A Celtic Sojourn in Memory of Valerie Gunderson

From QuickNooz

Friends and fans of our late WGBH colleague Valerie Gunderson are invited to a special event: A CELTIC SOJOURN in memory of Valerie Gunderson Osiecki, Sat, 10/28 in WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio.

The evening is part of a fundraising effort for the scholarship fund established in Valerie’s name by her husband Ted Osiecki and managed by The Cape Cod Foundation.

Fittingly, the scholarship supports college-bound high school seniors from Cape Cod or the Islands who are pursuing degrees in the arts, as Valerie — both a violinist and a published poet — had a passion for the arts.

Brian O’Donovan’s show and Celtic music were always favorites for her and her husband.

A CELTIC SOJOURN will broadcast on 89.7 as usual (3-6pm), and dedicate the last hour to Valerie with special guest performances from Fraser. A light reception (6-7pm) will follow.

Valerie, who died far too young at 59, was our longtime Director of Budget Operations and a key member of the WGBH family for more than 25 years. Feel free to spread the word to former ’GBHers.

‘Nova’ has its tightest deadline ever with Aug. 21 eclipse

From the Boston Globe — August 14, 2017

For the people at the science television series “Nova,” Aug. 21 will be sort of like election night, at least when it comes to deadlines.

The program — produced by WGBH Boston — has decided to film that day’s total solar eclipse and air it hours later. It’ll be the series’ fastest turnaround to date.

“I used to do live television in earlier periods of my career,” said senior executive producer Paula S. Apsell, who’ll be running things that day. “This feels very much like it.”

Apsell said “Nova” will set up crews in Casper, Wyo.; Salem, Ore.; NASA’s Ellington Airfield in Houston; and Irwin, Idaho. Some PBS stations are planning to send their own footage of the eclipse for the special.

Participating experts will include Williams College professor Jay Pasachoff, who’s logged 65 eclipses.

“We’ll have five edit rooms,” Apsell said. “All of the material will come into each edit room.”

The eclipse should be visible (in some places better than others) at about 1:15 p.m. on the East Coast, and “Eclipse Over America” should be ready to air on WGBH at 9 p.m.

“Nova” has already prepared content about the history and science of solar eclipses to accompany the footage. Producers have a 52-minute show already done, which will help if weather isn’t in their favor.

Apsell promises “Nova” “will be getting the most pristine shots of the eclipse.” She also said everyone working on the project will get “Eclipse Over America” glasses for safety. “Nova” will give out some of those glasses at “An Eclipse for Everyone,” an event at the Boston Public Library on Tuesday night. (Seating is limited.)

Apsell probably won’t need a pair herself; she said she won’t get to see much of the eclipse as she runs the show from Boston.

From Yahoo News — January 15, 2017

PBS’ ‘Nova’ To Broadcast Fastest Turnaround Film To Date Hours After Solar Eclipse

PBS’s Nova will air its fastest turnaround film to date, Solar Eclipse on Monday August 21, 2017, hours after the United States experiences the first total solar eclipse since 1979.

The cosmic spectacle will pass through 13 states, and everyone in the continental U.S. will have the opportunity to see at least a partial eclipse, making it the most widely viewable eclipse of all time. Starting at 10:15 AM PDT (1:15 PM EDT), a lunar shadow 73 miles wide will take one hour and 33 minutes to travel from Oregon on the west coast to South Carolina on the east, allowing continuous observation for 90 minutes.

Solar Eclipse (working title) will be the ultimate companion to the celestial event. Nova will follow teams working on the forefront of solar science and solar storm detection, use CGI animation to reveal the sun’s secret mechanisms and integrate sequences of the eclipse itself — including scenes filmed at iconic locations along the path of the eclipse — user-generated content, NASA footage and more.

“Nova is thrilled to provide our audiences across the U.S. with an up close, in-depth look at this extraordinary scientific event,” said Senior Executive Producer Paula S. Apsell. “We are excited to share the experience with viewers — wherever they are — and the fascinating information it tells us about the inner workings of our sun.”

Barbara Gullahorn Holecek, 74, Nova Producer

The Smiling Revolutionary: Remembering Barbara Gullahorn Holecek

By John Angier

Barbara Gullahorn Holecek died in a Boston hospital on August 4th, aged 74.  She had been sick for some time, suffering from a genetic metabolic disease that had afflicted her for much of her life. Of her close family she is survived by her brother, Gordon Gullahorn, an astrophysicist now retired from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Barbara was a member of the small group that gathered in the latter half of 1973 in the less than inviting environment of 475 Western Avenue to start production of the new (as yet unnamed) Nova science series.  The carpet was unforgettable and so, it turns out, was what we were doing — it was the beginning of the process that put public television’s documentary programming on the national map.

