Upstate Beat: Greenville Jazz Collective’s online radio station, WGJC, broadcasts classic (and local) jazz 24/7
If you dreamed of a radio station that plays good jazz, there’s one right under your nose that comes from here in the upstate. The catch is, it’s not really on the radio. The train station, WGJC, is on the Greenville Jazz Collective website, available 24/7.
Last October, the Collective, a nonprofit group of local musicians dedicated to jazz music education and awareness, launched the streaming station after months of tinkering.
âWe started planning this thing in 2019,â says GJC guitarist and board member Matt Dingledine, âand we got serious with the events of 2020. It kind of changed our goals, and we thought, ‘This is a great idea to give momentum to this project.’ So we tested it in beta throughout the summer, and we made an announcement inviting people to log in and check it out in mid-October.
âWe have a lot of local writers in the area,â says Hoover, âin the Carolinas and in Georgia. And we wanted to cover these areas with local compositions and composers.
If you log into WGJC on the Collective’s website, you can hear a wide range of artists, from modern players like guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel to icons like saxophonist Michael Brecker to regional favorites like singer Tish Oney.
And of course, WGJC wouldn’t be complete without some clippings from the Collective themselves.
Bassist and GJC board member Shannon Hoover said the collective curated the station’s more than 750 artists’ playlist to emphasize local and national talent.
âWe have a lot of local writers in the area,â says Hoover, âin the Carolinas and in Georgia. And we wanted to cover these areas with local compositions and composers. And sure, we have a lot of hits, but we really focus on our local jazz family like Keith Davis, Matt Olson, Tish Oney, a lot of our local favorites and the GJC Big Band.
âIt’s fun to sit and listen and hear Jim Hall followed by Matt Dingledine followed by Ron Carter followed by Shannon Hoover,” said Bruce Burney, CEO of GJC. âI am really very proud of the library we have built.
Dingledine says the WGJC might not even exist right now if it hadn’t been for the pandemic.
âWe started this year with a multitude of monthly events,â he says. âIn February alone, I think we had a few dozen events spread throughout the month. And it just came to an abrupt end. We had a Mauldin Jazz & Blues Fest, the Jazz Camp in Furman, and then it was like, ‘What are we doing here?’ And we realized that this was an opportunity to continue to develop that; it was something that was close to our hearts, but we felt like we never had the time to give him the attention he needed. So this was one of those classic situations where one door closes and another opens.
Once they had the time, it was just a matter of figuring out how to start and run an online radio station.
âI’ve been playing as a DJ since I was about nine years old,â laughs Bruce Burney, executive director of the Greenville Jazz Collective. âThis is the background that I bring. But otherwise, I don’t think any of us have any experience starting an online streaming radio station. For me it was a fun experience and a great learning experience. Beyond our ability to find a suitable platform that fits what we want to do, we are focused on growing something that more people want, and I think if people try it, they will see it. I think it’s a great range of jazz that represents a wide range of tastes. It’s fun to sit and listen to him and hear Jim Hall followed by Matt Dingledine followed by Ron Carter followed by Shannon Hoover. I am really very proud of the library we have built.
Visit greenvillejazzcollective.com to listen to WGJC.