It was the Summer of Love and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but Jack Simpson’s mind was not on psychedelia or rock ’n’ roll. He was a jazz man, had been since he was a boy in the north of England, and he was about to carve a reputation as one of the country’s premiere jazz broadcasters and advocates. Radio was where he had heard jazz and radio was where jazz belonged, so he contacted FLORIDA TODAY’s Help! column and, said, in his words, “Please help me put jazz on the radio.” The responses came, and WKRT, a station in Cocoa, gave him an hour a week to play jazz recordings from his own collection, beginning July 28, 1967. A half-century later, “Jazz on the Beach” is still a staple for Central Florida jazz lovers.


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