Eric Jackson is widely considered the “Dean of Boston Jazz Radio”. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, raised in Camden, New Jersey and came to Boston in 1968 to attend Boston University. Eric began his broadcast career in 1969 hosting three programs offering jazz, rhythm-and-blues and what he calls “mixed music” on BU’s closed-circuit AM station, WBTU. Continuing his work in college radio, he went on to host WBUR’s The Grotto (1970) and at Harvard’s WHRB Going East (1971) before moving to the commercial airwaves and a Sunday afternoon jazz program on WILD (1972).
Jackson hosted a contemporary mixed-music show for WBCN where he also produced and hosted Third World Report, a weekly public affairs forum. In 1975 while still at WBCN, Jackson wrote and narrated Essays in Black Music, a 35-part chronology of African American musical history that aired weekly on WGBH. Jackson became a regular part of the WGBH lineup in 1977 with Artists in the Night, an overnight jazz music showcase. Eric in the Evening debuted in 1981 and with it, his emergence as one of public broadcasting’s most popular on-air personalities.
In 2006, Cambridge City Council acknowledged Jackson’s extensive knowledge of music through radio broadcasts and lectures by naming him a “Cultural Ambassador for the Arts.” Also in 2006, Eric received the National Jazz Journalists Association’s Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Excellence in Jazz Broadcasting. He was awarded Jazzweek’s Major Market Programmer of the Year in 2008. In 2010, Jackson contributed a chapter in the Leonard Brown book John Coltrane and Black America’s Quest for Freedom. Titled “Somebody Please Say, ‘Amen!’,” the chapter relates his very personal feelings when listening to the legendary Coltrane.
JazzBoston honored Jackson by presenting him with the 2011 Roy Haynes Award for exceptional contributions to jazz and the local jazz community. In 2012, Jackson received the 2012 Duke Dubois Humanitarian Award. Over the years, Jackson has hosted over 3,000 interviews with music greats ranging from Wynton Marsalis to Ornette Coleman to Dizzy Gillespie. Countless music writers and event producers routinely call upon him for inspiration and direction on their projects.
He has lectured at The Leeds College of Music in England and Boston's New England Conservatory and the Peabody- Essex Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts as well as the Museum of African American History in Boston. Additionally, he was instrumental in developing exhibits for the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
An active promoter of jazz music throughout New England and across the country, Jackson has lectured at Simmons and Wheelock Colleges and is currently a member of the Northeastern University faculty where he teaches The African American Experience Through Music.
Jackson has been recognized by the Massachusetts College of Art as one of the “100 most culturally influential Bostonians of the 20th century” and by Berklee College of Music for “advancing careers in music”. Eric accepted the JazzWeek award to WGBH for 2017 Station of the Year – 40 hours of Programming or less. WGBH celebrated Eric Jackson’s over 40 years of employment with “Eric Jackson Week” activities, April 22-29, 2018.
Eric Jackson hosts "Eric in the Evening" Friday through Sunday evenings from 9pm to midnight on 89.7 WGBH
Featuring the best in classic and contemporary jazz, as well as in-depth looks at great artists, live interviews and performances from the WGBH studios, "Eric in the Evening" is Boston radio's signature jazz program.