Bill Hillgrove’s love of Jazz started in high school when he and a buddy began to frequent Jazz concerts with Dave Brubeck and the Four Freshmen. It has continued throughout his life as an announcer on WDUQ-FM and Jazz Beat on WQED-TV and now with Pittsburgh’s Jazz station, WZUM, 1550 AM and 88.1 FM. Listen to Mr. Hillgrove all day Saturday. Mr. Hillgrove’s fifth year begins on July 4.
“Working with WZUM takes me back to my youth,” relates Mr. Hillgrove. As a student at Duquesne University, he spun jazz recordings on WDUQ radio and volunteered at WQED during its earliest days doing grip work. Knowing his extensive background in Jazz, the executive producer asked Mr. Hillgrove to host WQED’s famed “Jazz Beat,” which brought Jazz artists locally and from around the country to perform at the station for the local audience. Performers included Joe Negri, Johnny Costa, The Sillouettes, Oscar Peterson, and Ron Anthony.
As Mr. Hillgrove began traveling with the Steelers and Pitt Basketball through sports announcing, he visited Jazz clubs in every city getting to know many of the most famous Jazz artists of the time.