Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to NPR member stations.
For reasons I can't explain but for which I am extremely grateful, I have been granted the joy to work on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, in various capacities, since the early 1980s.
As the show itself evolved, my roles changed from recording and mastering engineer to producer. These roles ultimately led to becoming friend and confidante of the late, great Marian McPartland. As many have noted, Piano Jazz was NPR's longest-lived cultural program and among the most widely listened to programs of its kind in the world.
Before she passed away at age 95, I promised Marian I would do all I could to keep the legacy of Piano Jazz alive. To honor this commitment, we have continued distributing the program through NPR, and many of you have continued to offer it to your audiences. We have accumulated an archive of more than 700 programs, restored and digitized through federal and matching grants of the Friends of Piano Jazz. More importantly, audiences worldwide continue to cherish Marian and her amazing guests in conversation and jazz performance, with all its glorious variations.
Earlier this year, South Carolina Public Radio joined with our perennial partners, the ETV Endowment of South Carolina and NPR, to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Marian McPartland. This was a fitting culmination of her legendary life and her equally legendary radio program. It made me so proud; I know Marian would be as well.
Yet all things must change, and so it is with me as I prepare to retire from SC Public Radio after 42 wonderful years. Piano Jazz itself will also retire at the end of September 2018. Please know work continues to maintain the archive and to promote its use for education and as a resource for public radio. But for now, we turn a corner and see where the road ahead will take us.
Thank you all so very much for your loyal carriage and support of the program! As Marian herself would say, "It has been a real kick!"
With best wishes,
Producer, Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz
(provided by NPR)