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Hosts

Thomas Lucci

Interim General Manager, Jazz Host

Standard, Time, 3-6pm, Monday

Thomas Lucci has been a Board member since 2004 and President since 2009. Tom combines his longtime love for jazz and radio with solid leadership in the corporate, small business, and nonprofit worlds. He has most recently served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Davis Publications, an independent, multimedia educational publisher in Worcester. He has held management positions with BBA Group, International Paper, Colgate-Palmolive, University of Pennsylvania Press, and Yale University Press. He’s also a saxophonist in area ensembles and fondly recalls his time as Program Director for WESU-FM at Wesleyan University.

Tom is thrilled to join WICN’s passionate staff, on-air hosts, volunteers, listeners, and supporters to fulfill its mission as a vital voice, both in greater Worcester and the music community. Please feel free to contact him directly at toml@wicn.org.

Tom Banyai

Roots Host

Bluegrass Junction, 7-11pm, Tuesday

Tom Banyai grew up in a household exposed to all sorts of wonderful music, especially classical and jazz. When he went to his first music festival (Newport ’66) he was captivated by live acoustic performance. Coffee houses and small clubs from New Haven to New York City were a hotbed of folk and roots music where he grew to love the energy and immediacy of live performance. The early days of FM radio in the city and on Connecticut colleges recreated some of this same excitement. After hearing radio tributes to Joe Val, he attended his first Bluegrass Festival (WinterHawk ’85) and was captured by the heart & soul of the music. Tom still prefers a live concert or festival, but when he discovered Bluegrass on the radio on stations like WICN, he became a huge fan. When WICN put out a call for volunteers, Tom was already well known to the Bluegrass DJs through his financial backing and persistent calls for requests. After volunteering at the station, it was natural that Tom would end up as a regular host behind the microphone sharing his love of the music. He has been doing a weekly Bluegrass show on WICN since October, 1989. “Being a DJ is like getting to play some of your favorite songs for a friend – except that you have a huge library of songs and the friend is always there for 4 hours every Tuesday night.”

Email: tom@wicn.org

Brian Barlow

Jazz Host

Jazz Highways, 8am-Noon, Friday

Join Brian Barlow every Friday morning from 8am until 12pm for an eclectic mix of jazz classics side by side with "new standards" and the American Songbook as interpreted by jazz artists past and present.

Email: bbarlow@wicn.org

Jim Benitez

Jazz Host

Latin Jazz Now!, 7-11pm, Friday

A self-taught Latin percussionist since the age of 12 when his father handed him Cal Tjader’s 1960 Latino album featuring Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo back in 1966, and an LP fiberglass conga and told him, “Here, learn to play right with these”, he’s been living and breathing Latin Jazz since. A computer network engineer during the day, Jim keeps busy as part of a team overseeing the health and security of the computer network of a major Massachusetts retail corporation. Jim is also a US Army Vietnam Era veteran and served as an Air Traffic Controller where he admits, “That was my first real foray out in radio broadcasting directing all those aircraft”. Although the real commercial radio experience began at Worcester’s Gois Broadcasting Inc.’s WORC 1310AM in 2006 co-hosting with his friend Edwin Cancel, the first Latin Jazz show in Worcester called Ran KanKan. The show lasted about six or so months when his friend resigned and Jim took over the show and renamed it Latin Jazz Sundays. Jim also hosted a Salsa show at the same time on Saturdays called Salsa DuraSabados, that’s Hard Salsa Saturdays and again on Sundays with his friend Alex Vega on Salsa Na’ Ma. Both became major hit shows in Worcester’s Latin community and achieved a 2.5 rating in the Arbitron radio charts for two years. Although short-lived, but well remembered by his listeners, an opportunity opened up in Hartford Connecticut under the Gois Broadcasting group of stations at WNEZ 1230AM and a fusion of the two shows became and all Spanish language show called Jazz Latino Ahora, or Latin JazzNow!. To all this Jim developed a following reaching New York, Florida, California, Hawaii, Canada, and Milan Italy, thanks to the show being streamed across the internet to listeners outside of Worcester. “I am honored to be here at WICN surrounded by the finest and most supportive group of radio professionals in the world. Latin Jazz has a home here on public radio and here in Worcester, and it’s called WICN 90.5FM, New England’s Jazz and Folk Station and on Friday nights it’s New England’s Latin Jazz Station”.

Email: jim@wicn.org

Howard Caplan

Jazz Host

The Saturday Swing Session, 8am - 12pm, Saturday

Howard grew up the son of a swing-era big-band drummer, but his dad’s love of swing and jazz took some time to rub off on him. An admitted “Top 40/Adult Contemporary refugee”, Howard came to his senses back in 1999 when, in a fit of trying to find quality music, he discovered WICN on his car radio while returning home from work on the Mass. Pike. Since that moment, he's been addicted to jazz and swing. A lawyer by trade, Howard practiced law in Boston and taught at a law school. He currently serves as the Director of Communications and Training for a large government agency. Howard has hosted talk shows on five different radio stations from Boston to Worcester, and produced and hosted the syndicated cable TV talk show Night at the Round Table for 20 years. He's delighted to help you get your weekend off to a great start by presenting the sounds of Ella, Ellington, Sinatra and Basie, as well as Michael Buble, Diana Krall and Buddy Rich, on The Saturday Swing Session.

