Conover, Willis

Conover, Willis (Clark, Jr.)

(1920–  ) broadcaster; born in Buffalo, N.Y. Beginning in 1939, he promoted concerts and hosted jazz and classical programs at radio stations in Washington, D.C. In 1955, his jazz program, Music USA, began daily broadcast on the Voice of America. Although unheard and little-known in the U.S.A., he eventually attracted the largest audience of any continuing international broadcast in history, and served as the primary source of jazz for listeners in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Cuba throughout the cold war. He emceed the Newport Jazz Festivals between 1954–63, and in 1969 he produced and narrated the White House concert celebrating Duke Ellington's 70th birthday. He was instrumental in the establishment of a jazz panel on the National Endowment for the Arts in 1975.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.