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date: 07 December 2019

Conover, Willis (Clark, Jr. )locked

  • Gary W. Kennedy


(Clark, Jr. )

(b Buffalo, Dec 18, 1920; d Alexandria, VA, May 17, 1996). American disc jockey. He began his broadcasting career as a freshman in college, then won an amateur announcing contest in Washington, DC (1939), and worked in that area until 1942, when he was drafted. While stationed in the Washington area he worked part-time at WWDC until his discharge in February 1946 and full-time thereafter. He broadcast his first show, “Music USA,” for Voice of America (VOA) in January 1955, a program he continued until his death. Conover worked as an independent contractor, not as a government employee, and his contract stipulated that the music on his program be of his own choosing. “Music USA” presented mainly jazz and reached into the Eastern-bloc nations, where it had a profound and at times revolutionary musical impact; VOA estimates that at the height of the Cold War his audiences comprised over 100 million listeners. An irony behind his position as a VOA announcer, and unquestionably the world’s most famous jazz disc jockey, is that VOA broadcasts are not allowed to be heard in the USA; one wonders what impact he would have had on American audiences. He first visited Warsaw in ...

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L. Feather and I. Gitler: The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies (New York, 1976/R1987)
Jazz Times (Washington, 1980-)
Down Beat