Jazz 93.5 FM premiers Sunday in the Colorado Springs listening area when the area’s only full-time jazz radio station hits the airwaves.
A Colorado Springs Jazz Party is scheduled at noon Sunday at The Antlers hotel as Mayor John Suthers helps “flip the switch” when 93.5 changes its programming from parent company KCME’s classical music to jazz. Local jazz musician David Siegel will also be at the event.
The Antlers event can be streamed online at jazz935.org and KCME.org.
KCME will continue to air classical music at 88.7 FM. Jazz 93.5 is a product of the Cheyenne Mountain Public Broadcasting House and will operate in partnership with KCME.
“We’re very excited,” said George Preston, who is general manager of KCME and Jazz 93.5. “This has been in the works for two and a half years. To the parent company, it means we have more of a market share, and we’re the only jazz station in the market.”
The company moved a broadcast tower that was located west of Woodland Park to the southwest part of Colorado Springs above Gold Camp Road to allow the new station to be heard throughout the Springs.
Preston said people that have vehicles with high-definition radios could also hear the jazz station at 88.72, which provides a wider listening area.
Preston said that KCME, an independent public radio station that has been on the air since 1979, is a not-for-profit entity.
“At KCME, we have three legs of revenue: listener donations, corporate sponsorships and grants,” Preston said. “It’s the same for Jazz 93.5. We’re really pleased that we already have a good number of ground-floor sponsors, and we’ve received a couple of key grants.”
Preston said it was cost effective to get the new jazz station up and running.
“We were able to do it affordably because we’re rolling it into our existing infrastructure,” he said. “That really helped keep startup costs low.”
The method of programming will also be cost effective.
“It’ll be locally hosted and programmed, but fully automated so that’s cheaper,” he said. “Rather than have someone introduce a song and then sit there for 15 minutes while it plays, and do that for an entire shift, they’ll program the introductions beforehand to save time and cost.”
Preston said Jazz 93.5 will play classic jazz cuts from acclaimed artists such as Louis Armstrong but also offer a local flavor of established jazz musicians, as well as introducing new talent from the Pikes Peak region.
“Until about nine and a half years ago, KCME ran a limited number of hours of jazz programming,” Preston said. “I arrived as GM about four years ago and the biggest question we get is, ‘When are you going to bring back jazz?’ I’m happy to say we’ve been able to do it in a big way, with a 24/7 jazz station.”