LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX18) — For more than a decade, the annual Smooth Jazz Fest in Lexington has been an event both jazz musicians and jazz music lovers alike look forward to, but of course, this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that.
Now, one of the driving forces behind that festival is finding a way to not only rebound but reach an even bigger audience to make sure no one is starved for quality entertainment during this trying time.
In a small studio off Winchester Road, there is a digital broadcast station with a big reach. CEO Lil Jojo started F&F Communications three years ago, playing gospel and old school music, creating a space for genres not widely represented in the area.
Jojo said, "I've been wanting to do this for years, and when the door finally opened up it's great. Let me say that it's great to see people getting what they are wanting and what they are liking."
Debbie Cole has long known Jojo and was already a fan of what he was doing, but now, as fate would have it, she is finding herself right in the middle of it.
"I didn't want to do it at first, and then, with this pandemic, I thought well you know this could be a good thing, " Debbie Cole said.
The opportunity to start a jazz broadcast under the F&F umbrella came about the same time COVID-19 began to wreak havoc on events and performances across the nation, including Lexington's Smooth Jazz Fest that Cole helps organize as part of the African American Forum. So, she took the opportunity to take her love of jazz music to the airwaves to continue delivering the same entertainment and giving an outlet to local jazz musicians during this dire time.
"This jazz piece of this radio station kinda fit in because I was kind of in between... what do I do to fill my time, " Cole explained.
Now, she says not only are they reaching the local audience in Lexington, but people all over the country and even the globe are tuning in.
"When you go on the web you're worldwide, and so the way this station is set up we can monitor who's listening in the UK, Canada and the United States, " Cole said.
Cole said an announcement about the Jazz Fest will be made soon, but for now she is looking at the pandemic as an opportunity to re-set and spread music and a message of representation to as many people as possible.
"What really interests me most is the voice you can have. With everything going on it's not just about the music, " Cole explained. "We have still another platform of what's going on in Lexington, and then the world can hear it and say this is from Lexington."
Cole is live on WJAZ every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9pm-11pm and Sundays at 3pm.
Music on all three stations is broadcast 7 days a week, 365 days a year. To access them all head to www.ffclex.com.