Mutual Musicians Foundation

If you should ever find yourself walking down Highland Street on a Friday or Saturday night in Kansas City, you may come across building 1823. This is The Mutual Musicians Foundation, and it’s at this point in your walk where you might hear some live jazz playing. With the "longest running jam session in the world" happening inside and many other nods to early 20th century Jazz culture, this organization is striving to keep their culture and history alive.  

Kansas City is home to a big part of Jazz history. According to Anita Dixon—who is spearheading the Mutual Musicians Foundation’s radio project—Kansas City is credited with birthing the swing era and the ensuing three decades of the original art and music. Jazz is a huge part of the city’s history and yet, they still do not have a station to tell it.

“Kansas City, known for Count Basie and swing music... does NOT have a station that is dedicated to the music. It is outlandish! It's turn on a radio when [you] come to Kansas City and not hear the music that you came to hear, cause it's just not there.” 

This is why there is a strong need for a community radio station in the city, not only just for the preservation of this rich culture and history, but for the opportunity to tell people about it.

The Mutual Musicians Foundation has been in operation for 93 years, and has been advocating for the city’s Jazz heritage through events and public education. Innovative and effective, they held a ‘Pianothon’ fundraising event where they invited pianists from all over the nation to come to Kansas City and perform. It raised not only the profile of the organization, but $5,000 in contributions. Through these kind of events they’ve been able to expand their programmatic work, which in turn has benefitted their community. One of their proudest impacts in the community has been supplying free music lessons to those who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise.

The community that Mutual Musicians Foundations serves is comprised of many different cultures and backgrounds, even within a small radius that they plan on broadcasting in. The planned coverage area includes Vietnamese, African-American, Somalian, Laotian, and Hispanic communities, and the Foundation plans to provide programming as diverse as these neighborhoods. Once they are on the air, there are hopes for a variety of world music programs, educational talk shows for everyone, and definitely a program dedicated to local music from Kansas City.