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Back where I started

Back where he started, Beck celebrates 40 years at Jazz 88.3 this month.
Back where he started, Beck celebrates 40 years at Jazz 88.3 this month.

“They were saying back in 1974, when I started working at Jazz 88.3, that jazz was a dying thing. It’s not.” This month, on-air jazz host Gary Beck celebrates a 40-year association with the San Diego City College radio station. “I think I was 18 when I started there. President Nixon had resigned, and I had just graduated from high school. After the first two years of operation, Jazz 88.3 started letting student deejays stay,” Beck informs the Reader; this, rather than cutting them loose after they’d completed the City College radio broadcasting class.

“I worked at KSDO producing Art Green’s talk show at the El Cortez hotel downtown. I was also going to City College. I auditioned there for [an instructor] named Hope Shaw. I passed the audition,” he grins. “One of the first interviews I did for the station? Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines,” he says, grinning some more, “at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse. Hope gave me an A for a grade.”

KSDS Jazz 88.3 went on the air in 1973, the year before Beck got there. “I stayed on for a couple of years, and then I went to WNEW in New York City doing weekends.” He’s worked off and on as an announcer at Jazz 88.3 ever since.

During Beck’s tenure, KSDS has gotten a boost in transmitting power, digital capability, and new studios. The biggest transformation since Beck has been at the station? “The internet and the fact that I can be heard around the world.”

The Fairleigh Dickinson history major turns 59 this year. He and I talk about how the internet has grown the listening audience but not the paycheck. “I’m okay with being ripped off,” he says, “because I love the music. I like the jazz classics, but I also like what’s going on now musically. The standards have already been done, and they’ve been done by the best. Now, I look for the singers that are doing something different. And musicians,” he says, “that aren’t bored and that still play with the same intensity as they did when I was 18.” What does Beck see happening in his immediate future? “I really haven’t thought about doing anything else,” he says. “But I surely never thought I’d end up where I started.”

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Back where he started, Beck celebrates 40 years at Jazz 88.3 this month.
Back where he started, Beck celebrates 40 years at Jazz 88.3 this month.

“They were saying back in 1974, when I started working at Jazz 88.3, that jazz was a dying thing. It’s not.” This month, on-air jazz host Gary Beck celebrates a 40-year association with the San Diego City College radio station. “I think I was 18 when I started there. President Nixon had resigned, and I had just graduated from high school. After the first two years of operation, Jazz 88.3 started letting student deejays stay,” Beck informs the Reader; this, rather than cutting them loose after they’d completed the City College radio broadcasting class.

“I worked at KSDO producing Art Green’s talk show at the El Cortez hotel downtown. I was also going to City College. I auditioned there for [an instructor] named Hope Shaw. I passed the audition,” he grins. “One of the first interviews I did for the station? Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines,” he says, grinning some more, “at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse. Hope gave me an A for a grade.”

KSDS Jazz 88.3 went on the air in 1973, the year before Beck got there. “I stayed on for a couple of years, and then I went to WNEW in New York City doing weekends.” He’s worked off and on as an announcer at Jazz 88.3 ever since.

During Beck’s tenure, KSDS has gotten a boost in transmitting power, digital capability, and new studios. The biggest transformation since Beck has been at the station? “The internet and the fact that I can be heard around the world.”

The Fairleigh Dickinson history major turns 59 this year. He and I talk about how the internet has grown the listening audience but not the paycheck. “I’m okay with being ripped off,” he says, “because I love the music. I like the jazz classics, but I also like what’s going on now musically. The standards have already been done, and they’ve been done by the best. Now, I look for the singers that are doing something different. And musicians,” he says, “that aren’t bored and that still play with the same intensity as they did when I was 18.” What does Beck see happening in his immediate future? “I really haven’t thought about doing anything else,” he says. “But I surely never thought I’d end up where I started.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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