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Jim Dougherty's New Year's Eve

Desiree Cooper

Angela Kim

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Jim Dougherty at WSUI Studios
(Courtesy Kyle Gassiott)
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Desiree Cooper: Jim, it's been almost exactly a year since you were there in the studios. How does it feel to be back?

Jim Dougherty: Well, it's sort of a mixed emotion. I kind of realize some of the ups and downs of being here but I'm happy to have my own situation at home where I can call my own shots and make my own decisions.

Well, the last that we heard, we thought you were just going to walk off in the sunset with "Stardust" being your swan song. So when did you get the idea that you weren't going to walk off in the sunset -- that you were actually going to keep broadcasting via the internet?

Dougherty: The program director here at WSUI in Iowa City said there was some possibility on internet radio and I should look into that. So I wanted to continue playing because I have a vast library of music dating back to the 20s on records and of course I have tapes and CDs and some things of that nature that I definitely want to share with people. My knowledge and what I have in my library are too valuable not to share with somebody, you know?

Kyle, you produced the story in January and I know you've kept in touch with him all year long. And he cobbled together his studio at home with shoestrings and bubble gum. What does his studio look like?

Kyle Gassiott: He's got an old -- he had an old turntable there which I lovingly referred to as "Old Green." How old was that? It was from the --

Dougherty: The mid-1960s.

Gassiott: That's where he would every night go from that to mini-disc and so he could come into the station. Last year when he finished, I thought I don't know how this is going to work because he wants to go from that turntable to the computer. So I kind of thought -- I had my doubts about what was going to happen. And I worried that every night he was going to be there wanting to do that and not having a place to go and not having that outlet anymore to go anywhere. Then when I went over and I saw that he -- it was a whole new Jim, a whole new studio, a whole new mixing board. Everything was over there. He ushered himself into the new digital age. I was very impressed. I was very excited more as a listener because I knew he would be coming back.

Dougherty: Can I quote you? You said I was born again, right? Not a Christian necessarily but as a jazz phantom broadcaster.

So Jim, what's it been like for you broadcasting now on internet versus live on air?

Dougherty: Well, in a way now I kind of know who's listening because as an indication of people coming in and going, like my sister listens on her computer. But I work all day trying to get the thing ready. At the time recording this for the show, I would normally be home producing the show for the evening.

Well also, that's because you're broadcasting it twice the length before. You're show is now four hours, is it?

Dougherty: Probably six to eight hours to record a four-hour segment. I feel like it's my recording and I can do it the way I want it to sound.

When the New Year rings in, what song will you be playing?

Dougherty: "Auld Lang Syne." I have the Duke Ellington arrangement of that and I'll probably have Duke Ellington at the Blue Note because I used to hear Duke on the air from the Blue Note on all those midnights on New Years Eve when I didn't have to be doing a live show.

Jim, when I listen to you talk there's so much energy and joy around jazz. Do you have plans on retiring?

Dougherty: I guess when they lower the lid on my casket -- that will be my last. I hope there's a connection wherever I'm going, whether it's up above or down below, that I can do it from some place.


  • Comment | Refresh

  • By Clark Jefferson

    From Muscatine, IA, 09/11/2011

    Jim and I attended the same HS and the U of Iowa together. I would like to be put in touch with him again, but have been unsuccessful since moving back to this area. Can you help?

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