Helen Borgers, the radio voice of South California jazz for over three decades, died from cancer on November 12, 2017. Borgers had been hospitalized since September.
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This has been a difficult year for Jazz radio personality Helen Borgers. In July she was quietly laid off by LA’s KKJX after over 38 years at the station. Then, in August, she learned she needs life-saving surgery for an undisclosed cardiac issue. Borgers is currently hospitalized at Long Beach Memorial Hospital's cardiac care unit. Doctors are planning surgery once her status becomes stabile.
Unfortunately, when Borgers was turfed by KKJZ, she lost her medical insurance coverage. Now, the LA Jazz community is rallying to help her. Last weekend the Los Angeles Jazz Institute presented A Day of Jazz, a fundraising event to help Borgers with her urgent medical care and recovery expenses.
Also, a crowd-funding effort is now underway on her behalf [link].
According to Don Barrett’s blog LARadio.com [link], KKJZ made no announcement on the air about Borger’s departure. Barrett also reported any trace of Borgers was eliminated from the KKJZ website [link]. (I checked and I saw no mention of Borgers on the site either.)
“As of July 1, 2017, [I am] no longer on air at KKJZ. After 38 years. It was such a bolt out of the blue. I think, in the long run, it will be better to be able to play the music I choose as we used to on KLON.”
In 2007 Long Beach State, licensee of KKJZ, hired an outside contractor, Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters, to operate the station. Mt. Wilson is a for-profit company that also owns commercial Country station KKGO. KKGO used to a commercial Jazz station.
Asked for a comment, KKJZ’s Station Manager Stephanie Levine told LARadio.com:
“We recently laid off Helen Borgers and another announcer for budgetary reasons. Unfortunately, financial circumstances require us to make difficult decisions like these. However, we are committed to keeping K-Jazz on the air long-term. We greatly value both individuals and wish them continued success.”
KEN SAYS: Wow, that is as cold as ice. After 38 years establishing KKJZ as one of the best Jazz stations in the nation, one might expect some gratitude.
In the September Nielsen audio ratings, KKJZ was down 14% in estimated cumulative listeners compared to September 2016. Both NPR News/Talk stations gained weekly listeners.
Look for Educational Media Foundation’s new station at 100.3 FM to make a splash in subsequent books. It will be a full-power repeater of K-Love thanks to acquiring the frequency as a spinoff from a recent commercial station sale. KYLA is also owned by EMF.
KKXT RE-BRANDS AS THE REPUBLIC OF MUSIC
Triple A KKXT, Dallas has a new positioning statement – Republic of Music – and a new emphasis on locally produced content. The stations program schedule has also been revamped.
Republic of Music is a play-on-words for Republic of Texas, representing local pride and independence. The station promises more North Texas music.
We reached out to PD Amy Miller and she told us:
“Local music is infused in everything we do at KXT. We’re proud to not only share songs from local artists throughout each day, but to also add a new dedicated program airing weekly, which we’re calling The Local Show, that will feature local artists from a broad spectrum of genres.
“We’ve also made October 'Local Music Month' – we’re featuring more local songs throughout the month on the radio and we’re hosting live music events with local bands across North Texas. As a listener-supported station, we think it’s vital to be a part of the local music community – both on the air and at live shows.”
According to Nielsen Audio, In September KKXT increased its estimated weekly listeners by 14% over September 2016.
It appears that the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has lots of Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) listeners.
In addition to the four CCM noncoms on the ratings chart, Dallas is also home to Salem Broadcasting’s commercial CCM station KLTY. In the September book, KLTY had an estimated 943,000 weekly listeners.
I wondered if Dallas is the nation’s number one major market for people identifying as Christian. I found the chart on the right on the Pew Research website and, yes, Dallas is number one.