Rick O’Dell’s “Sunday Brunch,” the show that introduced smooth jazz to Chicago in 1987 and ran for 25 years on three local stations, is making a comeback on terrestrial radio.
Starting this weekend, “The Sunday Jazz Brunch” will air from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays on WDCB FM 90.9, the west suburban College of DuPage public radio station.
“We’re excited to have a consummate pro like Rick O’Dell on board as part of our jazz announcing team,” Dan Bindert, station manager of WDCB, said in a statement Monday. “His passion for the music is infectious, and he’ll set the perfect mood for a Sunday show.”
As it has since its inception at the former WCLR, the show will feature a mellow mix of contemporary jazz instrumentals and vocals, including such well-known artists as Bob James, David Sanborn, George Benson and Ramsey Lewis. At the outset, O'Dell will produce the show for WDCB from his studio, but may take it on the road in the future.
Along with his loyal and passionate audience, O’Dell brought his "Sunday Brunch" first to WNUA FM 95.5 and later to the former WLFM LP 87.7, doubling as midday personality and program director at both stations. In 2012, he launched SmoothJazzChicago.net, a free 24/7 streaming digital station.
“Chicago listeners, with their insatiable desire for this music, deserve to be able to hear it on conventional radio,” O’Dell said of his agreement with WDCB. “I’m grateful to Dan Bindert for the chance to be part of his weekend lineup.”
O’Dell recently expanded his franchise by teaming up with Hubbard Radio to simulcast his format on WTMX 101.9 HD2, the secondary digital audio channel linked with the modern adult contemporary station.
A lifelong Chicagoan and graduate of Lyons Township High School and the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, O’Dell began his career in the western suburbs at WKDC in Elmhurst and at WAUR/WMRO in Aurora. So in a way, his move to Glen Ellyn-based WDCB brings him full circle.
Since Bindert was named station manager of WDCB last October, he has increased hours of jazz programming on the schedule across the board. Also starting this week, the station will bring back Marian McPartland's “Piano Jazz,” airing selected tapes of old shows at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. McPartland died in August at age 95.
Following O’Dell’s “Sunday Brunch,” the rest of the station’s Sunday lineup will feature Scott Adams' “The Sounds of Brazil” from 2 to 4 p.m.; Victor and Connie Parra’s “Mambo Express” from 4 to 6 p.m.; Bill O’Connell’s “New Vintage” from 6 to 7 p.m.; “The Wayne Messmer Radio Show” from 7 to 8 p.m.; “WDCB Jazz” from 8 to 10 p.m.; and Marshall Vente’s “Jazz Tropicale” from 10 p.m. to midnight.