8 December 2021 0 comments
By Mark Pavilons
We take for granted listening to the radio.
But over the past couple of years it has become a kind of lifeline for many people.
Ronnie Littlejohn from King anime “The Gumbo Kitchen” Friday nights on JAZZ.FM91. And listeners have reached out in record numbers during the pandemic.
Littlejohn vividly remembers receiving an email from a listener about two years ago; a guy who was on a cruise ship docked at the port of Yokohama. He told Ronnie he was stuck on the ship in Japan after an outbreak of what is known as the coronavirus.
“It was the first time I heard these words. He would email me on my show to tell me he was playing the show in his little booth and that I could play Louis Armstrong for him.
Littlejohn noted that for the past two years, people who listened to both his show and the station were looking to get away from it all.
“I can tell you that before the pandemic I received quite a few emails on every show. During the pandemic, the link was undeniable. My emails exploded. All JAZZ.FM91 hosts will say the same thing. People thanked the station and the show’s hosts for keeping them sane. And it went both ways. There were dark gray days when doing my show was one of the only things that got me out of bed. So the listeners also made me continue. Now you are talking about connection! “
Littlejohn said that with all the choices – podcasts and streaming services – listeners have plenty of options. However, these streaming services just don’t have the content. What’s also important are the stories behind the music and the personalities behind the microphone.
“And there are colorful personalities in this station! There is usually a really cool story behind the songs and people love to hear about it. This is what I am trying to do. Tell people the stories behind the music. People are bending down when you do this. People also like to know that there is a heart beating at the other end, ”he explained.
Littlejohn said that at the start of his show he wanted to take people on a musical trip to New Orleans every Friday night.
“I know southern music well, but in the three short years I am there I have discovered a ridiculous amount of music that I might never have heard otherwise,” he said. .
JAZZ.FM91’s mantra is “Discover Music”, but it’s not just about listeners. Hosts are also finding out. It’s a musical journey together.
Littlejohn noted that the reception was overwhelming.
“I receive letters from all over the world in all time zones every week. Some people relax on a Friday night after a long week while someone else is listening halfway around the world to what is their Saturday morning.
“People appreciate that it’s not just one style of music. It’s a “gumbo” of all the different things.
“New Orleans jazz, old southern rhythm and blues, Zydeco, Gospel.” I like to call it radio with a side of hot sauce.
Littlejohn was made for that, and his perch behind the microphone.
He said he had a fake radio station in his room when he was a kid. There he spent hundreds of hours recording commercials, promotions, and the first 30 countdowns.
“Somehow I managed to turn this dream into reality. I’m having fun.
Littlejohn urges all listeners to support live music.
“Stay away from streaming services and go to Bandcamp or your local record store or buy music directly from the artists. They need it more than ever.
Littlejohn offers “Mardi Gras” every Friday evening from 9 am to 1 am without having to buy a plane ticket to New Orleans.
Key words: Gumbo Kitchen, JAZZ FM, Ronnie Littlejohn