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The Dave Koz Radio Show now airing on WBGO

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Colin Peck.

On Sunday, October 2, WBGO will welcome the Dave Koz Radio Show to its weekly schedule. Airing on Sundays from 8 pm to 10 pm, the show is a two-hour hangout with one of the biggest stars in contemporary jazz

The nationally syndicated show was founded in 1994, when Koz was approached by radio executive Paul Goldstein who was creating shows hosted by artists in particular genres. “Paul thought that I should host the smooth jazz show,” explains Koz. “Of course, I knew NOTHING about being a radio host. But Paul said that my lack of experience could actually work to an advantage as they weren’t looking for ‘jocks,’ but rather people who were knowledgeable and passionate about the music and artists. You should’ve heard those first few shows. I was horrible. But I learned on the job…and always focused on the core of the show—which for me has always been about being a great cheerleader for the music and the amazing artists who make it. We are now almost 30 years uninterrupted on the radio. I guess I got better.”

Koz says that he learned from hosts like WBGO’s own Pat Prescott as he developed his own on-air chops. “Pat was a HUGE inspiration and an amazing source of education. I used to sit in with Pat on her morning show at CD101.9 in New York…we had such a blast. She taught me just about everything I know: about how to just be yourself on the radio…about how to be relatable and keep it brief…even about how to keep my P’s from popping. Many years later, when I got the morning show hosting gig at The Wave in Los Angeles, I begged her to be my co-host. We spent six glorious years on the air together in LA that I’ll never forget.” He says that late Ramsey Lewis, who hosted a show on WNUA in Chicago, was also an important inspiration. “He was actually doing what I intended to do,” Koz remembers. “I’ll never forget that conversation. Ramsey told me it would all be okay, and it sure was.”

What Koz enjoys most about doing the show is being a champion of his fellow artists and telling their musical stories. “Our slice of the music world doesn’t get the exposure that other genres enjoy—and yet the music is SO awesome and the people making it have such amazing stories to tell,” he says. “I consider hosting this show one of the great gifts of my life...as once a week on the weekends, I get to just be an advocate for all these incredible artists and take our listeners on a journey through the music. I love it as much now as I did in the beginning. Maybe even more.”

The saxophonist says that it means a lot to him to have his show air on WBGO. “I am deeply honored to be joining the air staff at such a heritage radio station like WBGO. It’s a dream come true for our show to be heard in the Tri-State area and especially on a station that is so committed to keeping the music (and I mean all of it) alive, well and celebrated. I’m over the moon.”

For over 27 years, Lee Mergner served as an editor and publisher of JazzTimes until his resignation in January 2018. Thereafter, Mergner continued to regularly contribute features, profiles and interviews to the publication as a contributing editor for the next 4+ years. JazzTimes, which has won numerous ASCAP-Deems Taylor awards for music journalism, was founded in 1970 and was described by the All Music Guide, as “arguably the finest jazz magazine in the world.”