz community. His new show is listed as playing, “jazz, world, and Americana,” which means jazz have a smaller presence than it currently does. And with Gilbreath on the air 15 hours a week (and at least another hour a day in commuting bringing his total commitment to approximately 20 hours), how will impact his job as Executive Director of Earshot Jazz?
From what we have heard and what has been written by KBCS management, the change in programming has been brought on by declining listenership. Looking at traditional Seattle media metrics this claim can be validated. But … one should point out that KBCS’ listeners are far from “traditional”. KBCS’ programming is eclectic and therefore their listeners are eclectic. Are jazz fans inclined to listen to afternoon world and folk music? Probably not. But that is the charm of KBCS. It is a station that servers many musical communities throughout the Northwest.