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J. Michael Harrison

Jazz Host

Born in Philadelphia within walking distance of Temple University, J. Michael Harrison’s musical open-mindedness was shaped by his older brother John, a guitarist, and his cousin, the drummer Harry “Butch” Reed. In grade school he was listening to Sly, Funkadelic, Miles, Herbie, Monk, Santana, and Coltrane, as well as Iron Butterfly, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and Zappa.

His first show was WPEB’s Is That Jazz in 1993. He met artists from Philadelphia, New York, and beyond as he experimented with progressive, diverse, and adventurous programming. That continued for more than three years, but in 1994 he came to WRTI as a production volunteer. He filled in for Ludwig Van Trikt on Point of Departure, and then in 1996 started his own show, The Bridge, which continues to this day.

The Bridge won Philadelphia Magazine’s "Best Radio Program "award in 2002, and in 2007 Philadelphia City Paper called it the “Best On-Air Reminder That Jazz Didn’t Die in 1965.” The Philadelphia Clef Club made him a Stakeholder in 2016, and in 2017 the Jazz Journalist Association named him a "Jazz Hero."

J. Michael Harrison has taught classes in jazz at Rowan University, The Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill, and in the Free Library of Philadelphia. Since 2008 he has taught music journalism at the University of the Arts. He has lectured at Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania, has written liner notes, has sat on and moderated numerous panels, has curated series, produced events, and hosted concerts in Philadelphia, NJ, New York City, and New Orleans.  He was executive producer on Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s Brotherzone CD in 1999. He works closely with the Philadelphia Jazz Project. “Music is truly my sanctuary,” he says.

Mike can be heard on Mondays and Tuesday from 9 pm to midnight, and Fridays from 10 pm to 2 am.