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Monday, April 12, 2021

A jazzy switch

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You just can’t stop listening.

This statement could be used by listeners who have made Ralph Adams a household name among jazz fans in Indianapolis.

He has earned popularity thanks to his engaging on-air personality, contagious humor and unpredictably diverse collection of music that keeps his audience anticipating each song.

Adams recently announced that he can now be heard Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. on Jazz-City Radio, an Indianapolis based station available on Live365.com, an online satellite music network.

“This is a great opportunity to work with a unique station that has a lot to offer,” Adams said. “Jazz-City radio offers music from both the national scene and the local side, which we’re trying to build up.”

Adams has been in the radio industry since 1976. He remembers when Indianapolis did not have a radio station that played jazz full time, only a jazz segment on WTLC-FM. Today however, he noted, jazz on local radio is still relatively limited.

“Jazz-City Radio offers the perfect venue to revive the concept and format of the on-air jazz program,” Adams said.

Previously, Adams enjoyed an acclaimed 26-year run as the weekly host of a Sunday jazz program on WICR-FM (88.7), based at the University of Indianapolis.

Recently, he decided to depart from WICR, although Adams emphasized that the split was amicable and he left on positive terms.

Michael Carter, president and co-founder of Jazz-City Entertainment, is excited to have Adams on the station five days a week.

“His listeners have now joined our listeners, and that is really a feather in our cap,” Carter said. “Having Ralph’s vast knowledge and experience is helping us out a great deal. It’s a winning relationship for us.”

Jazz-City Radio plays classic and contemporary jazz, blues and “old school” R&B. Its shows can be heard on Live365.com or by those who have a satellite radio system in their car.

Jazz-City Radio is owned by Jazz-City Entertainment LLC, which also has a concert promotion business, recording label and website magazine.

Adams noted that he will continue to maintain the unique style he has used throughout his career, but that the Jazz-City Radio’s online format will enhance his ability to deliver an even better variety of jazz styles, from classic jazz, bebop and Latin, to contemporary, fusion and smooth jazz.

“Now the main difference is that I can spread the music. I can do music as far back as 9 B.C.,” Adams joked.

Adams and Carter say that another reason why they encourage listeners to check out Jazz-City Radio is because, they believe, the city needs a format that will help maintain the historic and rich jazz legacy of Indianapolis, which has produced such luminaries as Wes Montgomery, Slide Hampton, J.J. Johnson and Freddie Hubbard.

“We don’t really have much of an actual jazz scene here anymore and we’re basically down to radio,” Adams said. “This is a way to help make jazz a prominent thing in Indianapolis again.”

Adams noted that while reaching younger listeners is a goal of Jazz-City Radio, another challenge that must be overcome for all online radio stations is getting older, longtime listeners engaged on the Internet.

“The older you get, the less willing you are to play with a lot of buttons and gadgets,” Adams said.

Currently, Jazz-City Radio, which began broadcasting in 2007, is among only a handful of satellite stations in Indianapolis. According to Carter, the station has developed a loyal international audience, with its second largest group of listeners in Japan, followed by France, Spain and Nigeria.

“We even have some listeners in Iraq and Iran,” Carter said.

Carter would like to see Jazz-City Radio become an interactive station that inspires listeners to make requests and share their feedback by visiting the station’s website, Jazz-city.com.

“We truly want to be the jazz station that people in Indianapolis and around the world listen to,” Carter said. “We enjoy our listeners and we try to satisfy them with a great variety of jazz.”

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