The Troy Street Observer

May 3, 1981: Debut of Eric in the Evening on WGBH

On May 3, 1981, Boston heard Eric Jackson host “Eric in the Evening” for the first time on WGBH radio.

Photo of Eric Jackson
Eric Jackson. Photo by Craig Harris.

Radio plays such an important part in The Boston Jazz Chronicles, and I’m hoping to tell a dozen stories about the voices we heard before the year is up. We’ve already met Tony Cennamo, John McLellan, and just a few days ago, Ken Malden. Today we meet Eric Jackson, a bridge figure in these chronicles, a part of “Boston jazz past” as well as “Boston jazz present.”

Jackson came to Boston in the late sixties to attend Boston University, and that’s where he started in radio in 1969, at student-run WTBU. Radio appealed to Jackson, and it was in his blood—his father Sam had been a jazz deejay in Rhode Island years before. After WTBU came short stints at WBUR, WHRB, and WILD. Then came five years at WBCN playing all kinds of music, and finally in 1977 Jackson landed at WGBH. In 1981, he filled in for the vacationing evening deejay, who chose not to return, and the slot became Jackson’s. He’s been there ever since, through good times and bad. Jackson has conducted some 3,000 interviews, and has brought us music we enjoy listening to for 43 years, and that is an amazing achievement.
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