Speaking of Radio

Chuck Schaden's Conversations with the Stars Who Made it Golden

Interviews

Jay Andres

Recorded October 18th, 1988 - 24 min

Long-running and beloved personality on such Midwest stations as WBBM, WGN, WNIB and WDCB.  For many years he hosted “Music from Chicago” series for American Airlines. He was born October 11, 1923 and was 64 when we spoke at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. He died September 27, 2010 at age 86.

  
  
Music Til Dawn - 10/25/60 - First Half Hour

Did you enjoy the interview? Listen to Jay Andres and "Music Til Dawn" over WBBM, Chicago on October 25th,1960.

28 Comments

  1. Todd Spoeri says... comment left on May 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I was working the night shift in radio and TV in Youngstown, Ohio. After my shift ended, I returned to the apartment I shared with a TV director (I was very young on-air “talent”), wound down a bit with MTD, then went to bed and fell asleep with the greatest radio show I ever heard. Gawd, how I miss it!

  2. George Saltzberg, M.D. says... comment left on July 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Wouldn’t have made it through medical school at the University of Illinois College of Medicine on Polk St in Chicago. His program was an island of peace in an otherwise stressful world. Great voice. Great music. Every time I hear “That’s All” I think of Jay Andres and Nat King Cole. Great memories.

  3. Jeff Mark says... comment left on August 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Similarly, I survived many an “all-nighter” while at Marquette University and U of I in Champaign with Jay and Music Til Dawn in the background. I can’t imagine studying these days in this world of ever-increasing noise and distractions. I loved his comments about the beautiful season of Fall. Many of today’s students won’t even know when Fall arrives unless they receive a “Tweet” informing them.

  4. Tom Overall says... comment left on November 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I listened to Jay Andres’ “Music Till Dawn” from beginning to end. He was my ‘Standard’ and motivation when I began Classical Music hosting in Birmingham, AL in 1958. I was also an engineer, and would frequently pull maintenance after my ‘Board’ shift (6-12PM) I would listen to WBBM while doing my work, much to the discomfort of the Late Shift man. I finally let him hear the dulcet tones of Jay and peace was made. My style was that of Jay, but never my voice. Jay told me over the phone, when I was 15 or 16, that I should never have a problem as a Classical host. I cherish that still! My daughter told me that I sounded like ‘The Man From Chicago’ and I was greatly impressed and delighted.
    There will never be another Jay Andres.

  5. roger davenport says... comment left on December 9, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Jay Andres taught me music. I was from a little mid-west farming community and listend to Jay’s show, soaking up all that great music. I remember the enthusiasm and the joy he projected. It was absolutely inspirational. Many of the tunes I heard on Jay’s show I Iater performed in the forty years I worked as a trombone player in the St.Louis Symphony. I wish I would have been able to thank him in person.
    Thanks Jay.

  6. Robert Roux says... comment left on December 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Jay Andres was without a doubt the biggest inspiration leading to my musical career of over five decades as a concert pianist and currently a music professor at Rice University. For over ten years beginning in the mid-50s, most nights I was glued to a transistor radio under my pillow while presumably sleeping; in those days, WBBM put out quite a strong signal into the New Orleans area where I grew up. The reward for listening was priceless; I was learning much of the standard classical repertoire, savoring Andres’ intimately communicative and soothing (dulcet indeed!) voice, and imbibing his joy and great love of the things that ever since have truly mattered to me in this life. Those of us who remember Jay Andres as I do will never forget him. Wherever you may be, Jay, I hope you are hearing my heartfelt thanks.

  7. David A. Powell says... comment left on December 23, 2012 at 8:01 am

    The immeasurable accomplishment of Jay Andres – in addition to providing very good company for “night people” – was to introduce countless people to a kind of music shunned by the majority as “elitist” and what used to be called “highbrow”.

    As a teenager, during the mid-1960’s, I listened religiously to “Music Til Dawn” … but what Andres gave me more than anything else was the feeling that I was not totally alone with my love for classical music (the public library in my mid-sized Arkansas town fortunately had a wonderful library of classical music recordings, which, as a child, I had curiously explored to the limit). Also, as a teenager, I wrote to Andres (I forget about just what) – and got one of the kindest letters I have ever received from anyone in reply.

    In the meantime, classical music is still seen as an elitist affair – a situation which has a long history – not to mention a set of causes easily accessable mainly to specialists. Briefly, to say that the educational system has failed to expose people to classical music is highly inaccurate when set againt the fact that classical music was never really on the educational agenda to begin with. This is precisely what made people like Jay Andres so invaluable (why they are still invaluable): he had the great gift to introduce people to something they barely knew existed – and they came away loving it.

