Jack C. Springer, Jr.

Pioneer Broadcaster Dies in Detroit
(text from the Gavin Report)

Mon, Jul 2 – Jack Springer, the standard bearer for a lost style of jazz radio announcing around the world, died in Detroit at 61, following a battle with cancer. Springer’s 30-year career was punctuated by stints at the “tiffany” outlets of the markets in which he worked his magic. In Detroit, Springer worked for the legendary WCHB/AM, WCHD/WJZZ, and WXYZ.

KJAZ were the heritage calls Springer called home during his stay in San Francisco. As a writer, he penned the liner notes for Aretha Franklin’s Aretha Now LP, among the numerous assignments during the course of his stellar career. Detroit’s jazz radio aficionados knew him as “The Swinger.” KJAZ listeners came to know Springer’s inventive touch via the overnight show The All Night Affair.

Born and raised in the fertile environment of the Motor City, Jack grew up in a musical family with the sounds of jazz all around him. Saxophone was his focus in high school and theater occupied his attention in college. After graduating from Wayne State University with a BA in communications, Jack headed to Alaska as a member of the Armed Forces Service, where he hit the airwaves as the jazz radio personality for troops stationed in the Arctic, Canada, and even the Russian troops of the USSR.

An offer from ABC lured Jack away for 11 years as a producer for TV and radio, and after relocating to the Bay Area he joined KJAZ. Jack was responsible for a variety of memorable features including a unique and thoughtful presentation he called “The Symphonic Side of Jazz.”

In 1992, Jack’s show “The All Night Affair” was voted the “Best After-Midnight Hangout” by readers of the popular and hugely circulated East Bay Express. Darin Wilson of The Express wrote: “His program is geared toward late-night people as well as the occasional insomniac, with music that is as moody as it is diverse: now slow and hazy, now brisk and crackling, now daring and unusual, but always perfectly in tune with those strange hours when most of the East Bay is asleep. Jack’s manner is cool, informal, and surprisingly intimate. You always feel like you’re at a small gathering in his living room where he plays and discusses his favorite music, pausing now and then to pour you another brandy.”

Bud Spangler, a highly regarded drummer, jazz broadcaster, and fellow Detroiter who worked with Springer at WDET and KJAZ reacted to the news with this comment: “He was the best DJ on WJZZ…Jack was a genuine broadcasting pro.” To write Jack Springer’s epitaph is to tell a story of excellence in broadcasting. From this point forward, all who follow his path will forever be reminded of his enormous, indelible contribution to our field.

—Steve Williams

A note from those of us at The Spirit.....
Anyone who met Jack Springer or listened to his programs had a constant friend. Those of us who knew him are comforted by the fact that Jack's great spirit will continue to inspire us like the music he played and loved.