Barbara had been in another corner of 475, working on the debate program, The Advocates, which she’d joined after getting a master’s in documentary film from UCLA.  Michael Ambrosino, creator of the science series, had set up three production teams.  I was one of the producers, and Michael  — only too aware that I needed all the help I could get — wisely put Barbara on my team.

Barbara was a terrific production team member: a tenacious researcher, and a relentless advocate of her views on the best and right ways to approach a subject.  She was usually correct, and we learned to get our facts impeccably straight before entering into any kind of argument.  By 1976 she was leading her own Nova production team, and there followed eight fruitful years turning out some memorable episodes, on subjects ranging from the changing lives of Canadian Inuit (Hunters of the Seal, 1976) to traditional healing in Nigeria (Doctors of Nigeria, 1981).

Barbara was an exponent of causes — always “saving the world from capitalism”, in her brother Gordon’s words. At UC Berkeley in the mid-1960s she was active in SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), and the anti-war movement.  She was arrested in a demonstration in San Francisco against General Maxwell Taylor.

Her revolutionary tendencies mellowed, or perhaps became more constructively channeled, as her professional life developed. In the more than twenty productions she made during her career she was always focused on the victim, the underprivileged, the poor, the less-fortunate — whether the suffering was on the part of humans (in Testimonies, 1993, about treating torture survivors); of animals (in the award-winning The Business of Extinction, 1977, about the global wildlife trade); or even of landscapes (in the prescient and stylish Goodbye Louisiana, 1982). Her imagination and her heart led her often to the other side of the coin, where she’d quite likely stir things up: who’d have thought to make a film about what the subjects of study think of the anthropologists who study them? (Papua New Guinea: Anthropology on Trial, 1983).

Barbara had a great smile, as you can see from the picture taken with Gordon and their mother, Genevieve.  It was a charming smile, and she knew how to use it. In Nigeria the forbidding Minister for External Affairs remarked how Barbara and her associate were always smiling. “Your souls are black,” he said as he handed them the permissions they needed. And that arrest at the San Francisco demonstration?  She was so charming the cops weren’t going to arrest her.  She had to persuade them (smilingly), otherwise she knew that Jerry Rubin (the social activist, her boyfriend at the time, who had already been arrested) would be jealous of whom else she might see while he was in jail.

Barbara left WGBH around 1984, after a subject she was becoming concerned with was deemed not to be a fit with Nova — “not science”.  It was a subject that was to occupy her for the next several years: how medicine can approach the treatment and rehabilitation of torture victims.  One couldn’t imagine a topic more in line with Barbara’s sensibilities. Not surprisingly, it was a hard film to make, financially and emotionally, but she persisted and in 1993 after almost ten years Testimonies was completed and distributed by, ironically, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Barbara made about a dozen films on a wide range of subjects after she left WGBH, usually as producer-director, sometimes as writer or co-producer.  Life as an independent producer is never easy, and in her case it was made harder by the increasing toll of her disease. Nevertheless she was involved in some notable productions: Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt  from the Filmmakers’ Collaborative, co-produced with Michal Goldman, a feature documentary about the famous singer; Sidet: Forced Exile, for the UK’s Channel 4, executive produced with producer-director Salem Mekuria, a portrait of 3 refugee women in Sudan.

During this period she was able to pursue her love of Africa over several years at Harvard: as a visiting scholar in Afro-American studies, and as a Fellow at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College. She took advantage of this time to produce Voices from Africa: First Person Accounts, an oral history and video/audio archive.

She was always a revolutionary, and she kept smiling to the end.

There will be a memorial service held in the Boston area, details to be announced.

Two Susheel Bibbs’ Documentaries Available to Stations This Fall

WGBH Alum and singer-filmmaker Susheel (aka Cheryl Susheel) Bibbs has a busy fall ahead.

Her award-winning 2008 documentary feature on Mary Ellen Pleasant — MEET MARY PLEASANT — is being re-issued by PBS nationally in HD and will be available to all PBS stations for scheduling following a September 29 uplink.

On that same day, her new film – VOICES FOR FREEDOM: The Hyers Sisters’ Legacy on California’s Hyers Sisters — which was 7 years in the making, is also being uplinked and available September 29 for future scheduling.

