South Carolina ETV avoided steep funding cuts last month as the state’s Republican-controlled legislature thwarted Gov. Nikki Haley’s attempt to eliminate two-thirds of state support for the pubcasting network. Haley had proposed cutting about $5.9 million of the $9 million that the state provides for SCETV, which makes up about half of the network’s budget. But lawmakers in both the House and Senate overrode Haley’s request in nearly unanimous votes June 29. In the end, only about 6 percent of the network’s budget was cut, according to SCETV spokesperson Rob Schaller. House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham angrily criticized Haley in a speech on the floor.
The Recording Academy presented a 2004 Trustees Award to jazz pianist and public radio host Marian McPartland. The award recognizes “music people who have made the greatest impact on our culture,” said Neil Portnow, president of the Academy. “Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their craft have created a timeless legacy that has positively affected multiple generations and will continue to influence generations to come.” Through her public radio series Piano Jazz, McPartland has introduced generations of listeners to the genre. The series, which received a George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting, celebrates its 25th anniversary this spring.
Piano Jazz hits its silver anniversary in April, a landmark that surprises nobody more than venerated host and pianist Marian McPartland. “It’s kind of amazing that we’ve managed to be on the air for 25 years and no end in sight,” she says with a laugh. “I sort of envisioned doing it for a few months, or at the most a year. It never occurred to me that people would like it as much as they do.” Today it ranks among public radio’s most popular music programs, airing on 241 stations and reaching almost 400,000 listeners a week.
When the NPR-distributed program Piano Jazz had its 20th anniversary in 1999, Current Contributing Editor David Stewart wrote this profile of the program and its host. Marian McPartland is the host of the longest-running jazz program in the history of network radio. Her Piano Jazz has also enjoyed the longest run of any entertainment series on NPR. In March 1998, she celebrated her 80th birthday on stage at New York’s Town Hall. Billy Taylor, himself the host of an NPR jazz series, Billy Taylor’s Jazz from the Kennedy Center, kept up the musical action as a parade of Marian’s friends came to perform and wish her well: pianists Tommy Flanagan, Jacky Terrasson and Ray Bryant, bassists Christian McBride and Bill Crow, drummers Joe Morello, Grady Tate and Lewis Nash, and trumpeter Harry (“Sweets”) Edison, among others.