Jazz fans have decided what they liked most about jazz in Ottawa-Gatineau in 2013, in The OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Favourites Poll. These poll results are part of the complete report that OttawaJazzScene.ca is publishing this week.
Find out more about this poll and view all the results.

Favourite jazz radio show: In a Mellow Tone (CKCU-FM)

Runner-up: Swing is in the Air (CKCU-FM)

How the poll defined this category: “A jazz radio show originating in Ottawa or Gatineau.”

Ron Sweetman has hosted jazz fans' favourite CKCU's In a Mellow Tone for 38 years ©Brett Delmage, 2010
Ron Sweetman has hosted jazz fans' favourite CKCU's In a Mellow Tone for 38 years ©Brett Delmage, 2010

This month is Ron Sweetman's 38th anniversary of hosting In a Mellow Tone on CKCU-FM. He's picked up many listeners and fans over the years, which makes it no surprise that his show was convincingly voted favourite in this category.

As one listener said, the Wednesday night show has had “a sustained quality and selection of music for over 35 years”. Another described it as “THE best, bar none.”

“Ron Sweetman's knowledge of all genres of jazz is legendary,” said one. “Ron is one of the longest and strongest supporters of jazz in Ottawa.”

The show (which also features occasional guest hosts) was particularly praised for its music selections, and the variety of jazz that it includes. It “covers a lot of ground,” said one listener. Another praised the wealth of knowledge, the historic retrospectives, and the fact that it was “not afraid to not be trendy”.

Swing is in the Air: the swingin-est!

The runner-up, Swing is in the Air on CKCU-FM, was hosted by Jacques Émond for decades until his death last year, building an audience both for his beloved swing but also other mainstream jazz. The Sunday afternoon show now has four rotating hosts (Vince Rimbach, Ralph Hopper, Karen Oxorn, Cameron Garbutt), three of whom are local jazz musicians, most of whom hadn't previously hosted radio shows.

“Sunday afternoons is good time to be listening to jazz and the variety of hosts give an excellent mix of music and information. Vince Rimbach is particularly knowledgeable,” was one comment.

Several listeners praised the inclusion of local content: “Great rebirth of programming, focused on local musicians as well as old favourites.” [In Transition and Rabble Without a Cause were also praised for featuring local musicians.]

And for one listener, the selection was clear: “It's the swingin-est!”

Lots of room to grow

In general, listeners said they enjoyed the music selection on each of the shows – and the chance to hear tracks they might not otherwise encounter, particularly with Rabble Without a Cause and El Tren Latino.

This category received the lowest response rate in the poll, with many commenting that they had only listened to jazz on CBC Radio 2/Espace Musique. As one listener wrote: “I didn't know all these shows were out there - I'll be checking them out now.” [See our jazz radio show listings]

And there was a wish for more: “I wish we had a jazz radio station. Even Winnipeg has a jazz radio station.”

The Favourite radio show nominees

  • El Tren Latino (CHUO-FM)
    Host: Michael Bongard
  • In a Mellow Tone (CKCU-FM)
    Host: Ron Sweetman and others
  • La Villa Strangiato (CHUO-FM)
    Host: Gregory Kampf
  • Jazz et Compagnie (CHUO-FM)
    Host: André St-Jacques
  • I've Heard That Song Before (CHUO-FM)
    Host: Stephanie Robinson
  • Swing is in the Air (CKCU-FM)
    Hosts: various
  • Rabble Without a Cause (CKCU-FM)
    Host: Bernard Stepien and others
  • Sunday Night Jazz (CHUO-FM)
    Host: Shawn Connolly
  • In Transition (CHUO-FM)
    Host: Randy McElligott

    Visit OttawaJazzScene.ca each day this week to see that day's favourites!

       – Alayne McGregor and Brett Delmage

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