In addition, PBS Arts Showcase is profiling Bibbs’ career this fall and Marquis Who’s Who Among American Women has just announced Bibbs as one of their 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients. To top it off, the two films and a new recital by Bibbs will debut in Sacramento this November.

Although Mary Ellen Pleasant is now remembered widely as the “Mother of Civil Rights in California,” the Hyers sisters are all but forgotten. Yet, says Bibbs, the Hyers “brought the U.S. its first musical and successful female touring-opera artists.”

In the perilous 1870’s and 80’s, when protective troops were withdrawn from the South after the Civil War and African Americans were ravaged by lynching and ridiculed across the land by black-face minstrels, the Hyers left their dream of opera stardom and stood up to become Voices for Freedom.

They stood alone for 20 years, touring never-before-seen positive images of black people on the mainstream stage in stories with music that became America’s first musicals — changing minds and hearts  — something, laments Bibbs, “so needed today.” These works were the first to use black leading characters, the first to use integrated casting, and the first to use the spiritual and opera as musical resources. Says Bibbs, “They deserve recognition.”

KVIE, PBS, Sacramento, which reaches a broad range from the Sierra to San Jose (Ch 6 in most areas) will become the first PBS station to broadcast Bibbs’ Hyers documentary, and rest of the nation and Canada will follow. KVIE broadcasts will be on November 15 at 7 p.m., November 17 at 4 p.m., and November 19 at 6:30 p.m. on their popular Viewfinder showcase.

The Sacramento International Film Festival is scheduling the Hyers film on their Cinêsoul series the preceding week. Viewers can consult local californiafilmfoundation.org and PBS listings to see Bibbs films, especially during January and February. They may also request broadcast of the programs on their local PBS stations.

More on Bibbs’ profile, films, and new recitals this year will be listed on her personal site susheelbibbs.com and at thehyerssisters.com. Her books and booklets on Pleasant and the Hyers can be found on amazon.com.

Torrey Reade, 66

From Karen Johnson

A service to remember and celebrate the life of Torrey Reade will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 11 AM. The Quaker memorial service will be at the Lower Alloways Creek Friends Meetinghouse in Hancocks Bridge, Salem County, New Jersey.

Torrey  was born on April 6, 1951. After relatively brief stints at selling the Real Paper in Harvard Square, working at WGBH, and operating her own investment company in New York, she lived and farmed in Salem county, NJ for almost thirty years. On Sunday evening July 16, 2017 she died at the farm after a year-long struggle with lung cancer.

Torrey worked at WGBH from 1973 to 1978, in the first year or so writing scripts with Tim Mayer for an early attempt to bring Masterpiece Theatre-like drama to American television. When that project ended, she went to work for Broadcast Manager (VP) Mark Stevens, as his right arm. Together they acquired programs from PBS, EEN and other public TV entities from around the country, and created the local schedules for channels 2 and 44. In those pre-computer days color-coded daily schedules were hand-written by Torrey with colored ink in meticulous detail on long sheets of paper hung on the wall. With day-of-air recordings, they were the only record of what aired on the stations.

Among other duties, Torrey would dictate on the phone various flags handed down by PBS regarding “adult situations and language;” this required repeating out loud strings of bad words and explicit situation descriptions that, out of context of their programs, often attracted an appreciative group of nearby PR and other broadcast department staff crowding into her little office on the third floor at 125 Western Ave.

In 1978 Torrey left for business school  across the parking lot at Harvard. She went on to brief stints in banking and on Wall Street, after which, with a partner from the Street, she formed an investment company, Neptune Partners. Her gardening passion resulted in a roof-top paradise above her loft in Tribecca. In the early ’80’s while looking for a weekend place in the country so she could escape the city and have a bigger garden, she came across a large, neglected, 18th century farm in south Jersey, which quickly became her home and the organic farm she and husband Dick McDermott developed and ran for the better part of 30 years.

In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to any effort you feel is appropriate or donate to one of the following groups:

The Salem Friends Quarterly Meeting is working to preserve and restore the Lower Alloways Creek Friends Meetinghouse, where the service will held on Saturday. It is a historic building that Torrey held the keys to for many years, and to which she was very attached. The Meetinghouse, built in 1756, is in original condition, but in need of some tender loving care. A typical mid-18th century Quaker meetinghouse, it retains its old benches and interior panels made of seasoned Jersey pine. The exterior brick was made from local clay. The bricks on the original east side are laid in Flemish Bond. The Meeting was laid down in 1938. Contributions for the restoration of the building can be sent to  Salem Quarterly Meeting (marked “Torrey Reade”),PO Box 55, Woodstown, NJ 08098.

