I don’t know much about Jazz but I’m fan of local media content. And the trials and travails of the program formerly known as “The 12 O’Clock Jump” provide a variety of lessons for any local media producer.
I just started listening to the show and I like that it’s a much cooler and a tad more “hip” than A Prairie Home Companion but then again, so is my 85 year-old Grandma.
If I’m hearing things correctly, this local jazz show is an effort to encapsulate Kansas City’s unique Jazz sound and culture into a late night audio cabaret of sorts. Again, I just started listening but the concept seems solid to me. The only problem seems to be that Kansas City doesn’t seem readily willing to cooperate with the show’s mission.
First off, the name change and venue “jump” might impact the show’s branding. It’s no longer the 12 O’Clock jump but now the 12th Street Jump — Which is actually a clever play on words to tout the new location. It’s also a setback to the momentum the show was gathering. Additionally, while the downtown Marriott on 12th Street is a fine location for the radio show and can claim a bit of Jazz history. It’s hardly a current hot spot on the local jazz scene. This is understandable. Places like the Phoenix, Jardine’s or even the Mutual Musicians Foundation are basically working for the weekend and hosting a radio program in the midst of their “payday” would not be practical.
Additionally, I’ve always wondered about the upward expansion of the show. It has a potential to be a nationally syndicated endeavor but at some point it would have to expand it’s coverage out of this cowtown. For all content providers this is a common problem: Kansas City is a great starting point but, on its own, it’s not enough to hold the attention of a nationwide audience. In fact, the last time this town really garnered national attention was when it was in the midst of nuclear annihilation during the The Day After 80’s mini-series.
Nevertheless, I think most people in this town who are listening appreciate what producer Mark Edelman is trying to accomplish. What can we learn from all this jazz jumping around? Don’t even count on Kansas City for help. There is a local jazz community along with all of the other diverse “communities” around this town but getting anybody to cooperate and support anything other than self-interest is nearly impossible . . . Which is both a blessing and a curse for local content providers.