KBEM

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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.

Series

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20 Pieces

Joan Griffith, Twin Cities musician and educator, has conversations with prominent Minnesota jazz musicians.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: May 25, 2016
Caption: Joan Griffith, Credit: Ann Marsen
20 Pieces

Joan Griffith, Twin Cities guitar player and educator, interviews Minnesota jazz artists.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: May 27, 2016
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13 Pieces

Minneapolis Public School teachers talk with Kevin O'Connor about their accomplishments.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Jul 14, 2011
Caption: Leigh Kamman, Credit: Andrea Canter
57 Pieces

During his 60-plus years in jazz broadcasting, Leigh Kamman conducted hundreds of interviews with jazz artists, including many from the Minnesota scene. These are being preserved and edited by the Leigh Kamman Legacy Project and presented as The Jazz Image: Minnesota Edition, a continuation of the The Jazz Image: Special Edition series. These projects are part of the process of preserving and sharing the massive archive of historical recordings he left when he passed away in October 2014.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Caption: Leigh Kamman, Credit: Andrea Canter
14 Pieces

Minnesota jazz broadcasting legend Leigh Kamman conducted hundreds of interviews with jazz artists, including some of jazz's illustrious figures. Now, these treasures have been lovingly preserved and edited into a new series of broadcasts, The Jazz Image: Special Edition. These recordings preserve priceless conversation Leigh Kamman had with such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan and Stan Kenton. In his ninth decade, Kamman adds fresh commentary to round out these 5 minute broadcasts, 13 in all in this series.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Jan 14, 2014
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791 Pieces

5 to 8-minute, highly produced heads-ups highlighting great musical activities in the Twin Cities broadly conceived. The pieces feature the musicians, their music, club owners, fans, in short all of those responsible for creating musical experiences.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2019
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0 Pieces

Viva City, Festival of the Arts, was initiated thirteen years ago as a way to showcase arts education in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). In this pod cast, we feature the musical portion of Viva City from the Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minneapolis.

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: May 29, 2011
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31 Pieces

Minneapolis High School Students comment on Minnesota Arts, Culture and History

  • From: KBEM
  • Updated: Aug 24, 2011

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