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Recognized as the Twin Cities’ public radio voice for jazz and education, KBEM is a program of the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Approximately 150 students annually participate in KBEM’s hands-on educational program, which focuses on all aspects of broadcasting and production. Students who develop their skills and select broadcasting experience can gain significant on-air time. The station is on-air 24/7 with 35 hours of student programming each week, with live professional announcers and pre-recorded, syndicated programming filling out the rest of the schedule. KBEM is the only station in the Twin Cities market which offers a jazz format and officially provides MN-DOT traffic reports.

KBEM was initially established at Minneapolis Vocational High School in the 1960s. The station was moved to North High School in 1983 as a part of the District’s desegregation initiative and it continues to reside there today. The vast majority of KBEM students attend North High School.


Caption: Acme Big Band
1 Piece

This progam features Minnesota Big Bands, including the Nova Big Band, the Acme Big Band and the University of Minnesota. Twenty-five Big Bands in Minnesota have recorded CDs. Interviews with local Big Band personalities are presented occasionally.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2010
Caption: PRX default Series image
3 Pieces

Minneapolis high school students script and read 60-second pieces based on research into important figures in African American history.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Feb 11, 2010
Caption: PRX default Series image
4 Pieces

"Classic Jazz MN" is a series exploring Minnesota's classic jazz roots. The series includes shows on Doc Evans, Doc Evans at the Walker Art Center, Preservation Hall Era and the Emporium of Jazz. Written and produced by Butch Thompson. Co-produced by Todd Melby.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Nov 23, 2011
Caption: Jazz At MPS with Josh Jones and the Dynamics
24 Pieces

Jazz music from students in the Minneapolis Public Schools.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Jul 24, 2013
Caption: South High School Jazz Band-director/Scott Carter with guest Irvin Mayfield
6 Pieces

Jazz at South High features music from past and present South High Jazz Ensembles and brand new recordings by the South High Jazz Combo. Each week's show will feature never before heard performances of the South High Jazz Combo that are recorded at South High.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Jan 03, 2013
Caption: KBEM Jazz 88 FM, Credit: http://www.jazz88fm.com
4 Pieces

The Twin Cities Jazz Society annually presents a series of concerts by local artists. Jazz 88 chose six of these concerts to record for broadcast.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Apr 12, 2010
Caption: Butch at the Steinway, Credit: Ross Ayoka
4 Pieces

Butch Thompson hosts this program that features original jazz recordings and the occasional live performance.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Apr 24, 2011
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12 Pieces

Long-form interviews and performances by Minnesota musicians

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Nov 14, 2018
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12 Pieces

Junctions & Sidetracks, the story behind the creation of Empire Builder a musical about a time traveling train. Conversations about family, history, race and forgiveness. Music by George Mauer. Libretto by Ann Bertram. Funded by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Mar 28, 2019
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31 Pieces

From humble beginnings in 1970, KBEM-FM has become the most powerful and longest-lasting radio station owned by a Minnesota school district, and one of the nation’s leading broadcast voices for jazz. Explore the people, places and events that have shaped KBEM’s first 50 years in this audio series.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: May 02, 2022

Latest Pieces

Caption: Mississippi Hot Club, Credit: Matt Lien
Great dance bands are often great concert bands. But you approach the different types of venues with slightly different strategies. Members of the ...

  • Added: Jan 21, 2017
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Tom Loftus, Credit: Chris McDuffie
The Cedar Commissions presents two nights of new music this weekend. Over two nights, six composers will present works never played previously. The...

  • Added: Jan 16, 2017
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Stanley Kipper, Credit: Miles Kipper
When you see the New Primitives, you’re seeing a band that is a master at creating and maintaining a great vibe. Stanley Kipper helped start the ba...

  • Added: Jan 14, 2017
  • Length: 08:29
Caption: Stanley Kipper, Credit: Miles Kipper
The New Primitives. The group is a 4-time winner of the Minnesota Music Academy award winners for best reggae and world band. And the group perform...

  • Added: Jan 13, 2017
  • Length: 05:01
Caption: Nick Jordan, Credit: Moriah Ziman
Nick Jordan is a contemporary rhythm and blues and pop artist who has a handle on all phases of his act, including songwriting, singing, and dancin...

  • Added: Jan 09, 2017
  • Length: 07:06
Caption: Oudyano, Credit: Margie O'Loughlin
Who would have thought that an Arabic music based oud player and an American pianist schooled in jazz and roots traditions could interact musically...

  • Added: Jan 07, 2017
  • Length: 06:01
Caption: Oudyano, Credit: Margie O'Loughlin
We live in an era where most people have multiple music styles available to them. On top of that, there is so much travel, that players representin...

  • Added: Jan 06, 2017
  • Length: 04:59
Caption: Poster for Blackout, Credit: Frank Cage
The Cedar Cultural Center hosts Blackout, a concert featuring local artists. The intents are to entertain, but also to serve to get people together...

  • Added: Dec 29, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Kate Lynch, Credit: Drew Shonka
Everybody loves the pop music of 1920-1955, but it takes commitment to research and present it. But that’s the mission of Kate Lynch and Her Most E...

  • Added: Dec 23, 2016
  • Length: 06:58
Caption: Jazz 88 logo, Credit: Tim Nyberg (Octane Creative)
Cedric Fuller and Global Sound. It’s a group from the Twin Cities that picks up from the combinations of soul, rhythm and blues,l funk and jazz th...

  • Added: Dec 17, 2016
  • Length: 06:02