Final "Jazz 'til Midnight" program approaches
By Scott Pohl, WKAR
EAST LANSING, MI – This Saturday, Doug Collar will host his last installment of "Jazz til Midnight." Collar's first WKAR program, "Jazz Archives," hit the airwaves in 1980. That show turned into "Friday Night Jazz" and then "Jazz til Midnight" on Saturdays.
"The Dan Bayer Jazz Show" will replace "Jazz til Midnight", starting November 5th.
WKAR's Scott Pohl spoke with Doug Collar about leaving the station that has been his home for 31 years.
DOUG COLLAR: People like Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie, the list goes on and on and on, and I was able to do entire three or four-hour shows with those artists, and I do think that we exposed local audiences at a time when jazz was going through kind of a lean period, at least in terms of broadcast. We kept traditional jazz alive, and yet we featured new artists, emerging artists, the young lions of the 80's and 90's. At that time, the young lions included, of course, such people as Wynton Marsalis and company. So, I think we introduced local audiences to the emerging young lions, as well as kept alive the music, on the air, of the legends. For a number of people, that was important. It's important to me, and it still is, to make sure that the music continues on live radio.
SCOTT POHL: The MSU College of Music has a vibrant jazz studies program. Do you feel any sort of connection with them?
COLLAR: I'm very proud to be associated with Michigan State University in any way, shape, or form. It's my alma mater, I have three degrees from this institution, and I love it, and I particularly respect what's happened in the jazz program. Ron Newman would come on my program 25, 30 years ago, and talk about what the program was doing. We were able to interview a number of guest artists to Michigan State, and right now, with Rodney Whitaker and all of the great artists that he brings in, this is a world-class conservatory of jazz. And, I'm proud to say my son, Matt, came out of that program and continues to perform, and so I'm a real believer in what Michigan State University has done.
POHL: I'm not sure our listeners are aware of what it has taken for you to continue the program in recent years, and once they hear about that, it might help them understand why you've reached the decision that maybe it's time to stop doing the show. Can you bring our listeners up to date on what it has taken for you to keep going in the last few years?
COLLAR: Well, for the last, I believe it's 12 years plus, I've been commuting back from Ohio. We relocated to Tiffin, Ohio, where I teach at Heidelberg University, and I continue to drive up roughly about a 360-mile round trip, to produce program, because I believed in it. It was too good of a gig to give up. I've enjoyed every minute of it. I get up at 4 o'clock in the morning, I come up here, I preview recordings all the way up on the highway. But my duties at Heidelberg have expanded recently. I'm Dean of the Honors Program. I'm still professor of English there, and it just became extremely difficult to rally to do this, and I thought when I'm still doing it well, I think it's time to pass the torch, and I know Danny Bayer will continue to do a great job.
POHL: I said a few years. Twelve is more than a few! Time flies!
COLLAR: Well, it's been 31 years in all, and of course the last 12, I've been on the road doing it. Strangely enough, with the internet, with streaming, I can keep up with the program, and of course, I did jazz calendars for most of the 30 years, and through email and the internet, I've been able to keep up with what's going on locally, but it's time to go. I think with Dan and the station moving on to other things, I think it's a great time for me to leave. I sort of want to do a Joe DiMaggio or perhaps a Ted Williams, end on a note where I still feel I'm doing decent job.
POHL: Well, thank you for all these years of great jazz programming on WKAR, and good luck in the future.
COLLAR: Thanks very much, Scott, and I'd like to thank everybody who listened for those 31 years. It's been a great ride, and we'll see you sometime down the road.