    Among the handful of “important people” in my life, Jay Andres remains one of the most prominent.

  8. David A. Powell says... comment left on December 26, 2012 at 10:15 am

    PS – I’d like to add a postscript to what I’ve written above – what I neglected to say (partly because I was so moved to hear the audio clip of Jay Andres on the air again after all these years…). I really appreciate the effort which has been put into keeping the memory of Jay Andres’ accomplishments alive – things which went far beyond being a great radio personality. Simply, Andres changed people’s lives because he openly shared much of what he genuinely felt was finally worthwhile in life. So – many thanks to everyone involved in making this material available. It’s important that someone like Jay Andres is remembered for a long time to come.

  9. John K. Mackenzie says... comment left on July 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    While walking down Madison Avenue in 1952 I passed what was then CBS headquarters at 485 Madison. As I was looking for a job I went in and wound up talking to Jim Flood in the employment office. Jim got me a job in the mailroom which, in those days, was where many new employees started. It seems to me that from there I went to the Traffic Department for about six months. Not sure how it happened but I then became a WCBS director working on Music ‘Til Dawn with Bob Hall.

    It should be said that I really didn’t “direct” anything or anyone but just made sure that all the music recordings got to the studio and all the commercials were delivered. I think an associate named Hank Basayne actually selected the music. I do recall that I joined some sort of ‘directors union’. I have no idea whatever happened to that.

    The job started around 11:30 p.m. and ended about 6:00 the following morning. As I was a young man in my twenties the hours didn’t bother me. By noon I was up and around with the rest of the day available.

    Those were good days!

  10. Richard B says... comment left on August 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I would listen to “Music til Dawn” when I was in college and I was never able to stay awake listening because Jay Andres had such a mellow toned voice it would put me to sleep. I only wish we still had a radio station like WGN was with the air talent that made people relax and forget about their troubles.

  11. Jane MacKenzie says... comment left on August 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    My eyes filled with tears after listening to that interview, knowing that Jay Andres is gone and those wonderful days won’t be coming back. I worked for American Airlines for 41 years and always felt proud listening to Mr Andres singing the praises of American. They really deserved it in those days. Thank you, Chuck for bringing it all back, at least for a little while.

  12. Steve Ember says... comment left on October 25, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    May I second everything that has been posted about Jay Andres – but also the eloquence of Jane MacKenzie, as she expressed such poignant thoughts regarding that very classy era, not only in terms of radio but also certain of our domestic airlines. How far we (sadly) have come.

    But, if there’s one positive thing to be said of reaching one’s golden years, it is that we are old enough to have experienced those times, even if a fuller appreciation does not dawn until later, when comparing them with what ensued.

    I fondly remember – and your air check of Jay hosting MTD makes it all the more vivid – as a very young classical music broadcaster in Washington, I would end my shift at midnight, go out to my 1963 Ford Galaxie 500, and tune its superb AM radio to WBBM for my homeward drive. The one-hour time zone offset meant I could hear that swelling orchestral fanfare and the friendly rich baritone of Jay Andres…”American Airlines greets you with Music ‘Til Dawn.” Talk about making the night magical…and sounding like it was a local station…

    Of course, Jay had the kind of voice that transcended any reception issues and his companionable style absolutely engaged the listener. The voice, delivery, and music were a rare match. Jay Andres was an inspiration and would become a role model for me as I matured as a broadcaster.

    The concept of Music ‘Til Dawn was exceptional as well, in that – unlike most “classical” programming – it presented quite “accessible” classical music, but also integrated other quality types of music – lush instrumentals and the like – that would fall between the cracks as radio changed and became so format-bound.

    And listening to MTD also enhanced my admiration for CR Smith’s American Airlines, such was the close identification of this classy program with one of America’s then-proudest, classiest legacy carriers.

    My first flight on American was in 1963, and while, as an airplane lover, I was star-struck with the appearance and sound of the shiny silver and orange Lockheed jet-prop “Electra II Mainliner” as it approached the terminal, I must say another sound was intertwined in my mind with that of the big Allison turboprops – and continued to be for years whenever I’d board an AA Electra – the swelling open to “That’s All” and the voice of Jay Andres introducing Music ‘Til Dawn.

    Thanks so much for these great memories.

  13. Steve Ember says... comment left on October 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Oops – In returning to listen once again to the Jay Andres clips, I just realized I inadvertently revealed my “dual loyalties” to American and United, both of which airlines I was traveling on at the time, both of which were quite classy indeed.

