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Rayhill's show down to once a week as WCNY-FM curtails jazz

"The station is increasing its classical programming," McElvein said. "We'll be classical 24 hours a day (on weekdays and Saturdays). WAER is Syracuse's jazz station."

WAER-FM 88.3, another NPR affiliate, broadcasts out of Syracuse University.

A longtime Rayhill booster, WCNY-FM station manager Don Dolloff, retired in October after 34 years. "Don Doloff, who I idolized, is a good guy who has the best radio voice I ever heard, and he was very supportive of my show," Rayhill said. "He came in and told me when we were doing well in the ratings, and he'd often join me on the air for membership breaks." Doloff will be Rayhill's guest next Wednesday Dec. 17.

Decribing the cutback as "a big shock," Rayhill said he has never received a paycheck at the station. He donates both his time and records from his personal collection.

Rayhill's playlists run the gamut from Dixieland to swing to bebop, and he often airs discs by local musicians. This past Friday Dec. 5, he aired a new recording by former Syracuse pianist Vinnie Falcone backing Steve Lawrence singing a tribute to Frank Sinatra.

"I always enjoy sharing the rare recordings I've got," Rayhill said. "For instance last week I played a recording by Miles Davis with John Coltrane performing 'Bags' Groove.' That's very rare."

"Sounds of Jazz" will continue from 6:05 to 7 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 31.

Rayhill, 80, started in radio during World War II as an undergrad at Hamilton College where he hosted "Just Jazz."

Later, while operating his family's home-contracting business, he debuted "Sounds of Jazz" on WQSR-AM in 1961, before moving to WPAW-AM and then WHEN-AM.

Over the years he has interviewed Louis Armstrong, Stan Kenton, Marian and Jimmy McPartland, Bobby Hackett, and "a very opinionated" Earl "Fatha" Hines.

Rayhill's microphone has always been open to local musicians as well. He interviewed the Syracuse-born clarinetist Peanuts Hucko and Cortland's pioneer jazz trombonist Spiegle Willcox. He airs recordings by local artists such as Maria DeAngelis, The Bear Cat Jass Band, Salt City Jazz Collective and has recently been spinning the debut disc from the CNY Jazz Orchestra, "Then Now & Again."

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