A group of jazz fans, performers, educators and scholars has formed an organization to advocate for a continued significant presence for jazz on public radio in Pittsburgh.

The 22-member organization, known as Jazz Lives in Pittsburgh, is chaired by Evan Pattak, veteran Pittsburgh writer and communications consultant who served as publicist for the now-ended Jazz at Gullifty’s series. He said the proposed sale of the license of WDUQ to Essential Public Media, a transaction scheduled to close in June, was the impetus for the group’s formation.

“Jazz historically has played a vital role in Pittsburgh, and WDUQ’s generous schedule of locally hosted jazz is a major contributor to the region’s cultural and artistic diversity,” he said. “We want to meet with EPM to hear their ideas about the future of jazz programming and present them with ours.”

Pattak noted that WDUQ provides the region’s primary free platform for jazz, a vehicle that is at once irreplaceable and a competitive strength for the region.

“When people enjoy jazz on WDUQ, they also learn where local artists are performing,” he said. “That makes them more likely to attend jazz performances which, in turn, helps sustain the performers. Take away that free, universally accessible on-air portal and you might trigger a downward spiral that diminishes the entire local jazz scene. Our mission is to advocate for jazz on public radio and, through that, a robust jazz environment in Pittsburgh.”

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