Chuck Cecil at his home studio in Ventura.
by Richard Lieberman
Chuck Ceci,l whose radio show “The Swinging Years” had run for more than 50 years has died at age 97. He died on April 30th still broadcasting his syndicated radio show. In 1942 he briefly hosted his first radio show for a small radio station. Shortly after he was drafted and served in WWII, where he worked in pilot training.
After the war, Cecil settled down in Oregon and re-started his radio career. He became the announcer for “Baldy’s Band” a popular band. He married the group’s vocalist, Edna Brown, in 1947. In 1952 he joined Los Angeles radio station KFI and he worked at KFI from 1952 until 1973.
Cecil joined Los Angeles radio station KGIL-Am and KPRZ and worked at the station from the 1960s through the 1980s. At the same time, Cecil hosted the “Big Band Countdown” for Armed Forces Radio which spread his love for jazz around the world.
During the same period, he launched the show he was most known for “The Swinging Years” in 1956 while still at KFI. He retired, hanging up his earphones in 2016. At its peak, the show was aired on hundreds of radio stations nationwide.
The Breeze interviewed Cecil at his home in Ventura a few years back. He described to the Breeze how his show “The Swinging Years” was now produced at his home utilizing a vast library of recorded jazz titles which at one time held more than 30,000 78, 45 and 33-RPM records. He also had amassed a library of over 356 interviews with band leaders, singers, and band members.
The show has continued in syndication until his passing. In recent years Cecil had discovered a new audience of jazz lovers via streaming media.
Here at the Breeze we will miss our dear friend and will always remember his contributions to the world of jazz. Our heartfelt condolences to his widow Edna Brown and family. Goodbye, Chuck, we know we will hear from you again.