WBEZ Just Wants to Talk About Music

I was shocked to learn this weekend that Chicago’s Public Radio station, WBEZ, has announced they will drop all music programming beginning next year. Originally, the plan had been to boost the signal strength of their sister station WBEW and create an all-music public radio station, changing BEZ to all public affairs. Now, the word has come down that all music will be dropped from BEZ and BEW will become a second all-talk radio station.

That means that Chicago public radio will have no jazz or blues programming!!! Chicago, people! A town very much into its jazz and blues music. No Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. No Blues Before Sunrise. No Coming Home. And hardest of all to imagine, no Dick Buckley!

It also means no more pledge dollars from yours truly to WBEZ.

Chicago without blues and jazz on the radio. Unbelievable. This was good stuff, music you couldn’t hear anywhere else on the dial. Slashing all music programming is a real blow to Chicago’s already pathetic state of radio. Time now for the college radio stations in the area (College of DuPage, Loyola and Northwestern) to pick up the baton and run with it.


10 thoughts on “WBEZ Just Wants to Talk About Music

  1. Here here! I’ve been a fan of WDCB (College of DuPage) for years (www.wdcb.org). All day jazz, amusing commentary, and a marketing director who writes to you personally to make sure that you’re enjoying your listening experience.
    WBEZ could learn a lot…

  2. No….It’s time for you to join the satellite radio revolution. Forget the donations and get a Sirius subscription.

  3. I’ve been toying with satellite radio on and off for a while now and WBEZ’s news is just one more push toward my seriously considering taking the plunge.

  4. How good are the blues/jazz stations on satellite radio? I’ve heard a couple users complain that in general, the various satellite stations offer up a lot of repeats. It’s hardly worth it to pay a monthly fee to listen to “Take Five” at the top of every hour…

  5. I’m kind of shocked to think of Chicago without a jazz or blues radio station. It doesn’t make much sense, but then I could say that for many things.
    I’ll be interested to hear about what happens if you get satellite radio. I don’t know anyone with it.

  6. Cricket: Satellite radio offers much more than just jazz/blues stations. If that’s all you care about, use the money to buy an extensive CD collection.
    I listen to Stern every morning and then flip around the dial for various music and talk programs the rest of the day. We all know that Chicago radio sucks. If you agree, you have no real reason to complain when there’s an affordable alternative.

  7. I like how BEZ honcho Torey Malatia claims people will appreciate music more when they hear it less (for eg., when a musician plays a song while being interviewed on a talk show). This seems like Dr. Strangeglove reasoning to me…

  8. One more reason to visit Chicago less–no Marion McPartland, Sunday afternoon jazz, etc. If I want to listen to talk, I’m better off here– where they all talk funnier.

  9. If he wants more talk on his station, he should run the Ky program “I’m wantin’ to buy, I’m fixin’ to sell.”

  10. I don’t even live in the USA but can tell this is a bad idea. Jeez. Isn’t the network that airs This American Life? Don’t they have enough talk radio already?
    They should look at the CBC in Canada. CBC runs Radio One and Radio Two. One has mostly music, the other mostly talk, but both have a little of what they lack. I don’t know why they can’t do something like that. Split it into two variants.

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