KBEM

StationAccount image
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.

Series

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: Gerry Swanberg, Credit: Jan Swanberg
Next Sunday there’s a free festival where everybody can enjoy performances by six of our area’s finest big bands. It’s the 25th annual Festival of ...

  • Added: May 15, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Charmin Michelle, Credit: JuliAnne Jonker
The key to a long-running big band dance is consistency and attention to details. That’s always been true of the Jerry O’Hagen Orchestra. Vocalist ...

  • Added: May 14, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Jennifer Grimm, Credit: Nathan Nelson
Jennifer Grimm playing with players who know her, because the greater the experience, the more fun they have. And the more fun they have challengin...

  • Added: May 09, 2016
  • Length: 07:16
Caption: Jennifer Grimm, Credit: Nathan Nelson
Kick back and expect the unexpected: That’s Sunday evenings at the Station in White Bear, as Jennifer Grimm and band host an evening of audience re...

  • Added: May 08, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Kari Tauring, Credit: Eli Solheim
Kari Tauring is a leading researcher and performer of ancient Norse traditions, but she uses them in healing sessions. Hers is a point of view that...

  • Added: May 04, 2016
  • Length: 09:22
Caption: Kari Tauring, Credit: Eli Solheim
Kari Tauring performs really old music in a really modernistic way. It’s a combination you wouldn’t expect, but is completely natural to someone li...

  • Added: May 04, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Charmin Michelle, Credit: JuliAnne Jonker
There’s a lot to be said for working with the same musicians over the years. That’s the case with Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira. Joel Shapira t...

  • Added: May 01, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Piece image
It’s a challenge to be a full-time jazz musician. But challenging or not, that’s what Joel Shapira does. He does it by becoming expert at many phas...

  • Added: May 01, 2016
  • Length: 08:01
Caption: Pee Wee Russell, Credit: William P. Gottlieb
Pee Wee Russell, who asserted a part-Cherokee background, stands as one of most innovative clarinet players in jazz.

Bought by WTJU, WDSE, WTJU, and WDSE


  • Added: Apr 27, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Max Roach, Credit: Albert Kok
Best known as a bebop player, Max Roach (of Tuscarora ancestry) was named a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master in 1984.

Bought by WTJU, WDSE, and WTJU


  • Added: Apr 27, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 3