The station where I have produced weekly jazz radio programs for over 23 years now, WPFW 89.3 FM, Pacifica Radio for the Washington, DC metro community, streaming live at http://www.wpfw.org, has sadly joined the ranks of stations across the country which have cast jazz programming aside – or in this case kicked it to the curb – in favor of news/talk/information formats, which are seen as better revenue generators. Long a bastion of left-leaning progressive programming, WPFW has now veered further towards the center and an overall NPR-ization of its airways. In an extremely clumsy and graceless manner, WPFW programmers were informed earlier this week – in some cases as they arrived at the station – that their regularly scheduled programs had either been shifted to new time slots (without any consultation or forewarning whatsoever) or they’d been totally deleted from the new programming paradigm.
Known for many years as “Your station for Jazz & Justice”, all Monday through Friday daytime jazz programming has been deleted. Jazz will now be aired on WPFW M-F from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.; Saturday evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; and the traditional Sunday strip from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (though in fairness, the 9am-noon Sunday show, “G-Strings” with Tom Cole, was always more of a stringed instrument potpourri than a pure jazz show; ditto “The American Songbook” 3-5pm).
We WPFW programmers have been raising the red flags about station mismanagement for over a year. Seems only now, in light of what has been a truly draconian week of program changes, longtime programmers being given the summary boot, and others been shifted to new, unfamiliar time slots, that the community has arisen from its slumber. Over a year ago, early November 2011 to be exact, WPFW programmers issued a public letter of NO CONFIDENCE in station management and began holding public forums to discuss these alarm bells. Below is a link to a telling piece on the current status of WPFW from the December 1, 2012 issue of the Washington Post. As we say in radio-land – stay tuned…