Or consider the Many Hands Sustainability Center, an organization Torrey supported. The mission of Many Hands Sustainability Center, Inc., a 501 (c)(3), is to promote methods of sustainable living, including organic agriculture, renewable energy, food preservation, homesteading skills, nutrition and its centrality to human health. The Center works to serve the needs of all populations, including such under-served groups as former prisoners, youth, and family farmers.

From Penny Watson

Torrey Reade died on Sunday, July 16th, 2017, after a year-long struggle with cancer. She was 66.

Born and raised in Wayland, MA, Torrey attended public schools and graduated from Carleton College in 1972. For seven years, she worked in the broadcast division of WGBH, Boston’s public television station, helping to introduce such innovative programming as an LGBT pledge night. After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1981, she worked for several large financial institutions and moved to Reade Street in Manhattan. In 1985, she launched the first of several investment funds with business partner Frank Garcia, specializing in distressed companies.

A voracious reader who could recall the plots and passages of novels she’d read twenty years previously, Torrey felt unfulfilled by Wall Street life. She began growing flowers and vegetables on the fire escape of her Tribeca co-op, then built a massive roof garden. In 1989, she bought an historic brick farmhouse in Salem, N.J., and spent many years restoring not only the house, but also the 125 acres of fields that surrounded it. The result was Neptune Farm, an organic farm that raised asparagus, blueberries, beef, and lamb. The New York Times profiled Torrey in a 2008 article, “Deserting the Gray Canyons of Wall Street For the Green Pastures of the Farm.”  At her 20th Carleton reunion Torrey reconnected with Dick McDermott, her college boyfriend and artist, who joined her on the farm.

Torrey was grateful to all the neighbors and organizations who had helped her learn to farm, and felt obliged to return the favor. For the rest of her life, she gave back to the community with her financial, intellectual, and organizational skills. She wrote grants, sat on boards, and advocated for historic preservation, farmers’ markets, and solar power. She presented at farming conferences, mentored younger farmers, and was a member of the board of the New Jersey Farm Service Agency, the New Jersey Agriculture Development Committee, Northeast Organic Farming Association, and the Salem County Historical Society.

She is survived by her husband, Dick McDermott; her mother, Suzanne Pearson; siblings Claire, Julia, and Nat Reade; nieces Emma Steinberg and Sophie Duncan; nephews Evan Steinberg, Wilder Duncan, Henry Reade, and Charley Reade; aunt Barbara Levings; as well as in-laws and cousins.

Torrey did not want a funeral.  In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to: Many Hands Sustainability Center, http://manyhandssustainabilitycenter.org/ ; the National Partnership for Women and Families http://www.nationalpartnership.org ;  or Salem Quarterly Meeting (marked “Torrey Reade”), PO Box 55, Woodstown, NJ 08098.

Harriet Reisen’s “On the Cover of Time” to be performed July 25 in Gloucester

A new work in progress by long-time WGBH producer/writer Harriet Reisen will be performed on Tuesday July 25, 2017, at Gloucester Stage at 7:30 p.m.

On the Cover of Time: A Memoir with Songs is the story of a woman and a generation, the baby boomers, through the seventy years since World War II.

Elliott Norton Award-winning actress Anne Gottlieb and singer Jeanie Stahl perform the piece. Harriet Reisen wrote the book and lyrics and Jeanie Stahl composed the music. Doug Lockwood directs.

Rosie wants to be a “somebody,” like her mother’s sister Rita, not a “nobody” like her housewife Mom. Aunt Rita is a glamorous executive at Doyle, Dane, Bernbach, the top “shop” during the Creative Revolution in advertising. The mystery of Rita’s early death at forty-six, when Rosie is seventeen, becomes an obsession. Only when she solves that mystery can she finally come into her own.

Harriet Reisen has worked extensively in public/commercial/cable television, radio, audio-visual presentations print, and audio; directed, produced, and developed new programs; and written documentary, comedy, drama, non-fiction, magazine journalism, radio commentary, radio documentary, film criticism, children’s books, and songs.

Harriet taught screenwriting at the Boston Film and Video Foundation and at Harvard Summer School, and was a Fellow in Screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles.

She wrote narration and scripts for HBO’s “Fire at the Cocoanut Grove” and “The Wall Street Crash,” as well as WGBH’s “New England Begins,” and co-produced “Blacklisted,” a three-hour radio drama.

Harriet is founder and President Emeritus of New England Women in Film and Video, and has also published several articles about Mexico.

