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

The CNYJO 's drummer is Larry Luttinger, who doubles as executive director of the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation.

"It's dismaying to hear about jazz programming being cut back in our area," Luttinger said. "The art form deserves more attention and support not less, plain and simple. Leo has built a brand for half a century and has loyal followers. WCNY's decision to downsize Leo's schedule couldn't have been economically motivated either, since he's a volunteer."

While Rayhill works for free, he also brings money into the FM station during its twice-yearly on-air membership drives. "Sounds of Jazz" raised more than $14,000 for WCNY this year alone, he said.

JASS board member Pat Carroll said Rayhill's fund-raising totals have increased in recent years.

"His most recent effort was aided by several contributions from Ontario, Canada, by fans who hear his program via WCNY's Watertown outlet," Carroll said. WCNY-FM airs over 91.3 in Syracuse, WJNY-FM, 90.9 in Watertown, WUNY-FM, 89.5 in Utica and online at wcny.org.

Carr's show, "Big Bands, Ballads & Blues," focuses on big-band swing and vocal standards from the Great American Songbook. Carr, 74, has spent 40 year in radio, including managerial stints at large-market stations such as WNEW-FM in Manhattan.

Unlike Rayhill, Carr worked under contract at WCNY, and though negotiations failed to forge a new contract, he's leaving the station with no regrets.

"I enjoyed my time on WCNY," Carr said. "I had a long run with this thing, but everything comes to an end, even nice things."

Though he's disappointed by his loss of airtime, Rayhill echoes Carr's sentiments.

"I love the people there at WCNY, and the listeners put their money where their mouth is," Rayhill said. Station executives have made no overt promises about the security of Rayhill's new Sunday time slot.

"I just hope I stay on a while longer," he said.

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