The KBEM Story
Licensed to the Minneapolis Board of Education, KBEM broadcasts from North High School in Minneapolis and is one of the few radio stations in the United States to train high school students in broadcast communications with Jazz as a key platform for the educational experience. KBEM is one of only 30 full time Jazz radio stations left in the United States.
KBEM has the privilege of teaching Minneapolis Public School students how to broadcast on the radio. Educating students and the community is the priority. These students are fortunate to have this unique and exceptional educational opportunity in a diverse and highly competitive major market. Students learn more than just how to run a radio show. They research, write and work as a team. The kids thrive and listeners can hear them build hope, pride and self-confidence as they discover a new way of seeing themselves. One former student wrote, "I learned how to communicate with people."
Jazz is America’s original art form and KBEM is dedicated to making it not only survive, but also grow and flourish as it presents all styles of jazz to listeners: Mainstream and Vocal, Be-Bop and Big Band, Latin and Traditional. Jazz 88 serves their audience with music and information listeners can’t find on other stations. The station strives to “jazz” and nurture a passionate, welcoming community of authentic music lovers. In addition to jazz, KBEM programs “genuine music” - blues, bluegrass and roots and showcases an amazing local community of musicians, vocalists, and venues. Broadcasting jazz from a high school, with students on the air and behind the scenes, makes the station truly distinctive.
Jazz88’s listeners are very devoted. Here are a few examples of their unsolicited feedback:
“Jazz88 is a beacon of light in an otherwise desolate landscape.”
"KBEM is one of the country's best jazz stations. I love the variety of jazz I experience on the station."
"I love School News and the student announcers on KBEM. They bring a smile to my face every day. I love to hear the kids’ progress in their announcing skills."
“The radio service is fabulous and the commitment to the future of our community is priceless. Thank you so much.”
“During my 20 years in public radio I haven't seen a better use of a public radio frequency.”
"Thank goodness for the student program at KBEM... it was an educational life saver for my son. He really needed the hands on experience and mentorship provided by the staff."
KBEM is the only radio station in the state to provide live traffic reports from inside MNDOT’s Regional Transportation Management Center. The traffic reporters carefully monitor over 300 freeway cameras during rush hour and provide listeners two-minute traffic reports every ten minutes. If a major traffic incident occurs, KBEM goes to continuous coverage. For example, when the 35W Bridge collapsed, KBEM broke the news first and continued to broadcast live reports for two hours straight.
Jazz88 is more than radio. It is a performance stage, recital hall, classroom and doorway to the community’s artistic life. Recognizing this important mission, it is no exaggeration to say that KBEM Radio is one of our community’s most vital cultural attractions.