Rhonda Hamilton, Jazz Broadcaster, WBGO
Rhonda Hamilton, a native New Yorker, is the host and producer of a popular jazz program which airs weekdays, 10AM - 2PM, on WBGO/Jazz 88FM in Newark, NJ.
In 1976, Ms. Hamilton graduated from Boston University's School of Public Communication, receiving a B.S. in Broadcasting and Film. She also studied acting at the Actor's Studio in Boston. She began her career in radio in 1975 as a jazz announcer/producer at WBUR-FM in Boston. She later became the music director for WBUR. At WBZ-TV in Boston, she worked as a music reviewer and commentator on the public affairs program, "Mzizi Roots."
Returning to the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area in March 1979, Ms. Hamilton came to WBGO at the station's inception and has played a key role in making Jazz 88 one of the finest and most listened to jazz stations in the world. In 1979 and 1980, she won the New York Jazz Award for Best Jazz DJ "in appreciation of a major contribution to the cultural life of our region."
In 1995 she was recognized "for her achievements in the world of jazz" as the recipient of The Ladies in Jazz Award from Mayor Giuliani of New York and the Harlem Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Hamiton's work has taken her to three continents. In 1984 she was invited to attend the first Senegalese Festival of Jazz and African Music. While in Dakar, Senegal, Ms. Hamilton was interviewed as a featured guest on a national TV news program. In 1985 she was invited to Europe by the Danish Tourist Board to document the Scandinavian jazz scene. After traveling to Brazil, Ms. Hamilton exposed the American public to various aspects of Brazilian culture--music, dance, film, food, religion, etc.--when she hosted a series of 36 programs called "Brazil/New York" which aired on WNYC-TV in 1985 and 1986.
In addition to her work at WBGO, Ms. Hamilton also does commercial and industrial voice-overs and is often called upon to host/narrate film, video and radio productions for such organizations as WNET-TV PBS/Channel 13 in New York, National Public Radio, Columbia Records and Japan Television NHK. She was the host of the nationally syndicated radio series "Big Apple Jazz", "American Women in Jazz" and "The Voices of Jazz," which she also co-produced.
Ms. Hamilton frequently hosts special music and cultural events in such historic places as the Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Beacon Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In 1993 she produced and moderated a Symposium on Women in Jazz for the Newark Jazz Festival and in 1996 she was a guest speaker on "Jazz and The Media" at the first annual Mary Lou Williams Women's Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Listen to Audio from this event here: