Jazz Institute of Chicago

Bob Parlocha hosts WFMT's

Jazz Satellite Network
by Jon Kavanaugh
Director, Corp. Comm.
WFMT & The Radio Networks

Chicago-based WFMT, best known for its classical music programming, made its first foray into jazz with the launch of the WFMT Jazz Satellite Network, March, 1997. The shows satisfy a pressing need among public radio stations for high-quality, low-cost mainstream jazz programming to augment locally-produced shows, particularly over nights. WFMT now feeds eleven hours of programming, featuring host Bob Parlocha, to more than 75 radio outlets across the country each evening.

Parlocha became available when San Francisco's KJAZ ceased broadcasting. Because he was well-known outside the Bay area, it was easy for WFMT to quickly obtain participation commitments from other stations. He records local identification for each affiliate so that listeners feel that he is sitting in the control room of "their" station each night.

Born and raised in Vallejo, California, Parlocha first heard jazz on his mother's Count Basie and Duke Ellington records. In high school, he played tenor and soprano saxophones and flute and sang in road bands. Recently, he has produced several albums, including "Soul Eyes," for singer Laurie Antonioli, on the Catero label. He also engineered the late Martha Young's "Live at Bajone's" album on Carnelian, and worked on an album for pianist Steve Cohn.

Most days, though, Parlocha is in his Alameda, California studio, recording his shows onto digital audio tapes (DAT). WFMT staff check the tapes for audio quality, write each program hour to compact disc, then check the CDs for technical problems. Beginning at 9 p.m. EST the show is sent via WFMT's Chicago earth station to satellite.

Jazz with Bob Parlocha can be heard in Chicago on 98.7 WFMT, midnight Saturday until 5 a.m. Sunday. To read more about the Jazz Satellite Network, go to the WFMT website at http://www.wfmt.com, or to find out where to hear the programs, e-mail jazz@wfmt.com.

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