WTJU Jazz Profile: Rebecca Foster

Rebecca Foster brings eclectic music tastes to WTJU. Heck, one of the shows she hosts is even called Eclectic Woman. She also shares an hour of gospel every other Sunday morning during In The Spirit. And in more than two decades at WTJU, she has covered on-air shifts in each of our departments.

Despite Rebecca’s youthful energy, she is not actually seven years old. She just wanted to use the above photo for this profile.

During WTJU’s upcoming Jazz Marathon, Rebecca will be hosting two shows: “Billie Holiday” (co-hosted with her Eclectic Woman partner Eileen) and “What’s the Weather Like Today?” (blues & jazz songs about the weather). In anticipation of the Jazz Marathon, we asked Rebecca about her experience of WTJU.

What do you hope listeners take away from your upcoming Jazz Marathon shows?

On the Billie Holiday show, I hope to share my love of old recordings, listening to voices from the past and recognizing the influence this great artist continues to have. Also, I hope people will hear how much Eileen and I enjoy working together to entertain and educate our listeners. And the other show, jazz and blues songs about all kinds of weather, will be a fun and eclectic showcase of the huge range of music that fits under the umbrella of the Jazz and Blues department.

When and how did you first get involved with WTJU?

It was 1999 or 2000. Steve Kindig, of the Folk and World department, kindly invited me to sit in and be part of a show. I had always been interested in community radio and he was wonderfully encouraging.

You have hosted a wide variety of shows on WTJU… where does your eclectic music taste come from?

My parents. Our house was filled with music, from Lead Belly to Beethoven, and our own voices singing together. Those were the days when there was one record player in the house and everyone heard all the music being played.

How do you choose what you’re going to play?

Sometimes I have a theme, whether it’s topical, like election day “Music to Vote By” (named by Charles Peale of former WTJU show Rhythm and Romance), or something on my mind that I don’t explain, but let the music express for me, knowing that something about it will resonate for the listeners. I like to play new music, especially non-mainstream musicians who don’t get much exposure, but sound really good to me. And I always toss in some familiar sounds, voices and songs I know the listeners respond to.

Why have you stayed involved with WTJU for so many years?

It is a great opportunity to share and talk about music with the other very opinionated programmers and with the listeners who let me know how much they rely on this amazing resource. Organizing a show is such a rewarding creative process. I once said it’s like being Queen for a Day. The show is only a couple of hours, but the vision I get to create is something I work on for a lot more than those couple of hours.

How do you fill up your days when you’re not putting together radio shows?

I have many interests, including gardening, cooking, ceramics, knitting, reading, dancing and kayaking, but getting ready for the next show is never far from my consciousness. I am always listening, making lists, taking notes and planning.

Why should someone donate to WTJU’s Jazz Marathon?

Supporting something that offers so much to the community feels right. People who love all kinds of music know that WTJU will keep them company with stimulation, surprises and comforts. The pandemic highlighted the need for friendly voices, useful information and music to help process the confusion and stress of the unfamiliar situation. Fortunate people who can afford to contribute extra will have an opportunity to help out listeners who can’t afford to give as much as they would like to. It’s about being part of a community and there is no substitute for real community radio!

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