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A New Era of Jazz Programming Begins at VOA

Willis Conover interviews Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong.
Willis Conover interviews Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong.

On June 5, 2022, Voice of America will launch a new jazz program in partnership with WDCB, a non-commercial radio station operated by the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

“Jazz from the heart of America” will be hosted by WDCB Station Manager Dan Bindert and will feature a weekly hour-long radio program of jazz music of today and yesteryear to air on FM and shortwave radio stations and VOA affiliates’ platforms around the world.

VOA Executive Producer for Music June Simms is very excited about the partnership. “Jazz has long been a part of VOA’s legacy and we are thrilled to continue the tradition of Willis Conover and jazz programming with WDCB.”

VOA’s interest in jazz dates back to VOA international jazz icon, Willis Conover, affectionately known as America’s “ambassador of jazz,” whose career spanned more than four decades since his popular show, “Music USA,” hit airwaves on January 6, 1955. Back then, jazz programming was an important tool showcasing America’s talents and arts, breaking through the Iron Curtain. Conover’s program featured interviews and performances from world-famous American jazz artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Sara Vaughn, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald.

“Jazz has been a staple at VOA for decades, helping to tell America’s story,” explained Acting VOA Director Yolanda López. “I’m excited to continue this legacy working with WDCB in Chicago as they share great jazz music throughout the world.”

“Jazz from the heart of America” will air for the first time Sunday, June 5 at 0700 UTC.