Readers sound off about WBEZ

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Last week’s column – “Will WBEZ tune back in to jazz?” – sparked passionate response from readers. Following are edited highlights:

Bring back jazz

I stood up and cheered at my breakfast table while reading your column today. You captured every bit of my sentiments about the loss of real jazz programming on WBEZ for the last seven years. When those changes were implemented, I wrote to (WBEZ president) Torey Malatia, expressing much the same concerns that you've outlined. In return, I received a letter proclaiming how much better the new approach would be, as we would all see. Ha! I immediately stopped contributing to WBEZ and transferred my annual donation to WDCB, which, luckily, I can receive pretty well in the northwest suburbs. Thank you for expressing my hope, voiced to friends, when Malatia's departure was announced, that there will be a return to the excellent jazz programming that used to be a big part of WBEZ's claim to fame. I hope that the powers that be will take your advice to heart.

-- Linda Korbel, Palatine

Calling for folk

I read your article this morning – to my mind, the real “four-letter word” at WBEZ is “folk.” Other cities' public radio stations have a plethora of folk/acoustic music programming, and WBEZ has none. For that, I have to listen to WDCB (if I can get it) and once-a-week “The Midnight Special” on WFMT.

I always thought public radio was a place where programming decisions could be made not because the programs were profitable, but because there was no place else on the dial to hear them. Yes, Chicago is a jazz town, but there is a long and honorable history of acoustic singer/songwriters, and quite a lot of great folk music around here. We hear none of that on WBEZ.

-- Anita Silvert, Northbrook

Re-broadcast Dick Buckley

Thank you for your great article about how WBEZ failed its jazz listeners. I was a huge fan of Dick Buckley's broadcasts, and so too were my 7-year-old triplet kids. Every weekend in the car we'd listen to the wonderful stories and records Buckley would spin. I would love it if WBEZ played Buckley's old programs. They were truly timeless.

-- Matthew Lynch, Chicago

A jazz companion

Your article (on) the loss of jazz on WBEZ was so appreciated. It is the sentiment that we, the listeners, have had resonating in our subconscious for years! How really shameful to have lost such a dynamic programming icon, especially in the Chicagoland area.

After very long days spent with my dad during his chemo treatments, I would always tune in to the WBEZ nighttime jazz program as my companion for the long hour-ride home. As a youngster, dad always had Dick Buckley and his deep, soothing voice introducing or relating a story of some sort, tuned in. How I miss that program. Hopefully, someone with programming savvy will heed your wise words of advice.

-- Susan Wunder, Orland Park

A broadcasting bore

(Torey) Malatia swept away several lovely Sunday evening shows: “The Thistle & Shamrock,” Stuart Rosenberg's shows, “Earth Club” and “Radio Gumbo” – shows which were beautifully eclectic and educational as well. Gone also was “The Folk Sampler,” showcasing folk, bluegrass and blues. I wept at losing Marian McPartland and, finally, the greatest jazz educator ever, Dick Buckley. I thought that Dick Buckley died of a broken heart.

Variety is the spice of life and Malatia turned WBEZ into a one-ingredient bore. Let’s hope that his successor has some vision.

-- Mary Ann Sumner, Miller Beach, IN

New blood at WBEZ

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The Grammys 2011