For Northwest jazz lovers, the resonant, friendly voice of Jim Wilke is the sound of jazz, so it was a shock to hear that after 30 years, the affable, bearded broadcaster is leaving as host of the nationally broadcast program, “Jazz After Hours,” heard locally on KPLU Friday and Saturday from midnight to 5 a.m.
In an email Wednesday morning, Wilke said he wasn’t leaving for any particular reason.
“I’m in good health, 30 years seemed like a good round number and we’ve got some travel plans coming up,” he said. “Time to take a break after more than 3,000 shows with no repeats, reruns or subs.”
I guess after all these years he’s earned a vacation!
Though Wilke is leaving “Jazz After Hours,” his popular local show, “Jazz Northwest” (also on KPLU, Sundays from 2 – 3 p.m.), which highlights live recordings of Northwest jazz musicians, will continue.
PRI will also continue broadcasting “Jazz After Hours” with a new host whose name will be familiar to jazz heads in the area. Jeff Hanley, former program director for KJZZ, which broadcast locally for many years, is the new host.