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JazzNEO features the depth and breadth of this unique American art form by showcasing jazz from all eras, from early masters to innovative artists moving jazz to new and exciting places today. JazzNEO reflects the region's active jazz scene, with local hosts showcasing our world-class musicians, emerging artists from area schools, and national and international performers who are drawn to Northeast Ohio.

Want to listen on your smart speaker? Use the command "Play Jazz N-E-O on I Heart Radio" to activate.

About
[Left to Right] Hosts Dan Polletta, Dee Perry, and John Simna
Photo: Matt Crow; Design: Pat Miller
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Ideastream Public Media
[Left to Right] Hosts Dan Polletta, Dee Perry, and John Simna

On February 26, 1917, the Original Dixieland Jass Band released the world's first jazz record, with the record's two songs, “Livery Stable Blues” and “Dixie Jass Band One-Step” becoming instant hits and introducing millions of people to a new genre of music. Fast-forward over a century later, this genre has continued to grow in popularity and Ideastream Public Media (Ideastream), Ohio’s largest independent, publicly supported media organization, is proud to launch – effective February 26, 2024 – the only full-time jazz channel serving Northeast Ohio: JazzNEO. Featuring hosts Dee Perry, Dan Polletta and John Simna, JazzNEO will broadcast on 90.3 HD2 and livestream on JazzNEO.org.

Highlighting the depth and breadth of this uniquely American art form, JazzNEO will showcase jazz music from all eras, from the early masters to the innovative artists who are moving jazz to new and exciting places – today and into the future. Additionally, JazzNEO will reflect the region’s active jazz scene, highlighting the area’s world-class musicians, emerging artists from local schools, and national and international performers who are drawn to Northeast Ohio.

“Ideastream Public Media is so proud to preserve this original American art form with a locally hosted, 24/7 platform, especially with the thriving jazz scene in Northeast Ohio,” said Kevin Martin, President & CEO of Ideastream. “Our new jazz service will provide the opportunity for Northeast Ohioans to immerse themselves in the world of jazz. For some, really hearing this music for the first time; for others, giving them a place to tune in to hear their favorite music – something they haven’t had for a number of years.”

A Long History with Jazz

Ideastream boasts a long history with jazz, with WCPN’s first on-air broadcast on September 8, 1984, being a jazz concert featuring Mel Torme. JazzNEO’s John Simna also hosted a jazz show on WCLV beginning in the mid-70s, which continued on the station until WCLV moved to the Idea Center in 2010 and the show moved to WCPN. Jazz remained a part of WCPN programming until WCLV moved to its current home on 90.3 and began airing jazz overnight.

“While jazz as a format is essentially absent from the commercial broadcasting world, we believe it is an art form that should be preserved for future generations,” said Jenny Northern, General Manager of Ideastream. “Because Ideastream is mission-focused, rather than revenue-focused, we have a unique responsibility – and opportunity – to help make jazz more readily available, while also fostering a greater appreciation of this music,” said Northern.

Celebrating Local

Through JazzNEO, Ideastream plans to partner with local jazz artists, presenters, and schools with jazz programs in order to reflect the vibrancy of jazz in the region.

“As someone who has spent much of his career working in jazz radio, I’m beyond excited to be part of JazzNEO. Northeast Ohio needs and deserves a full-time station devoted to jazz, to celebrate artists from around the world as well as our own backyard. We hope JazzNEO can become a cornerstone for the jazz community in our region,” said Dan Polletta, Host of JazzNEO.

Host Dee Perry is also excited about the new programming. “I am so jazzed about the possibilities I see with Ideastream’s JazzNEO that I came out of retirement to be one of the service’s inaugural hosts! Northeast Ohio has a vibrant culture of players, presenters, and students of jazz, and what really excites me is how JazzNEO can shine a spotlight on all that talent and connect it to listeners who are looking to nourish their ears, brains, and hearts,” she said.

Sound of Ideas Community Tour

In honor of the launch, Ideastream will also host a Sound of Ideas Community Tour on February 26 at The Bop Stop (2920 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, OH 44113).

The Sound of Ideas Community Tour host Mike McIntyre will be joined by JazzNEO host Dan Polletta, along with special guests, to celebrate the new service and discuss what it means to have jazz radio back in Northeast Ohio.