Sheila and Marilyn Brass launch new series

Cookbook authors and “culinarians” Sheila and Marilyn Brass have been part of WGBH for more than 20 years. Sheila worked for Peter McGhee and Margaret Drain in National Programming and Marilynn worked as a consultant and for the How-Tos.

Now they are hosting a new PBS series. In “The Food Flirts,” premiering July 28, they are on a mission to bag their culinary bucket list.

From the Boston Globe – July 25, 2017

To know the Brass sisters is to want to cook up a show for them — they’re that fun

Deep in the heart of Chinatown, two women of a certain age hover before a noodle-making machine, preparing ramen. The noodle-maker has a name: Gertrude.

“Push, Gertrude, push!” yells one of the women.

“This is like childbirth!” says another.

This is also great television. The women are Marilynn and Sheila Brass, known as the Brass Sisters. Marilynn is 75. Sheila is 80. Together, they star in the upcoming PBS show “Food Flirts,” an eight-episode series debuting on July 28…

In each episode, they visit two restaurant kitchens to sample two ingredients they’ve never had before. Then they retreat to their shared Cambridge abode to create a dish that features both…

Lest you think these are two twittering grannies endearing themselves to patient chefs, think again. They have lived as neighbors or roommates for four decades — no children, never married, though both have “come close,” Marilynn says — opting instead to cook and bake.

“We have 130 years of combined experience,” they like to say.

And they know their stuff.

After careers at WGBH and in the antiques business, they wrote several cookbooks, including “Baking With the Brass Sisters,” “Heirloom Cooking With the Brass Sisters,” and “Heirloom Baking With the Brass Sisters,” in which they reworked handwritten and antique manuscript cookbook recipes for modern readers…

This isn’t a slicked-up Food Network affair. Instead, everyone pitched in, including former TV executive Seidel, who helped to clean the ladies’ bathroom and take out trash. Various rooms in the small Cambridge house functioned as dressing rooms and staging areas.

“The thing I loved is that everybody did everything. We shot four episodes in two weeks without a lot of money. I did Sheila’s makeup and mine because I’ve taken a tutorial with a good makeup person,” says Marilynn.

No divas here. What does it take to live together, film together, and cook together for all these years?

“We work like dogs, but we love it. And we apologize to each other. We say ‘Thank you,’ or, ‘I didn’t mean to be rude.’ We never go to bed angry,” Marilynn says.

“And we didn’t gain an ounce during filming,” adds Sheila.

From a Press Release

The Food Flirts saunter onto the primetime scene

Cookbook authors and culinarians Marilynn and Sheila Brass — the Brass Sisters, a.k.a. “The Food Flirts” (Instagram: @thefoodflirts) — are two passionate food explorers of a certain age, on a mission to tackle their culinary bucket list one bite at a time.  In each episode of this new, six-episode series on PBS, the Boston-based food ladies “flirt” their way into chefs’ kitchens to uncover ethnically unique and delicious delights, then head home to experiment for themselves — creating cross-cultural culinary mash-ups that viewers can try at home.  The first two episodes of THE FOOD FLIRTS premiere Friday, July 28, 2017, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings), after episode eight of the food show phenomenon THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW.

Produced by former Food Network and Cooking Channel executive Bruce Seidel (Instagram: @bruceseidel) of Hot Lemon Productions, the series follows the ladies through culinary mash-up adventures, like a “modern” burger that mixes an Indian dosa with a cheeseburger, or a pastrami ramen noodle kugel recipe. The sisters’ fanciful recipes and unscripted realness brings together unique tastes and unique personalities.  Future episodes find the Flirts working culinary magic with baklava crust milk tart, curried golden raisin and cashew rugelach, and “Bunny Chow” pastitsio bread bowls with turmeric béchamel.

“The Brass Sisters have always been two favorite food people in Boston, and I’m thrilled to bring them to a wider audience with THE FOOD FLIRTS series in partnership with PBS,” said Seidel. “Think Two Fat Ladies meets Julia Child – these women have food chops, an alluring sense of humor, and are always ready to share culinary wisdom learned along the way!”

The longtime Cambridge. Mass., residents have 130 years of combined baking and cooking experience. Recently named “Food Heroes” by the Mayor of Cambridge for their various food contributions, they are the authors of Baking With The Brass Sisters (St. Martin’s Press 2015), Heirloom Cooking With The Brass Sisters (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2008), and Heirloom Baking With The Brass Sisters (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2006), which was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation award in the Dessert and Baking category. Their books are consistently best-sellers; Food & Wine magazine has called the sisters “dessert geniuses,” and selected their books for its annual The Best of the Best 25 Cookbooks.

