The Sounds of Brazil and Chicago’s WNUA 95.5! My show made its broadcast debut 25 years ago today, July 25th, 1992. For Chicago’s Smooth Jazz fans, WNUA grew to become a defining moment in our musical lives, and when the station signed on back in the summer of 1987, I became a fan, too.
Months before, I had experienced Rio de Janeiro for the first time and had returned with a suitcase filled with Brazilian albums. To be honest I knew none of the artist names or songs that had replaced most of my clothing on that April trip to Brazil – new friends met during that trip had picked them for me and I couldn’t wait to get them to a turntable and drop the needle on each one.
Within weeks, I began to scour Chicago’s record stores for more. Rose Records became my second home. On the radio WNUA was breaking new ground with an eclectic mix of contemporary jazz, pop and New Age music and I realized that a lot of the music I was discovering from Brazil matched up with what I was hearing on 95.5.
So, I picked up a notebook and got busy. I joined the writing staff at JAZZIZ magazine and began to learn. More trips to Brazil meant more music and soon I was making mix tapes of my favorite songs and handing them out to friends. Apparently, people liked them, because it wasn’t long before I was getting mix tape requests from people I didn’t know here in Chicago and other cities.
Talk about “social media”! I decided that if there was this much organic interest in this music, then why not a radio show? Why not The Sounds of Brazil and Chicago’s WNUA 95.5?
Someday, I promise to tell tell the story of how I got the ear of WNUA’s Program Director Lee Hansen (thank you, Lee!) and captured his imagination with my idea. That led to a meeting with GM John Gehron, who I am proud to work along side today at AccuRadio.com, where I program AccuRadio’s Brazilian channels.