On Wednesday 4th March, Jazz FM celebrates its 25th Anniversary.
It all started ten years before launch, in 1980, with a letter to the (then) IBA from Jazz FM co-founder, jazz pianist Dave Lee: “Dear Sir, I hereby apply for a licence to open a jazz radio station in London." Dave had been inspired by listening to jazz radio stations in America while staying in Beverly Hills, making advertising jingles for television.
Twenty-five years on, Jazz FM is stronger than ever. Although the analogue 102.2 licence has since made way for a fully digital radio station (on DAB, DTV, online, smartphone and tablet), many of the stars of that first day are still on Jazz FM today—Helen Mayhew, Peter Young and Chris Philips.
All day on Wednesday, listeners can enjoy some very special moments from Jazz FM’s past as the station starts its 25th anniversary year-long celebrations. With live sessions and concert recordings every hour from the musicians and artists who have been part of Jazz FM along the way, to some of the original station imaging and a conversation between breakfast presenter Lynn Parsons and Diana Luke—the station’s first one.
Jazzfm.com will also host a special birthday area featuring exclusive audio and videos of programmes from the past, original presenter photos and press cuttings alongside a digitised programme of the concert that kicked it all off – Ella Fitzgerald with the Count Basie Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.
Content Director Nick Pitts said “It’s not often you get to celebrate such a momentous occasion. We’ve spent hours going through a mountain of (badly filed) archive tapes and have come up with some real gems including live sessions and concerts recorded in our first month on air! Jazz FM may have had its fair share of ups and downs but has always created amazing programmes with incredible music. Here’s to the next 25 years”.