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
Series image
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: jazz 88 logo, Credit: Tim Nyberg (Octane Creative)
Tabla player Marcus Wise and Guitarist Dean Magraw have one of the few musical cultural syntheses that really works. It is because the Wise/Magraw ...

  • Added: Mar 10, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Wee Willie Walker, Credit: Doug Knutson
Wee Willie Walker and We’r (We Are). Now this is one top flight blues band. The group plays the groove most people expect from a blues band, but wi...

Bought by KFAI Minneapolis


  • Added: Mar 03, 2016
  • Length: 08:49
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Wee Willie Walker, Credit: Doug Knutson
Wee Willie Walker arrived in St Paul around 1960. Willie has had and has a long career in music, including singing Doo-wop, gospel music and down-h...

Bought by KFAI Minneapolis


  • Added: Mar 03, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Switched at Birth, Credit: Tony Martini
The 2016 Winter Bluegrass Weekend, held March 4-6, 2016, heats it up no matter the temperature outside. It’s a celebration of everything bluegrass,...

  • Added: Feb 24, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Atlantis Quartet, Credit: Benny Moreno
Jazz is a tough world, and it takes perseverance. But sticking together has its rewards, and a case in point is the Atlantis Quartet, slowly but su...

  • Added: Feb 21, 2016
  • Length: 06:38
Caption: J.T. Bates, Credit: Andrea Canter
A mixture of the expected and unexpected. You could say that about all the music at the monthly Jazz at Studio Z series in St Paul. This Saturday i...

  • Added: Feb 21, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Graydon Peterson at Crooner's, Credit: Andrea Canter
Graydon Peterson is a Twin Cities-based bass player with impressive credentials especially for his composing. But he chooses to do it all. You migh...

  • Added: Feb 10, 2016
  • Length: 07:39
Caption: Graydon Peterson at Crooner's, Credit: Andrea Canter
Graydon Peterson is a local jazz composer who started out as a classical musician. But as a student, he was drawn to jazz, not only as a bassist, b...

  • Added: Feb 08, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Ginger Commodore, Credit: Tom Wallace
Ginger Commodore loves singing, and loves the songs of Stevie Wonder. It'll be two evenings filled with superlatives Feb 12-13, 2016 when she leads...

  • Added: Feb 02, 2016
  • Length: 05:00
Caption: Ginger Commodore, Credit: Tom Wallace
Ginger Commodore, a member of the famed jazz vocal group Moore By Four and experienced band leader, talks to interviewer Phil Nusbaum about the joy...

  • Added: Feb 02, 2016
  • Length: 08:25