With the launch of JazzNEO, WCLV’s overnight programming will return to classical music in May of 2024. Listen to JazzNEO on 90.3 HD2 on any HD equipped radio, tune in at JazzNEO.org, stream on Ideastream.org (click on “All Streams” in the top right, then select JazzNEO) or via the Ideastream Public Media app, or tell your smart speaker to “Play JazzNEO.”

Hosts

Dan Polletta

Dan Polletta
Photo: Matt Crow; Design: Pat Miller
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Ideastream Public Media
Dan Polletta

Dan Polletta has a long association with both Ideastream Public Media and presenting jazz on the radio. The Columbus native worked at WBBY-Westerville, one of the nation's few 24-hour commercial jazz stations, as well as hosting jazz for WKSU, before becoming WCPN's evening jazz host in 1987. During that time, Dan and recording engineer Al Dahlhausen produced a series of concert recordings that were distributed to NPR stations around the country.

Dan remained WCPN's evening jazz host until 2009, when he joined Ideastream's award-winning arts team, serving as a senior producer, and host of Applause America and Applause until 2020. Dan returned to Ideastream in 2022 to provide jazz hosting services to WCLV, before rejoining the staff full-time as a senior producer and host in 2023.

Dan has written extensively about jazz, providing liner notes for recordings, as well as having his reviews published in MusicHound Jazz: The Essential Album Guide.

Dee Perry

Dee Perry
Photo: Matt Crow; Design: Pat Miller
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Ideastream Public Media
Dee Perry

Dee Perry began her broadcasting career in 1976 as the host of a weekly jazz show on WABQ-AM, and she worked for more than a dozen years as a host and DJ on commercial radio stations across Northeast Ohio. In 1989, Dee took a job as an announcer and operator with WCPN. She accompanied WCPN when it merged with WVIZ to become Ideastream in 2001. Since then, she has produced and conducted thousands of interviews about arts and culture for radio, TV, and podcasts.

Dee retired from full-time broadcasting in 2016, but continued to serve as a freelance researcher, writer, interviewer and voiceover talent for respected community organizations such as The Cleveland International Film Festival, The United Black Fund and Cuyahoga Community College.

In 2023, Dee accepted an invitation to return to broadcasting for Ideastream as one of the hosts for JazzNEO. She is delighted to explore the jazz landscape once again. Dee is especially grateful for the opportunity to help showcase the talents of jazz musicians, educators and presenters with ties to Northeast Ohio.

John Simna

John Simna
Photo: Matt Crow; Design: Pat Miller
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Ideastream Public Media
John Simna

John Simna was born and raised in Cleveland. He attended St. Ignatius High School and the University of Notre Dame, graduating with both a BBA and an MBA. John was active at the campus radio station, WSND, as host of classical and jazz programming, eventually becoming program director. He was also active in the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival.

After serving in the Army, his job search brought him to WCLV in its Terminal Tower days. John’s interest in jazz was piqued by Cleveland’s wide radio scene, specifically with hosts Henry Pildner, Howie Lund, Dave Hawthorne and Chris Colombi.

For five years, John taught a jazz history course to middle school and high school musicians with The Music Settlement. He is active as a performing musician, playing bass trombone, trombone and euphonium in some of the many big bands and community orchestras in Northeast Ohio. John also leads a brass sextet.

Schedule

Download the printer-friendly JazzNEO schedule (PDF format).

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The Music You Love

We all have our favorites. The tunes that never fail to grab our attention - that make us stop what we’re doing and just... listen. What music would you like to hear on JazzNEO? Let us know! Thanks!

Volunteer Opportunities

If you love jazz and can donate a few hours of your time each week, why not volunteer to help JazzNEO build its digital jazz library? The work involves ripping audio content into the JazzNEO music system and entering appropriate metadata into music scheduling software. The work takes place Monday - Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Idea Center, 1375 Euclid Avenue. We’ll pay for your parking in the Playhouse Square Garage, and you’ll have our everlasting gratitude.

Interested? Please submit your information here, and choose "Volunteer for JazzNEO" as the subject.

HD Radio

Read these articles for more information about Ideastream's HD Radio broadcasts and how to listen.

Learn how you can tune in to Ideastream HD Radio broadcasts, including JazzNEO.
General information about HD Radio and how to troubleshoot access and reception.