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Miriam M. in Ann Arbor, Camille P. in Grosse Pointe Farms, Clinton W. in Saint Clair Shores, Sarah B. in Royal Oak, Patricia S. in Royal Oak… Zain A. in Royal Oak, Margie L. in White Lake, Carolyn W. in Plymouth, Jamey, S. in Detroit, Lesley M. in Grosse Ile… Amy P. in Oak Park, Seann H. in River Rouge, Joseph M. in Detroit, Ken E. in Lake Orion, Lesley L. in Lakeport… Isabel U. in Saint Clair, Sarah C. in Troy, Michelle H. in Plymouth, Elizabeth K. in Birmingham, Cynthia P. in Almont…

Ed Love: A Life

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Image credit: WDET

In his adopted city of Detroit, Ed Love has become a musical institution. Generations of Detroiters know Ed as the voice who guided us through almost 60 years of “Destination Jazz: The Ed Love Program”, playing the classics and introducing us to new music each week on WDET-FM.

Love’s impact transcends his time in the studio.  He has mentored and promoted musicians far and wide.  His influence on their lives and his commitment as a cultural torchbearer and multigenerational voice for the tradition of jazz is acknowledged by artists here in Detroit and throughout the world.

Now, into his sixth decade of radio, Love is still working, introducing yet another generation to the jazz tradition and the power of music.


Click the links below to jump to a specific section:


Biography

Ed’s passion for jazz and radio extends all the way back to his youth in Parsons, Kansas. He was born on May 6, 1932 to a family of music lovers — his mom had a passion for jazz and blues and his father liked country music.


Read an interview with Ed’s great-grandmother, Phyllis Petite


Love studied the trumpet beginning in grade school and progressing through junior college. He thought for a time he would become a jazz musician.  But after he graduated from Parsons Junior College in Kansas, he chose to attend the Pathfinder Broadcast School in Kansas City, MO graduating at the top of his class.

Courtesy of Ed Love
Courtesy of Ed Love

Love’s Early Days in Radio

His first job in broadcasting came in 1951 when Love joined radio station KIND in Independence, KS. In 1952 Love he joined the United States Air Force and became an Armed Forces Radio staffer in the Philippines, during the Korean War. After returning home from the war, Love returned to KIND to continue his career in radio.

Not immune to the racial injustice of the times Love would have very successful phone interviews, yet the job would somehow disappear when the station management met him in person.  Eventually, Love landed jobs at stations in West Virginia, Philadelphia and New York.

Coming to Detroit

In 1959 Love contracted a serious case of pneumonia and moved in with relatives in Detroit to rest and recover. What he found in Detroit was a profusion of jazz clubs where the architects of pop’s Motown sound performed and hung out. Delighted, Love decided to make Detroit his home.

While music was his passion, Love supplemented his music activities as a postal carrier, a job he held for more than 35 years.  He worked his route during the days and played jazz from his 8,000 record library in the evenings.

In Detroit, Love worked at a variety of jazz stations. He worked at R&B stalwart WJLB, WQRS in classical jazz and WCHD, later renamed WJZZ where he mentored up and coming Rosetta Hines- another Detroit legend in radio.

WDET
WDET

WDET and Love’s Lasting Legacy

In 1983, Love joined Detroit’s NPR affiliate, WDET-FM and continued Destination Jazz: The Ed Love Program.  The program grew into a one of the station’s most listened to programs introducing several generations of young people to jazz.

His deep and mellifluous voice is familiar not only to Detroiters, but also to the national audiences who heard his syndicated National Public Radio (NPR) program, The Evolution of Jazz – a program that ran for six years and was heard on 150 stations around the US and two stations in Puerto Rico.

On Thanksgiving Day, in 1994, Ed endured a stroke which failed to stifle his spirit nor dim his intellect.  The health challenge took him off the air for a bit, but he was so determined to get back into the studio, Ed worked tirelessly to rebound. Getting back on the air drove Ed’s rehabilitation so that he could personally work the board and the CD players.

In 1996 jazz greats including Cecil McBee, Bernie Maupin, George Goldsmith, Marcus Belgrave, Roy Brooks and George Bohanon gathered to perform a tribute to Ed Love and all he had accomplished through his promotion of jazz music and musicians.

Love’s impact transcends his time in the studio.  He has mentored and promoted musicians far and wide.  His influence on their lives and his commitment as a cultural torchbearer and multigenerational voice for the tradition of jazz is acknowledged by artists here in Detroit and throughout the world.

Now, into his sixth decade of radio, Love is still working, introducing yet another generation to the jazz tradition and the power of music.


Detroit Program Host History

  • WDET               Destination Jazz…The Ed Love Program, 1983 to present
  • WDET               The Evolution of Jazz, heard on 150 stations nationwide
  • WQRS              1978-1983
  • WXYZ TV         Staff Announcer, 1970-1977
  • WJZZ -             1974-1976
  • WJLB               1967
  • WCHD FM       1960-1974
  • WCHB AM       1960-1976

Past Awards and Honors

  • Jazz Hall of Fame — Legends of Jazz Award, 1995
  • Congressional Black Caucus Honors, 1996
  • Michigan Legislative Honors, 1996
  • Dr. Alaine L. Locke Award Awarded by Friends of the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1999
  • Spirit of Detroit Awards (Honored by both Mayor Coleman A. Youn and Mayor Dennis W. Archer)
  • Distinguished Achievement Awards — Motor City Music Foundation Director, Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival, 2000
  • Mayor Dennis W. Archer proclaimed September 1 “Ed Love Day” in honor of all he has done to promote jazz music, 2000
  • Southeast Michigan Jazz Association — Outstanding Contribution to Jazz and the Arts, 2002
  • Detroit Jazz Guardian Awards, 2005
  • 110th Congressional Honor, 2008
  • Numerous National Broadcast Awards

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Ed Love | 60 Years of Jazz in Detroit

This post is a part of Ed Love | 60 Years of Jazz in Detroit.

Ed Love is a musical institution. Generations of Detroiters know Ed as the voice who guided us through almost 60 years of "Destination Jazz: The Ed Love Program", playing the classics and introducing us to new music each week on WDET-FM.

Now, into his sixth decade of radio, Love is still working, introducing yet another generation to the jazz tradition and the power of music.

Join us in celebrating Ed Love’s 60 Years of Jazz in Detroit.

Stay connected to Detroit