    As those familiar with the two carriers in that era know, United called their various airliners “Mainliner.” American’s term was “Flagship.” Thus, I meant to refer to the American Airlines Electra II Flagship!

    But I meant every other word I wrote!

  14. Jerry Vision says... comment left on March 8, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    When I studied, in both high school and college, Jay Andres Music Til Dawn was for me an oasis of tranquility in a bustling world. I studied to it every night, relaxed to it, drove down the outer drive to it, lived for it. I still miss it, but I’m grateful for the few years, and to Jay Andre, it was a formative experience of my youth.

  15. Larry LeBlanc says... comment left on April 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Listened to Music Til Dawn late nights while in high school in Oklahoma City. WBBM put out a strong AM clear channel out of Chicago. KRLD in Dallas. 240 miles south of OKC, also did MTD but wasn’t Jay Andres. Wish there were recordings of Jay Andres’ American Airlines commercial spots which were “classics” in themselves, sandwiched in between the late night (or early morning!) classical music play list selections. Recently scored two original MTD Columbia record albums on EBAY. Long playing pre-stereo originals (1)Sy Mann album Vol I # cms/css386 and (2) Vol 2 #css 671 produced by Lyman Clardy.

  16. Walter Fullmer says... comment left on June 22, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    What a pleasure to come across this web site. Jay Andres had one of the finest voices in broadcasting. Music Til Dawn was a unique concept in radio which, to my knowledge,has never been duplicated. During the late 1950’s in Wisconsin and while attending Drake University in Des Moines Iowa in the 1960’s, I was a regular listener. Over the years I did hear other versions of MTD but Jays’ was the best, by far. My first jet flight from Chicago to San Francisco was on American Airlines and it was fantastic.

    Again, thank you for the opportunity to hear That’s All and the wonderful voice of Jay Andres.

  17. Ian Sutton says... comment left on August 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I became a big fan of classical music and learned most of it from Jay Andres during my teens way up here in Canada (near Ottawa). I made myself a pillow speaker so I could listen all night…even after I fell asleep I guess. Jay Andres was marvelous…did the news and the American Airlines commercials, as well as intro the music. I got into radio in the ’60s (mainly news) and managed a Canadian classical station for five years in the ’80s. Occasionally listened to Bob Hall out of WCBS when WBBM’s clear-channel signal sometimes faded. Two great broadcasters! Thanks for the sample of MTD…bring back very fond memories from 60-some years ago.

  18. Norm Lipson says... comment left on September 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    When I was a rabbinic student at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio during the late ’60s, I would listen to Music till Dawn as well as a similar program sponsor by Holiday Inn with the hostess: Dolly Holiday. It was wonderful music peppered with commercials for, what else? Holiday Inn!

    Those were and are wonderful memories- after 40+ years they still bring a smile to my heart!

  19. Ian Sutton says... comment left on December 12, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Oh wow! Does this bring back memories from the 1950 and ‘6os. I lost a lot of sleep as teenager listening to Jay Andres from WBBM, Chicago, way up in my small hometown in Canada (near Ottawa). But I learned too much about great music and about broadcasting from that superb voice of MTD. When the WBBM signal occasionally faded, I picked up the program with Bob Hall from WCBS, another great. (I had a small speaker under my pillow, so often listened all night long!) To hear the opening theme with Jay introing the show makes me think I’m back home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, and age 17 again. Most of my friends were listening to pop and rock back then. I was open-minded and still have eclectic tastes. Now they’re listening to classical music too. I went into radio in the early ’60s — I’m sure largely inspired by Jay Andres — and once programmed and managed a classical music station. But I spent most of my 52-year career in radio and major newspaper newsrooms. I retired at 73 in August of 2013. Thanks again for making this available. [email protected]

  20. David Loewen says... comment left on March 12, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Music ‘Til Dawn was definitely before my time, having aired only until 1970. But I can definitely appreciate the thoughtful, personable approach and relaxed delivery of late-night radio hosts like Jay Andres. This kind of program would probably be too low-key for daytime listening, but it does create a peaceful yet engaging atmosphere in the late night/early morning hours. Seems like radio was classier and more respectful to the listener back then.

    While I never heard Jay Andres “live”, I am a long-time listener to Nightsounds with Bill Pearce – another late-night radio program that originated out of the Chicago area. Nightsounds was a 30-minute format that focused on spiritual themes and Christian music, but also played classical music from time to time. It was produced until 2007, but still re-airs in some cities.

