Syracuse's WAER-FM named best jazz station

Awesome airwaves:

JazzWeek magazine, the jazz industry's top radio-reporting publication, has named Syracuse's National Public Radio station, WAER-FM, as Station of the Year for its market size.

WAER 88.3, known as Jazz 88, was recognized for preserving the jazz format through daily jazz programming, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and in the evenings and early-mornings from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Joe Lee, the station's general manager for the past 16 years, said he relishes his work here because public radio is a "mainstay as the last source for art and culture in radio."

Longtime Music Director Eric Cohen agrees.

"WAER's purpose as a commercial-free, listener-supported station is to entertain and inform," Cohen said. "Our objective it to competitively serve the greater Syracuse area as a licensed broadcast service of Syracuse University, by providing high-quality, dependable programming."

Entertain & inform

Listeners also tune in to several shows specifically dedicated to jazz. There's "The B-3 Bonanza" hosted by Cohen and featuring organ-based jazz on Friday afternoons, "Jazz Impressions" with Jim Tobey spinning classic jazz Wednesday nights, and Marion McPartland's "Piano Jazz," an NPR program airing Thursday afternoons. The station also broadcasts the "Sunday Morning Gospel Show" with Cora Thomas and other specialty shows showcasing blues and folk music.

The annual JazzWeek awards are determined by votes from the magazine's readers, contributors and participants in the magazine's programmers' mailing list.

JazzWeek publishes a weekly magazine, which includes articles, industry news, CD reviews and a Jazz Album Chart, Smooth Jazz Album Chart and Smooth Jazz Single Chart of the Top 50 most-played albums and singles.

"The JazzWeek Station of the Year award recognizes Music Director Eric Cohen's work, guiding WAER's format and music selections for the past 11 years, as well as a group of talented and dedicated announcers," said JazzWeek spokesman Paul Wright.

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