Steve Williams

President & CEO

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Williams brings a rich and extensive background in media to WBGO with a reputation as a creative, people-centric, and data-driven leader. He has held key leadership roles at top media organizations across a diverse range of markets including Cincinnati, Detroit, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, New York City, and most recently Seattle. William is also a nationally recognized authority on best practices for jazz radio programming, research, marketing, and administration and content production. A jazz aficionado, Williams previously served as Director of Programming for WBGO and most recently served the station in a consulting capacity.

Steve was first introduced to jazz by his grandfather, at age 15 - the year of his first radio job.

Ways to Connect

Isaiah McClain

In 2001, The National Museum of American History designated April "Jazz Appreciation Month" (JAM).

Of course, jazz appreciation is a year-round pursuit for WBGO and our listeners — but we'll acknowledge the nationwide JAM celebration this month with a focus on the emerging generation of jazz artists. Tune in each weekday to hear an array of student musicians from across America and around the world. 

NYU WAYNE SHORTER JAZZ ENSEMBLE

Steve Williams / WBGO

Suffice it to say that Jools Holland has a full dance card. He's the presenter of a radio show on BBC 2 and the driving force behind Later…with Jools Holland, the celebrated and inventive BBC TV program he created in 1992. 

But more than anything, Holland is a crafty and fun-loving musician who drops everything for the opportunity to sit behind a piano. So he recently put the busy schedule on hold and flew into New York to celebrate his 60th birthday (January 25) and perform in the Big Apple for the first time in more than a decade. 

AFP

On Friday, ECM Records made its catalog available on major streaming services, in an expansion of its partnership with the Universal Music Group. This made an ocean of material more widely available, including classical and world music.

But the trove is of special importance to jazz fans — like WBGO's music director, Gary Walker, and its director of programming, Steve Williams, who supersized this edition of Take Five with 10 tracks from as many unmissable ECM albums.

Manhattan School of Music is home to undergraduate and graduate degree programs in jazz, developed under the leadership of jazz artist and educator Justin DiCioccio.  For Jazz Appreciation Month, we have three of the school's jazz ensembles: MSM Jazz Orchestra, MSM Mingus Ensemble, and MSM Jazz Arts Vocal Big Band.

New York University’s Jazz Studies program is located in the heart of Greenwich Village, hallowed ground for generations of jazz artists and fans alike. To celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month, assistant professor and saxophonist Dave Pietro introduces us to the NYU Wayne Shorter Ensemble, which explores the compositions of NYU alumnus and Newark native Wayne Shorter.

The Royal Academy of Music is Britain's oldest degree-granting music school. Since its establishment in 1822, the conservatory has produced a lengthy roster of versatile and creative luminaries; Sir John Dankworth, Joe Jackson, Sir Elton John and Annie Lennox are RAM alumni.

The School of Jazz at The New School in New York City is known for nurturing young and gifted improvisers. Such is the case with The Blake Opper New School Jazz Quartet, which sports an unusual configuration: two saxophonists, a bassist, and a drummer. The musicians, all in their junior year at The New School, performed four original compositions by saxophonist Blake Opper.

William Paterson University has 24 jazz ensembles. Bill Charlap, the renowned pianist who serves as the school's Director of Jazz Studies, brought one of them to perform in our studio for Jazz Appreciation Month.

Montreal is home to the largest jazz festival in the world, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. So it’s no surprise that the city is also the home to one of the most prestigious music schools in Canada, The Schulich School of Music of McGill University. Pianist Jean-Michel Pilc is Associate Professor and Jazz Area Chair at McGill.

Celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month with WBGO !

Pianist and head of Jazz Studies at Purchase College’s Conservatory of Music, Peter Malinverni handpicked the university's Ahmad Jamal Tribute Septet for a performance in our studio. The ensemble features freshmen and grad students interpreting music recorded by pianist Ahmad Jamal.