The Brass Sisters have appeared on numerous television programs during their careers and conducted cooking demonstrations at many events.  Nationally, the duo headlined a one-hour special on Cooking Channel, “The Brass Sisters Celebrate the Holidays,” hosted the public television show “The Brass Sisters: Queens of Comfort Food” and appeared on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” on Food Network (beating Iron Chef Flay with their pineapple upside-down cake).  Marilynn and Sheila have appeared on local television and radio programs in 22 cities in 15 states, as well as in Canada, and have appeared three times at The James Beard House as part of the Beard on Books series.

The Brass Sisters have curated one of the country’s most comprehensive collections of culinary antiques, including: a copper batterie de cuisine from the early 19th century; chocolate, ice cream, candy, aspic and other food molds; menus; and food advertising signs and artifacts. Their collection includes 6,500 cookbooks, some dating from the 1600s, and 1,800 books on antiques.

For more information on The Food Flirts, please visit HotLemonProds.com/FoodFlirts.

 

In well-mannered public radio, an airwaves war

From the Boston Globe – June 3, 2017

Over the past five years, WGBH’s audience has grown more than any other major NPR news station in the country, says Ken Mills, a Minneapolis broadcast consultant who writes about noncommercial radio. Its weekly listeners have nearly doubled since the spring of 2012, rising from 235,200 to 445,200, according to Nielsen data aggregated by Mills. By that measure, WGBH now ranks 10th in the country among NPR news stations…

Perhaps the most remarkable part of WGBH’s ascent is that it largely spared its chief rival, steadily building a base without damaging WBUR, or even swiping their monogrammed umbrellas…

Their simultaneous success says something telling about Boston, which may well be more devoted to the decorous purr of public radio than any other American metropolis.

If the audience shares of the two stations were combined, it would create the No. 1 radio station in Greater Boston, according to Nielsen audience estimates. Taken together, WGBH and WBUR command a bigger local market share than San Francisco’s KQED, the public radio station with the most weekly listeners in the country, according to Mills and Nielsen.

In the realm of public radio, the Boston situation — close quarters combat between well-off rivals — is extremely rare.

Steve Schwartz, 74, Radio Jazz Host

Excerpts from the Boston Globe – April 24, 2017

Steve Schwartz began his last radio show like he had so many others, cuing up pianist Horace Parlan’s “Wadin” — the song’s bass line striding purposefully out of the speakers, backed by the subtle swish of brushes on cymbals. “Good evening and welcome to jazz on WGBH,” he said as the song’s last notes faded.

For jazz fans throughout Greater Boston and beyond, there was a hint of sadness in every tune he played during “Jazz from Studio Four” on July 6, 2012, as he edged closer to signing off a couple of minutes past midnight.

“As you may or may not have heard, this is my last program for WGBH radio — starting here back in 1985 and working my way towards bringing you jazz on a Friday night. And this will wind it up,” Mr. Schwartz said, before turning to the business at hand: more than three hours of carefully chosen music.

“The gentleness of his voice made his show easy to listen to, but he wasn’t just a great voice. He was knowledgeable about the music, too,” said Eric Jackson, a longtime colleague and host of WGBH-FM’s “Eric in the Evening” jazz show. “He knew the music. There are some announcers I’ve heard who I thought were abrasive, arrogant. Steve was this warm presence who invited you in when he was on the air with the sound of his voice and the music he played.”

Mr. Schwartz, whose tastes in jazz were first shaped by an interlude he spent in California as a teenager, died in Seasons Hospice in Milton March 25 of multiple myeloma. He was 74 and had lived in Jamaica Plain.

“My father wanted to make a change, so when I was 15 we moved to Los Angeles,” Mr. Schwartz said in an interview published on The Arts Fuse website. “It was there that I first heard jazz on the radio, and I was hooked.”

During those years, Mr. Schwartz “heard different musicians, Charlie Mingus, Chet Baker — people who really moved him,” said his wife, Constance Bigony.

Indeed, when Mr. Schwartz began hosting jazz radio programs after returning to Boston, “he advertised his show, especially in the earlier years, as ‘acoustic jazz,’ which says a lot about his musical tastes,” Jackson said.

“In later years, he would surprise me when I’d hear something with a little electric piano in it,” Jackson added with a laugh. “I’d think, ‘Wow, he’s playing that.’ ”

In 2012, WGBH eliminated Mr. Schwartz’s Friday show. Jackson, who had been on weeknights, is now on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

After the public radio station announced the changes to make room for more news and information programming, jazz fans were so upset that they protested and held a jazz funeral.

