Everyone in the Tampa Bay music world was shocked and saddened to learn last week that WUSF radio plans to cancel all jazz programming at the station at the end of October, officially ending a 56-year commitment to presenting jazz in our community.
WUSF’s “All Night Jazz” has been a fixture in the central Florida music scene since 1966, and a reliable friend and partner of the Palladium for the past 15 years.
I worked closely with WUSF Jazz Director Bob Seymour and his successor, Mike Cornette, as we grew a healthy jazz audience at the Palladium. I could count on the station to interview musicians and promote our offerings, well beyond the ad dollars we spent at the station over the years. Despite being a long-time advertiser/underwriter with WUSF-FM, the Palladium was not consulted or advised in advance of this decision.
The radio station has also helped hundreds of professional musicians reach a wider audience through interviews, in-studio performances, concert promotion and most importantly, playing their music. WUSF-FM has been one of the reasons we have grown a diverse and vital community of musicians and music professionals in this region.
Is three more hours of NPR national/international news programming more important than three hours of locally produced music programming between 9 p.m. and midnight?
HERE IS MY REQUEST TO STATION MANAGEMENT: If it is not financially viable to keep jazz on the air or if the numbers aren’t supporting it, then why not get the community involved and establish a timeline for improvements? Set a fundraising goal or create some marker that might be met by fans and the larger community. If it isn’t met, then there will be no grounds to protest your decision.
If you, like me, are shocked and disappointed by this news; If you think WUSF, as a non-profit community organization, should continue its mission to present news AND jazz programming, as it has for almost six decades; If you believe this decision was made without adequate input or public discussion, then please sign the petition to keep jazz on the air at WUSF-FM and email WUSF’s leadership to let them know how you feel.
Save WUSF Petition on Change.org.
JoAnn Urofsky, WUSF General Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheila Rue, WUSF Program Director: email@example.com