    I thought some folks out there might find it interesting that Bill Pearce credits Music ‘Til Dawn as his inspiration for the format of Nightsounds. He mentioned this on the program titled ‘The Source’. From his work and studio locations, I’m pretty sure he was talking about the Jay Andres broadcast. You can definitely hear the resemblence between the two. (Nightsounds programs can be heard on http://www.nightsoundsradio.org).

    While anybody can play records or read a script, it takes a special talent to create an enjoyable program that connects with the audience like these guys did. I miss this kind of stuff on the air and hope somebody brings it back. I find a lot of modern radio either boring, negative, or just a lot of noise. Anyway, if anyone out there has any other recordings of Music ‘Til Dawn like this, please do share with the rest of us! Thank you.

  21. Dick Albright says... comment left on January 15, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Wrote the only fan letter of my life to Jay as I was graduating from the U of I in Champaign in 1961. My appreciation was for his smooth commentary and the classical music that helped “get me thru the night”– late studies and ID design projects that often required “all nighters”.
    He even answered me and his letter may be tucked away in a secure folder.

    Also listened late on my weekend photog job at Illini Studios that brought me home after midnight driving back from neighboring U’s shooting Frat and Sorority dances. Late return drives after dates or carousing in the Windy City Near North area (especially the Outer Drive) and back to Downers Grove was always accompanied by Jay.

    My music days in the grades, HS and coll. on piano and the French Horn were always renewed as I listened to his classics and the other “muzak instrumentals” of the day. His theme “That’s All” was naturally my fave as it opened with the horns–“I can only give you love that lasts forever…”. And of course sponsor AA was THE prime airline. Graduation led to Navy Preflight and then flying from carrier decks…far and away from Jay’s mellow voice (RIP) and music…to WestPac.

  22. Don Dickerson says... comment left on February 21, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    First heard Jay Andres in 1954 in Kankakee late night after playing dances in a band we called Mac’s Mob.” After that I always listened to his “Music Til Dawn” show on WBBM through high school and in to college. I was fortunate enough to meet Jay some years later in Chicago. I was at a George Shearing performance and when I met George afterwards he introduced me to Jay Andres. Two dreams come true at once.

  23. Bryan Thalhammer says... comment left on April 29, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    My Dad used to listen to these late night shows, especially Franklyn MacCormack, Jay Andres and John Doremus. He used to kid me about my love of Beethoven, Brahms, Bach and of course Mahler. He used to say, “Das is die Musik für die Toten” (Music for the Dead). Well, he used to listen to the music on these shows to go to sleep with radio, and I would hear it through the walls and later on cassette tapes. Now, when I hear the themes such as introducing MTD, Music Through the Night, and Torch Hour, I shed a tear, since that music is associated with the old days in the early 60s before things got crazy.

  24. Carl Childress says... comment left on July 7, 2016 at 4:17 am

    I was a drama student at Baylor in 1955 when I first started listening to Jay. I was hooked. Sundays were my favorite. Jay always gave the score of major college football games. And some that were not so major. I’m sure that’s where most college listeners first heard of Slippery Rock college.

  25. Don Dickerson says... comment left on August 28, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Noticed that “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” was played by Jay at beginning of the program.That song was nominated in 1964 for best song at Cannes and so the 1960 date of this “Music Til Dawn” show may not be accurate. Suggest 1964 or 1965.Great interview.Thanks.

  26. Ian Whitaker says... comment left on October 9, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Jay andres is my grandfather. I have enjoyed reading your truly kind comments, as I know my grandfather would. Whenever Im thinking of him I listen to some of his old on air interveiws. My personal favorite is of him doing an interveiw with dizzy.I Thank you on my grandfathers behalf.

  27. Steve says... comment left on October 24, 2016 at 11:20 am

    I started listening to Jay starting in the mid-1970’s on WGN when I was in my 20’s. I didn’t know about his WBBM experience and I will go back and listen to the WBBM audio segment here. I have never heard an interview with him before. I enjoyed hearing about his background including his WW-II service. He speaks of late-night radio being a “perfect vehicle” for his type of program and I kind of think it is, and maybe could be again. The interview also has some wise commentary on how how he made classical music more accessible to a wider audience — was mostly a rock listener when I started tuning in. But, to my surprise, I liked it. I am also pleased to see the recent comment by a grandson. Thank you for making this interview available.

  28. Jim Peters says... comment left on October 25, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    How I miss Jay’s voice. Wonderful to discover this website…today was the first time I’ve heard Jay’s voice in @26 years. I’d wake to Jay and WFMT each morning during my first year of law school. It was like having a good elderly friend giving you the gentlest possible wake-up. It is difficult to articulate the love I had for his work…but many of you fellow posters have done just that. Thank you!