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Jessica Webster

Host, WEMU's "The In Crowd"

Jessica has been a record store clerk, a Denny’s waitress, a newspaper reporter, a science writer, a mom, a higher education communicator, a radio host and (and one time) one of the most powerful people in the jazz industry.

Two things that have remained constant through all of Jessica’s adult life: an all-consuming fascination with jazz and a 30-year (and counting) run as a host on WEMU.

Jessica’s love of jazz started early, after her uncle shared some Manhattan Transfer and Fats Waller music with her when she was eight years old. That early interest exploded into a full-blown obsession after her dad took her to the North Sea Jazz Festival when she was 15, and she got to see and meet Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Carmen McRae, and yes, even The Manhattan Transfer.

Just a few years later, Jessica and her family moved to Ann Arbor. Scanning the radio dial on her first day in town, she stumbled across WEMU. Two years after that, then-music director Linda Yohn made Jessica an offer she couldn’t refuse: transfer to Eastern Michigan University and she could host her own late night show on WEMU. The rest is history.

Career musical highlights also include working at Schoolkids’ Records and Encore Recordings through college, and a 12-year stint as the national jazz buyer for the Borders Books & Music chain.

At Borders, Jessica partnered with musicians and record labels to promote their music, often advising on album art and song selection, co-producing recordings, and coaching up-and-coming artists on building public relations campaigns. JazzTimes Magazine named her one of the top ten most powerful people in the industry. For a jazz fan like Jessica, it was a dream come true.

After the collapse of the music business and the Borders chain, Jessica switched career paths and joined the reporting team at AnnArbor.com/The Ann Arbor News/MLive. There she reported on business news, the local food scene, and arts and entertainment.

More recently, Jessica has been leading a team of content creators for the marketing and communications department at the University of Michigan School of Information.

Jessica believes in the power of community, that Black lives matter, that travel offers transformative benefits, and that you should never underestimate the importance of an open mind. She also loves her family, her goofy dogs, her brilliant wife, her amazing son, and cheese. She really, really loves cheese.

Contact Jessica: jwebster1@emich.edu