Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Gabriella Tucci in low-def; WBEZ not so jazzed

Looking up crossword puzzle answers is just cheating, but asking a multitasking blogger is OK. So it was that a Google query for "Caro nome" from Verdi's Rigoletto led me to a 1961 Japanese kinescope. Sure beats my typical YouTube night at the opera.

YouTube musical fare can range from the ridiculus to the sublime. I prefer jazz on the radio, but that's no longer an option on Chicago's NPR affiliate, which is abandoning overnight jazz for overnight news. Chicago Reader blogger and music critic Peter Margazak calls it a big mistake even as he complains about the current format's lackluster nature.

He has a point, in that old-school DJ Dick Buckley is its most creative jazz programmer of late. Jazz fans are better served by trying locate the weaker signal of WDCB, the Harold Washington Library or Jazz Record Mart.

Any format change takes the current audience out if its comfort zone, whether in a radio schedule, an evening newscast or a redesigned alternative weekly. WBEZ deserves time to work on a better use of its airtime. Starting with a lineup of BBC and Radio Polonia rebroadcasts, there's plenty of room for improvement.

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