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Chuck Cecil and 'Swingin' Years' to leave KJazz

January 27, 2014|By Charles Fleming

Venerable jazz DJ Chuck Cecil and his long-running show "Swingin' Years" are leaving their Southern California radio home.

As of Feb. 9, Cecil's famed big band music show will no longer be part of KKJZ-FM (88.1), or KJazz.

Cecil broke off relations with the station, he said, because of repeated technical difficulties producing the show -- and because he feels it's time to start winding down the show he's produced, each week, for more than 50 years.

"It really hurts me to stop, but I feel I can’t continue and do justice to the musicians who made the music," Cecil said Monday.

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Cecil's big band show has been on the air continuously since 1956, when the then-radio-newsman was asked to create Saturday morning filler for Los Angeles' KFI-AM (640).

It was later syndicated to more than 300 stations nationwide and broadcast internationally, on 240 ships and 170 military bases, by Armed Forces Radio Network.

Though the show is now heard only on Long Beach's KKJZ and Long Island's WPPB, it reaches an average of 46,000 listeners a week.

The show will continue to be available online, streaming via WPPB.

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Confirming the end of the radio era, KJazz's Stephanie Levine said the station plans to continue its big band programming, during the same Saturday and Sunday morning 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. time slot, but under a different format and with a different host.

"We will continue to present this programming and find someone else to do the show," she said. "Chuck is not replaceable, but there are people who are knowledgeable about the swing era."

Levine declined to name the replacement candidates, but said: "We have several people in mind who have been around a long time in the industry. They’re anxious to do a show like this."

Cecil was pleased to hear the music would play on.

"I wish them great success," he said. "It was a difficult decision to make, and an emotional one. But the time has come."


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