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Bobby Jackson, Veteran Jazz Broadcaster, Dies at 57

Bobby Jackson, a longtime, award-winning jazz broadcaster and educator, died Dec. 9 in Cleveland. Jackson, who was 57, died suddenly of undetermined causes, said his wife of 10 years, Lisa-Jean Sylvia. Jackson most recently created, wrote and hosted The Roots of Smooth, a syndicated radio program airing on 21 stations. Prior to that, he was the music director of northeastern Ohio public radio station WCPN 90.3-FM and WVIZ-TV. His program Jazz Tracks was named the Ohio Educational Telecommunications Program of the Year and he received the Gavin trade magazine’s national jazz radio Programmer of the Year award three times. He also emceed a national broadcast of the Detroit International Jazz Festival and operated a website, The Jazz Mind (

As an educator, Jackson taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he served as an adjunct professor. He wrote liner notes for Oberlin’s jazz faculty recordings and articles on some of the Oberlin jazz faculty. He also taught a jazz history class at the Cleveland Music School Settlement.

Jackson was nominated three times by the Jazz Journalists Association for the Willis Conover/Marian McPartland award for broadcasting. He consulted on programming for radio stations including WJSU-FM Jackson, Miss., WSHA-FM Raleigh, N.C., WFSS-FM, Fayetteville, N.C., WSSB-FM, Orangeburg, S.C. and WRVS-FM Elizabeth City, N.C.

A memorial fund has been set up in his names: Donations for funeral expenses, Xavier’s education and assisting the family financially at this time can be made by:

Donating Online at:

Or sending your donation to:

Bobby Jackson Memorial Fund
Key Bank
3266 Steelyard Drive, Cleveland, OH 44109

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