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KCCK jazz station provides 'reliable mixture' for listeners

By Enzo Nagao
On November 2, 2015

Dennis Green, general manager of KCCK radio. Photo by Jeff Sigmund.

As increasingly cash-oriented digital streaming services begin to take the place of traditional media, many may find themselves wishing for the simpler times of public radio. 

Founded in 1972 as a class project for an electronics class, KCCK has become one of the finest jazz stations in the entire nation, with its reliable mixture of classical and contemporary jazz, according to General Manager Dennis Green. The station has won numerous awards, including many awards from JazzWeek Magazine.                 “We just want to show kids that there’s more music than what they see on YouTube,” said Green. “Most times, when you listen to your channels on Pandora, you hate around 50 percent of what you hear. With KCCK, you may still hate 50 percent of it, but it’s better music.”

The station is also renowned for its community outreach programs like the popular Jazz Under the Stars concerts, as well as the Corridor Jazz Project, which helps aspiring musicians hone their craft, said Green. 

Program Director Bob Stewart said he attributes the station’s success to “not only the overall sound and the music we play but also the outreach programs we do in the community.”

In addition to popular programs like the Corridor Jazz Project, KCCK also coordinates a strong jazz education for area K-12 schools. 

“I think that reaching out and trying to get kids interested in jazz at an early age really keeps the audience for jazz growing.”

Green said KCCK makes a point of staying updated with changing technology, adapting to digital streaming and even having its own app so that fans can listen to KCCK on their phones.

“We get calls from as far away as Israel and Russia thanks to digital broadcasting,” Green said. KCCK also diversifies its broadcasts, playing contemporary jazz as much as it plays classical jazz. 

“A lot of jazz today is like it was in the fifties and sixties, but we also feature some of the newer stuff, which incorporates elements of hip-hop and different genres like that,” said Stewart. “We’re playing a lot of straight-ahead jazz but also a lot of contemporary jazz - we don’t want to go too far one way and alienate some of our fans, so we really try to stick to that middle line.”

For students interested in jazz or radio, both Green and Stewart emphasized the station has a lot of opportunities for student DJs. 

“If you’re interested in hosting, say, a music podcast, or if you’re just really interested in jazz, there are a lot of opportunities available here,” said Green. 

KCCK is also hosting a trip to Cuba in January. More information about that trip can be found at www.kcck.org. 

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