Willis Conover

The man with the world's richest baritone voice was known to me from the day I was born! Conover hosted Jazz Hour (& many other programs) on VOA for many years. He managed to build a very comprehensive Jazz archive and his radio programs were famous throughout the world excepting the US.
VOA had once overarchived and needed to give out some of its vinyl records and invited requests from its listeners. Dad replied, and sure enough they sent him the promised record. The quality of recording was immaculate. However, Dad wasn't too fond of it since it featured the flute as the lead instrument. Conover's autographed photo was also sent.
Dad and I were stunned when the usual familiar voice of Conover didn't greet us at the beginning of yet another Jazz Hour. I knew something was seriously wrong. The announcer then broke the sad news: Conover had died of lung cancer. It was 1996.

BTW, VOA has an absolutely hideous website.



I very much enjoyed your posting about Willis Conover. I recall listening frequently to his "Music USA" and "Jazz USA" on VOA in the late '50s and 60s. What a wonderful job he did -- and what a terrific impact he had on listeners all over the world.

I also saw your photos of Conover. How did you acquire them from the VOA? They are terrific!

As I've rambled around your blog, I've enjoyed many of the other topics you've written about.


Larry Miller
Spearfish, SD

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