Show Spotlight: Jazz: Beyond the Sky

Jazz: Beyond the Sky host John McCarthy profile photo 2019

As American as Jazz music and the great outdoors, author and 2017 Radio Boise Programmer of the Year John McCarthy combines two of his passions for a weekly romp through the wild frontier of contemporary Jazz. With nods and plenty of insight on its history and masters, John’s Jazz: Beyond the Sky is a station institution, and recently celebrated eight years on-air.

(Jazz: Beyond the Sky airs live every Wednesday from 9 AM – 12 PM or listen anytime on Radio Free America’s archive.)

How did you discover Radio Boise?

My friend and fellow DJ Chris Hess [host of Range Life] encouraged me to create a concept for a Jazz show and I got in at the beginning of airtime.

How long have you been hosting Jazz: Beyond the Sky? What drew you to take on this show?

Started May 11, 2011, the second month we were on the air. The opportunity to listen to great music and hang out with great people [drew me in].

For those who may not be familiar with your show, how would you describe its sound?

Predominately new Jazz, current releases and sampling the sweep of contemporary artists from traditional and standards to edgy and experimental. The albums I play multiple cuts over a few months tend to be acoustic masters, young and old, that swing and also stretch.

Do you have a ritual surrounding your show? You know, a ritual meal or a certain artist you have to play?

Always start the show with a set of vocalists, who vary week-to-week, usually new releases, sometimes classics.

What other Radio Boise shows do you listen to?

Strange Feeling, Two Ducks and a Pollywog, It’s Now Right Now, Ramblers’ Retreat, Sunday Soul Party, Spoonful, the [Monday night] Blues Block, Tennis Court Disco, Drift Correction and many more.

What other kinds of things keep you busy outside of radio?

I continue to be an advocate for wilderness and spend a lot of time in the wilderness. I also released a book in April called, Working the Wilderness: Early Leaders for Wild Lands and I’ll be on the road doing book presentations.

Why do you believe volunteering for community radio is important?

Community radio provides an audio outlet for artists from all over the world and opens the ears of listeners to high quality music. DJs get to make the connection between artists and listeners. Everyone gets to be connected to a great support team, make new friends and be involved in something of great benefit to the community.

John McCarthy hosts Jazz: Beyond the Sky every Wednesday from 9 AM- 12 PM.

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Past 2019 Show Spotlights

April: Joe Black’s Sonic Mushroom Cloud
March: Daphne’s Stanford’s The Poetry Show!
February: Joe Pollard’s Daft Manifesto
January: DJ Winkle’s Bangers and Mashups


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