As told to Bill DeYoung for a St. Pete Catalyst story
“When I was there, the share – which is the percentage of audience that’s listening – was always Top Ten in that time frame,” Cornette said. “So I don’t understand what their logic is for getting rid of it, but I have a feeling they’ve been thinking about it for a while.”
Upon his departure, he added, “They wanted to put the thing on autopilot, without a Jazz Director. It’s not a part-time job. They assigned it to another staffer, from a different department, to handle a lot of the day-to-day stuff. But he had a full-time job; he didn’t have enough time to do that correctly. There was a lot of work involved.”
Cornette, like his predecessor Bob Seymour (35 years at WUSF), was a well-known figure on the Tampa Bay music scene. WUSF Jazz was heavily involved in local concerts and other community events, along with artist promotions and in-studio performances.
“Over the decades it’s been on the air, there’s been a community built,” he said. “You can see it in the number of jazz concerts that are happening throughout the year. We have jazz concerts all summer long at the Palladium.
“Part and parcel, I think that’s because of the role WUSF Jazz played in the jazz community – where all the young players out there listened and got their inspiration. What we were trying to do is get the gospel of jazz out there to the masses.
“And I think we were doing a pretty good job.”
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