“It wasn’t a total surprise, but it is a loss,” Mr. Schwartz told the Globe a couple of weeks before his final show. Boston’s jazz community, he added, “is losing an important venue for musicians to promote their events.”

In a February 2014 video interview that is posted on YouTube, Mr. Schwartz said that “to me the best part of doing radio was being able to promote the local jazz scene: Who’s coming into Scullers? Who’s coming into the Regattabar? Who’s got a new CD out? Local talent, playing here and there. Online, you know, it’s — I hate to say the word — just jazz.”

Of all the perks of hosting a radio show for nearly three decades, he added, “I just want to say that promoting the local jazz scene one night a week was most, most gratifying.”…

WGBH hired Mr. Schwartz to run the equipment for a taped overnight blues show. Then he suggested launching a jazz show to fill the time between the end of the blues program and the beginning of Robert J. Lurtsema’s “Morning pro musica.” Mr. Schwartz eventually was hired as program manager, and also was the engineer for live jazz broadcasts at WGBH…

For Mr. Schwartz’s many fans, his last show was a eulogy of sorts — played out in favorite jazz tunes — though no one could have guessed he would be diagnosed with multiple myeloma only a few months later. He ended with a set of songs sung by Karrin Allyson. Ever the professional, he signed off as if it were any show, not his last.

“Thank you for your phone calls earlier tonight. They do mean a lot to me and it’s great to hear from you,” Mr. Schwartz said. “Have a good weekend. Thank you for listening.”

By Tom Reney – From Jazz News You Can Use

Friday night, as I was noting Day 30 of a cold virus, my friend Steve Schwartz was admitted to Seasons Hospice in Milton, Mass.

Yesterday morning, while driving east for lunch with my niece in Beverly and afternoon drop-ins at bluesman Peter Ward‘s 60th birthday gig in Cambridge and a visit with Jack Woker at Stereo Jack’s, I checked my messages during a routine stop at Natick Plaza on the Pike. There were several, but only one that mattered, the one with word that Steve died around four o’clock Saturday morning, one month shy of his 75th birthday, and several years into combating cancer and other grave health matters.

I last spoke with Steve two weeks ago. He was fairly upbeat with the latest on his wife Constance Bigony’s art work, reports on his three kids, Eric, Peter, and Jamie, and his grandchildren, and curious to hear more about our grandsons Bisbee and Atlas. It ended, as most calls did with Steve in recent years, with the hope that we’d be off gallivanting sometime soon.

Alas, today I know that Steve’s been released from a great deal of pain, and those of us who knew him have lost a good, kind, warm-hearted man.

I knew Steve for about 25 years. Before we met at a Joe Lovano concert that he emceed at the DeCordova Museum around 1990, I would hear him on WGBH where he hosted Jazz from Studio Four. I spent many Sunday nights returning from the Cape with Steve guiding the way, always with his mellow, down-home theme song, Horace Parlan’s “Wadin’,” kicking things off at 7 p.m., and often with the word that he’d returned from the Cape a few hours earlier.

Perhaps more than any other experience I’ve had as a listener to radio, it’s the memory of Steve’s references to Fisher Beach in Truro and the details of a meal he’d had in P-Town that give me a sense of why I needn’t be surprised when listeners tell me about some seemingly trivial bit of personal material that I’ve shared while hosting Jazz a la Mode. “Oh yeah, but how about the night when I played those rare 1941 airchecks by Lester Young?” Alas, it’s usually a personal anecdote that resonates most.

Steve and I shared a love of jazz, movies, fresh seafood, and bike rides. He’d owned a bike shop in Mattapan before his radio career began. He was a great fan of Preston Sturges films, especially Sullivan’s Travels, which he relished sharing with friends.

He grew up in Dorchester and spent a few years in Los Angeles during his mid- to late-teens. That’s where his love of jazz took root, and he was fond of recalling the day when Gerry Mulligan walked by as he was listening to a new Mulligan LP in the listening booth of a Santa Monica record store.

During his Boston youth, he sang in a street corner doo-wop group, and maintained friendships with his harmonizing homies Jeffrey and Hal. Like a true Bostonian, he didn’t know my hometown of Worcester at all before we met, but he was eager for a tour, and we finally got that done a few years ago. I got to show him the Valley too, and in recent years, we would meet halfway in Sturbridge for lunch.

