Western Reserve Public Media
News Release

New local documentary spotlights life and career of “Word Jazz” creator Ken Nordine

Voice-over actor with velvety smooth baritone voice died recently at age 98

KENT, Ohio — March 20, 2019 — Ken Nordine, nationally known voice-over and commercial recording artist, is featured in a new local production that is the work of Uniontown resident Carl Palmer of Wild Life Media. KEN NORDINE: VIDEO FOR THE EAR celebrates Chicago’s oldest living hipster and original beatnik. It will premiere on Western Reserve PBS (WNEO 45.1/WEAO 49.1) on Friday, April 5, at 9 PM. Musical and performance artist Laurie Anderson provides narration for the production. For additional air dates, visit WesternReservePBS.org.

The Beat Generation was a literary movement in the 1950s and Nordine created something new—spoken word over cool jazz. However, it has been observed that some of Nordine’s writings are more akin to Franz Kafka or Edgar Allan Poe than to the Beats.

Nordine used the original musical instrument—his voice—and was best known for his series of “Word Jazz” albums and syndicated radio shows on National Public Radio (NPR). His deep, resonant voice has been featured on SESAME STREET, in commercials and in movie trailers. His past collaborators include Fred Astaire, Grateful Dead, Tom Waits and David Bowie.

Nordine died Feb. 16, 2019, at the age of 98, his son Ken Nordine, Jr., said in an interview with WBEZ Chicago. “He had a very special mind, an amazing way of looking at the world and making his own sense out of it,” his son said.

About Western Reserve Public Media

Western Reserve Public Media is the business name of Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

A trusted community resource, Western Reserve Public Media uses the power of commercial-free television and related services to enrich the lives of people through high-quality programming and educational services that teach, illuminate and inspire. It serves the largest population of Ohio¹s eight PBS member stations.  

Western Reserve PBS (WNEO 45.1/WEAO 49.1), a service of the organization, is the only broadcast television service that reaches all of Northeast Ohio. It is available to 4.9 million people in the Cleveland and Youngstown designated market areas. In an average month, more than 1 million people tune in. The organization also operates two standard definition channels: Fusion (WNEO 45.2 / WEAO 49.2) and MHz Worldview (WNEO 45.3 / WEAO 49.3). 

Our Educational Services Department provides technology training and educational content to more than 24,000 educators and over 300,000 K-12 students, plus Ready To Learn Services to over 100,000 preschool children¹s parents and child-care providers. 

For more information about the organization, visit www.WesternReservePublicMedia.org or call 1-800-554-4549.


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