Email:  howard@wicn.org

Al Dean

Jazz Host

Standard Time, 3-6pm, Wednesday

Al grew up listening to the music of the 40’s on his father’s EH Scott radio and 78 records. Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman were family favorites.

During high school and college in the 50’s he went to Boston to listen to Herb Pomeroy, Chris Connor, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Byrd, and Vic Dickenson, to name a few. There were many places to hear great jazz including Storyville, The Stable, Mahogany Hall, Morley’s, Hi Hat and Lenny’s on the Turnpike in Peabody.

He lived near from the Totem Poll Ballroom in Auburndale, Vaughn Monroe’s Meadows in Natick,  10 acres in Wayland and Nuttings on the Charles in Waltham where one could bring a date and dance the night away listening to live bands.

Following Retirement in 1998 from his managerial positions the automobile world (Volkswagen dealer, regional manager for Subaru of America and Midas franchisee) , Al became an on-air host at WICN. This is first experience in the broadcasting field and allows him to dig into his closet of old vinyls and share them with his audience on the Sunday afternoon edition of the Jazz Matinee. He enjoys talking with and meeting the listeners and he entertainers who make the music  possible. During his time away from the station he flies his airplane, which he built himself, up and down the east coast to visit with friends and family. He also assists other builders in the construction of their airplanes. Al’s other hobbies and interests include maintaining his 1955 Bug, the restoration of old radios, model work and his 4 granddaughters and 1 grandson.

Email: al@wicn.org

Marty Friedman

Jazz Host

Sunday Jazz Brunch, 8am-12pm, Sunday

Born in the Bronx, New York, Marty Friedman has loved jazz since he was 17. "I was at the New York Public Library looking through the LPs, realizing that I had already borrowed all the rock albums of interest. So I decided to branch out. That's when I saw a two-LP set on Prestige called The Hawk Flies. It had a really cool picture on the cover, but it was the Bean's music that really grabbed me." In college at the City University of New York, Marty ran the arts department at the school newspaper, and was able to meet and interview various jazz musicians and record producers in the New York area. Today, as an amateur guitarist, Marty jams with friends at parties and the occasional informal gig. "Doing the Sunday Jazz Brunch is a real thrill because it keeps me current with the latest releases and allows me to share my passion for music with the listeners."

Email: marty@wicn.org

Ed Gardella

Jazz Host

Standard Time, 2-6pm, Friday

Email: ed@wicn.org 

Pamela Hines

Jazz Host

Jazz New England, Noon-3pm, Wednesday

Pamela Hines has been a prolific and consistent presence in American jazz as a pianist and composer.   She has received national and international critical acclaim for edgy instrumental compositions that contribute to the jazz history and art of the trio, quartet and quintet and for jazz originals for vocalists that are more at home in the American Songbook.  Hines has led or played with other jazz artists at hundreds of east coast venues for three decades, including Scullers, Les Zygomates, Ryles, Johnny D's, Thelonious Monkfish, Acton Jazz Cafe, Mechanics Hall, New Haven Jazzfest, Duplex and Metropolitan Room. Three of her trio CDs have reached the top 20 on national radio charts and her all- original Christmas CD with vocalists made the top 50 national radio list in 2008.  Hines has also been the host/pianist for Live Jazz New England on WICN since 2012.  The live, hour- long radio program has featured some of the most creative and talented artists in jazz.

Hines has a B.S. in Broadcasting and Film from Boston University, a B.A. in Music Education (Magna Cum Laude) from Old Dominion University and a Masters in Jazz, with Honors, from New England Conservatory.

Email: pam@wicn.org

Bonnie Johnson

Jazz Host

Colors of Jazz, 12pm-4pm, Sunday

Bonnie Johnson is host of Colors of Jazz on Sunday afternoon. If you asked the Worcester native how she found jazz, she would tell you that jazz found her. As an undergraduate student at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Ms. Johnson became a fan of the Quiet Storm featured on the college station. Later, upon returning home and in her quest to find a radio station that would fill the gap, Ms. Johnson discovered that WICN was playing music that she found reminiscent of the slow jams she heard at HU. Some years later, after becoming a member of WICN, she heeded an invitation to become a volunteer and the rest is history.

Ms. Johnson appreciates the diversity and the evolution of music. As a self-taught electric bassist, she has enjoyed many years of playing various types of music with her daughter and close friends in a family band. Growing up, she sang in the St. Cecilia Girl Choir at All Saints Worcester. Her keen awareness and understanding of the importance of legacy building for future generations is demonstrated by her role as a past director and co-founder of the women's alumnae group and the association’s scholarship fund established for graduating high school choir girls.

Ms. Johnson holds B.A. in Liberal Studies and M.S. in Communications and Information Management degrees from Bay Path University. She believes the future of jazz is in our children, stating, “Music and the arts is one area that gives young people an outlet and release of creative energy. While there are many children exposed to music through lessons and attending live performances, there are too many more that are not”. One of Johnson’s primary goals as host at WICN is to reach youth in creative ways through community engagement. Bonnie is honored to bring her voice to the music and hopes to find interesting ways to inspire people of all ages.

Email: bonnie@wicn.org 

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