Steve was the best kind of friend, one who was eager to hang on the next unscheduled day on the calendar. His opening line was often, “Two Jews sitting on a bench;” his favorite tag was, “News at 11;” and in notes, he borrowed from Thelonious Monk for his closing salutation, “Always know.”

While courting Meg fifteen years ago, I had occasion to spend dozens of weekends with her near Boston, and during that time Steve and I got together frequently to hear jazz and to ride bikes. In addition to negotiating the city’s busy streets, we took trails to Lexington and Concord; rode the East Bay trail south of East Providence; the Emerald Necklace of Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, and Brookline.

We ate all over too: Belle Isle in East Boston, Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet, Red Wing in Walpole, Summer Shack in Cambridge, Twin Seafood in West Concord, always in pursuit of great seafood at establishments hospitable to bike shorts. Steve had a bead on every pop-up lunch spot in Boston, and while attending jazz conferences and festivals, we maxed-out per diems in New York, New Orleans, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Toronto, and Montreal.

Steve was a gourmand of informal dining spots here, there, and everywhere. When word came down that Uglisich’s, a no-frills purveyor of alligator stew and oysters by the dozen was closing, Steve and his beloved Connie flew down to New Orleans for one last hurrah.

Steve’s was one of the great voices of Boston jazz radio. In that capacity, he also engineered and produced scores of concert broadcasts for WGBH and for Jazz Set, Jazz Alive, and other series on NPR. He engineered the Jazz Decades with Ray Smith, which for years preceded Jazz From Studio Four. He produced state-of-the-art profiles on such New England-based jazz greats as George Russell, Jackie McLean, Gunther Schuller, Archie Shepp, Steve Lacy, and Yusef Lateef. And he conducted several highly memorable panels at IAJE, including interviews with Dan Morgenstern and Nat Hentoff. Steve knew and was known by everyone in the business.

I’ll miss Steve more than I can say at this sad hour for I’m grateful to have enjoyed such an agreeable friendship with this truest of true friends. Rest in Peace, my man.

From Josie Patterson

For the 5 years or so that I was the business and marketing head of ‘GBH radio, Steve was a major presence at the station beyond his show, Now’s the Time. He, Eric Jackson, Ron Gill, Mai Cramer, Holly Harris, and Ron Della Chiesa pushed for jazz and the blues to be recognized as the amazing and genuinely American art forms that they are.

Steve and Margot Stage recorded Jazz Portraits, which Margot said were amongst some of the best of her work. Steve produced an Ellington concert at Berklee featuring Danilo Perez on piano; today Danilo heads the jazz department at the school. He guided the recording of the New Orleans annual Jazz Festival and other important jazz concerts. All of this was under the guidance of Marita Rivero, now the director of Boston’s African American Meeting House, and, I believe, the only female person of color to reach the Vice President level at WGBH.

I liked working at WGBH, on both the documentary and the radio side, and always felt it was a 12 year graduate program. The local public radio station was the part of the foundation where for awhile people could and did experiment with different art forms based on their own cultural traditions. Radio productions are less expensive to produce than film, and radio is an intimate medium that distinguishes it to this day from other kinds of media. I can only hope that ‘GBH Radio will once again embrace music from many cultures. People love music!

WGBH reaps huge windfall in sale of broadcast spectrum

From the Boston Globe

WGBH, the public media organization, will receive $218.7 million in exchange for moving the over-the-air signals of its WGBH and WGBY stations from frequencies on the UHF band to the VHF band. The two stations broadcast from Boston and Springfield respectively…

For public broadcasters, the payday comes as President Trump has threatened to massively cut federal funding to their industry. The $218.7 million that the WGBH Educational Foundation will get equals about one year of the nonprofit company’s current operating budget.

“We felt the spectrum auction was a unique opportunity, knowing we could continue to provide all of our public media services to viewers, and simultaneously support and strengthen this valued organization,” Richard Burnes, chair of WGBH’s board of trustees, said.

WGBH officials said they intend to put the money into its endowment with the aim of funding a larger portion of its annual expenses from investment proceeds. That will help the broadcaster “expand its educational services to children and students, further its in-depth journalism, and strengthen its modest endowment,” WGBH said in a statement.

A third station owned by the foundation, WGBX 44 in Boston, wasn’t sold in the auction, but will probably need to change its signal anyway, as the FCC wants to relocate remaining UHF channels into lower frequencies to free up even more spectrum.

WGBH and other broadcasters that are changing frequencies can draw from a federal fund to pay for new equipment and labor needed to make the switch.