Tonight, bid Jon Kertzer adieu as he departs The Best Ambiance

Jon hosting the 25th Anniversary of The Best Ambiance at The Triple Door
photo by Christopher Nelson

Tonight KEXP bids farewell to one of our founding fathers. Thirty years ago, Jon Kertzer was hired as the station manager of KCMU (as we were known then) and over the next several years founded our continuing programs Audioasis (1982), our Northwest music show, The Best Ambiance (1984), focusing on music from the continent of Africa, and Wo’ Pop (1988), our world music show. Jon has been a driving force in much of what listeners tune to KEXP for in every day, yet he is most know as the ongoing host of The Best Ambiance (besides a brief hiatus from the show in the late 80’s).

Tonight, from 6-9PM PST, he will host the episode of The Best Ambiance before he moves on to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to become director of the folkswaysAlive! Center at the University of Alberta, and continue to share his vast knowledge of music with students, faculty and staff.

Tune in tonight to bid Jon adieu and to wish him the best as his musical journey leads him onward.

And for now, here’s part of the 25th Anniversary of The Best Ambiance, held at The Triple Door two years ago, with the legendary King Sunny Ade & His African Beats:

This entry was posted in KEXP, The Best Ambiance and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Maria Ruano
    Posted May 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for ALL the years of your radio work here in Seattle. Way way back I would listen to you in my high school days and dude, I’m old.
    So best of luck and may your path always find you in good health, happy and prosperous.

  2. taryn gearhart
    Posted May 17, 2011 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    Jon you are truly an inspiration. With your passion for music you have broaden so many people’s musical horizons and helped us to understand our world community better. Thank You for your dedication and your whimsey as well.

    Best of luck to you as you begin your next verse in your life song.

  3. chris balka
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    My words can’t express my deep appreciation for the body of work you’ve broadcast. My monday evenings, and work afternoons will miss your rich musical selections broadcast and streamed onKEXP. Thank you for the musical journey, and my best wishes to you for your next endeavors.

  4. Eric Suesz
    Posted May 26, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    So happy to see a new opportunity for Jon but also sad to see this show go away. Any chance we will have a similar African show in the future? It’s become my favorite show over time.

  5. Posted May 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Eric, you’ll be able to hear more African music on Wo’ Pop with Darek Mazzone, who will pick up some of the slack with The Best Ambiance being gone. And you’ll here a wide variety of music on the new Monday show, El Sonido. DJ Chilly plays all kinds of Latin flavored music some of it from and influenced by African musicians.

  6. Letha
    Posted May 26, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    My heart is breaking into a million pieces. This show has brought me overwhelming joy for so many years. Jon, thank you so much. I will miss you terribly!

  7. PJ
    Posted May 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Most Honorable Jon, I found the Best Ambiance while studying in Taiwan for 6 years and your weekly streams kept me in touch with and introduced me to new nuances of Africa that filled my heart with so much joy. In the past few years, when people ask me what my favorite musique is, I tell them, “The Best Ambiance” and email them the streaming archive link. “heart in a million pieces”, yes, but I pray we can take the torch and carry on the way you’ve shown. The many shows I’ve recorded shall be on TPB when I have time post them. May others do the same. Viva la Best Ambiance!

  8. Jamey
    Posted June 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I have been working on Monday nights for months and JUST discovered that The Best Ambiance is no more! So sad… I will miss it so much. I hope you are enjoying your new work, Jon, and I hope that you return to the airwaves someday.

  9. Greg
    Posted August 8, 2011 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    I was a little slow to understand the show is gone forever, just thought maybe Jon was on a sabbatical. I am so completely bummed out that the show is no more. Thank you Jon for the many years of incredible music and hard work. KEXP, please find a way to continue a show with the same focus as Best Ambiance. It’s too important – musically, socially, culturally, globally and otherwise – to not have a show with this dedicated focus.

    Tirana, Albania

  10. Posted August 8, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Greg, you can listen to plenty of African music on Wo’Pop with Darek Mazzone on Tuesdays from 6-9PM. Now on Monday nights you can hear El Sonido, a new show devoted to Latin Sounds.


  11. Kayoko
    Posted August 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Somehow I just found out that The Best Ambiance has ended and it is so sad. I really liked listening to the opening song with the women signing “Ambiance! Ambiance!” Jon’s voice is so soothing and relaxing to listen to – it was the best. But, I look forward to listening to more El Sondido – KEXP was missing that Latin flavor!

  12. Carla DeSantis Black
    Posted September 6, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Just heard you left Seattle. That’s like losing the Space Needle! Best of luck to you dearest Jon!!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Donate Now!

Donate to KEXP Today!

Donate to KEXP Today!
where the music matters

The KEXP Blog

Sponsored By
Become a KEXP Sponsor!
  • KEXP Post Categories