Seth Markow’s jazz radio program, The Real Deal (Saturday and Sunday, 8pm, HPR-1), marks its 35th year on the air in Hawaiʻi this February.
The origins of the show go back to 1973 and a closed-circuit high school station. Markow gained valuable experience during college in Madison, Wisconsin, when he hosted classical, multicultural and jazz programs on WORT. In 1979, arriving in Honolulu as a graduate assistant at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa's Music Department, he brought his expertise to the college radio station KTUH. He began broadcast of The Real Deal in 1983.
When the fledging second station of Hawai'i Public Radio came into being in 1989 (then known as KIPO — “Jazz, Rhythm and News”), Seth was hired as music director and program host, bringing his passion for a wide variety of music, his knowledge of jazz history, and his personal music library to HPR.
With his unique, sonorous bass voice and his impeccable musical taste, Markow creates a wide range of programs that appeal to listeners of all ages. From classic tracks by jazz masters to new music by exceptional young players, he researches, sequences, loosely scripts, voices and produces the two-hour presentations. The show most often features birthday celebrations of jazz giants, from the well known to the obscure. One night one might hear jazz history from its New Orleans roots and the next, the “out” explorations of the ’60s. Or from bebop to hard bop, back to swing, up to something truly contemporary. This is definitely not “smooth jazz” territory
Following his deep thirst to learn and share all he could about the evolution of jazz icons Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Markow created for each musician a year and a half of weekly two-hour shows: the lively and informative MilesTones and the profound, exploratory Trane Tracks, in addition to presenting The Real Deal.
When asked what inspires him to keep on keeping on with The Real Deal, Markow says:
“The music! It’s one of America’s greatest gifts to the world. It was born in a climate of prejudice and poverty, but to people worldwide who can hear the message, whether it’s in a funky bar or a house of worship, it means freedom, fun, deep feeling, creativity, community, brother- and sisterhood. It’s my civic duty to help this music be more appreciated and enjoyed, and I hope the show keeps rolling for another 35 years!”