Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
First Coast

Bob Bednar, Host Of WJCT's Long Running ‘This Is Jazz,’ Has Died

bob_b.jpg
Illustration by WJCT
/
In studio photo of Bob Bednar by Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union

Bob Bednar, the host of WJCT’s longest running local program, has passed away at the age of 86.

“This Is Jazz” was launched in 1993 on WJCT 89.9 FM and would continue for more than two decades.

“Bob provided the Jacksonville community with a jazz soundtrack for 22 years at WJCT,” said WJCT Station Manager and Music Director David Luckin.

Mr. Bednar, an accomplished jazz drummer, described his former weekly two-hour program as a labor of love.  He told WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union in 2013 he loved the giants of jazz.

“Charlie Parker, by far the most creative guy. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Bill Evans" were at the top of his favorites list.

Luckin said Mr. Bednar had plenty of stories to tell. One he told Luckin and the Times-Union, was about the time in 1952 when met Parker at a little Atlantic City jazz club. Parker ended up asking Bednar for a ride to an after-hours club, where he ended up jamming with the famous sax player until 5 a.m.

Mr. Bednar described jazz as a “lively art form,” and he got the opportunity to play with jazz greats Zoot Sims, Charlie Ventura, Stephane Grappelli and others. 

Archived 2013 WJCT Video: Bob Bednar Reflects On 20 Years Of ‘This Is Jazz’

Mr. Bednar was born on December 27, 1932, according to his Facebook profile, and passed away on November 16, according to friend Lisa Kelly.

He started his first jazz radio program at Philadelphia’s WRTI while he was a journalism and broadcast major at Temple University.

In 1963, he joined DuPont, producing and directing more than 80 industrial shows and films worldwide as a special events coordinator with the company's textile division. Although his career path veered away from jazz for a while, his passion for the music never waned. 

Mr. Bednar was inducted into the Jacksonville Jazz Festival’s Hall of Fame for his many years of service to Jacksonville’s community of jazz lovers.

“Bob Bednar was a mentor, friend and a big brother. We had some very spirited conversations about music,” said Luckin.  “He taught me a good deal about jazz, and I will miss him dearly.”

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.