BBC Radio 3 Publicity confirmed to me today the rumours which have been circulating:
the BBC has indeed withdrawn from running its Jazz Awards this year.
Jazz is supported, valued, well promoted and well done, and in each case diffrently, by both Radio 2 and Radio 3. Our hardy plant finds the ground on which to grow wherever it can…
But in the final analysis, neither 2 nor 3 is a “jazz station.” This output is on the margins of what each station does.
If I were looking for one single factor – other than general pressure on budgets – which might have shifted the balance towards cancelling, I would point to the passing away last year of Humphrey Lyttelton. Humph’s programmes regualarly had the highest radio audiences in the BBC’s jazz output.
When I ran JazzDev, I had an informal audience with Prince Philip, and a lively trumpeter from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, whose badge said he was called Richard Fairweather. HRH told us that one reason that he, and indeed other members of his family liked jazz was because they adored Humph.
How do you replace a cornerstone like that?