August 21, 2020

WDET to broadcast 2020 Detroit Jazz Festival in its entirety Labor Day weekend

WDET, Detroit’s NPR station, is proud to announce its return as a live broadcast partner of the Detroit Jazz Festival presented by Rocket Mortgage for the first time since 1999. 

WDET will provide a wall-to-wall, uninterrupted broadcast of more than 40 hours of festival performances over the Labor Day weekend from Sept. 4 to 7. Jazz enthusiasts across the globe will appreciate their ability to enjoy the entire Detroit Jazz Festival in a safe and healthy way. This is especially important considering most of the major jazz festivals around the world have been cancelled this year.

“WDET is so proud to partner with the Detroit Jazz Festival this year,” said WDET General Manager Mary Zatina. “Nonprofit organizations such as the Jazz Festival and WDET are experiencing unprecedented financial and operational challenges this year, and we must band together in new and different ways to serve our communities.”

WDET has a strong relationship and long history with co-broadcasting the Jazz Festival to the local community, dating back to the early 1980s when the festival was called the Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival. This year, the festival’s sterling roster features live performances from jazz luminaries including Pharoah Sanders and Robert Glasper. 

Performances will be held without audiences and will offer a new virtual format in keeping with current city, state and federal safety guidelines for public gatherings during the pandemic. Performances will take place on three large indoor sound stages at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. All performances will run contiguously.

WDET will provide free community access to the Jazz Festival. The broadcast will be commercial free on 101.9 FM and live streaming at desktop and mobile platforms and the WDET mobile app, helping to keep the festival free and available to everyone.

Tentative schedule:

  • Friday, Sept. 4:  6:20 p.m. to midnight
  • Saturday, Sept. 5: 11:20 a.m. to midnight
  • Sunday, Sept. 6: 11:20 a.m. to midnight
  • Monday, Sept. 7: 11: 20 a.m. to midnight

 “We’ll interrupt our regular programming so everyone will be able to listen for free to the complete Jazz Festival Friday through Monday,” Zatina said. “WDET has received great gifts from the community and doing the Jazz Festival broadcast in its entirety is a renewed way for us to give back to the community.”

Live performances can also be accessed on the festival social media channels (Facebook Live, Instagram), the proprietary Detroit Jazz Fest LIVE! App and on Channel 22, the city’s new arts and entertainment channel. Live performances will also be carried by Detroit Public Television, WRCJ 90.9 FM and WEMU 89.1. 

About WDET-FM 101.9:

For more than 70 years, from our Midtown Detroit location on the campus of Wayne State University, WDET-FM 101.9, Detroit’s NPR station, has delivered a unique mix of news, conversation, special programs and music programming. Our powerful 48,000-watt broadcast signal reaches a 70-mile radius across all of southeast Michigan, northwest Ohio and southwest Ontario. It expands nationally through our live stream, website, mobile app and podcasts. WDET-FM 101.9 is a community service of Wayne State University. Support for WDET comes from Wayne State, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, local foundations, and through private donors and corporate underwriting.


Toby Tabaczynski
Phone: 313-577-4255

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