Jesse Chuy Varela
For KCSM 91.1 FM's Music Director Jesse "Chuy" Varela, music roots have run deep.
From an early age, Chuy was fascinated by music, playing the guitar in Mexican bands and in the army. He attended Cal State Hayward where he majored in music. But after realizing that music would probably not be a lucrative career, he switched to mass communications where he studied print, TV and radio. He worked at the college's cafeteria radio station with KCSM's Clifford Brown Jr. and Keith Hines.
In 1980, Chuy started work at KBBF in Santa Rosa, the first bilingual radio station in the country. From there, he went on to KPFA, first as a volunteer, then as Co-Director of the Public Affairs and finally as Music Director in the mid-90's. While at KPFA, he was simultaneously working at KJAZ as an intern, then as a production assistant and recording engineer, working with Bob Parlocha on 'On The Scene' and with KCSM's Bud Spangler on 'The Turk Murphy Show'/'Sunday Sunday Night', and eventually hosting 'Latin Jazz' in the mid-80's.
When KJAZ went off the air in the mid-80's, Chuy accepted a Sunday afternoon position at KCSM and introduced Bay Area listeners to 'Latin Jazz'. Since then, he has attracted a large and loyal audience who have come to depend on his expertise and sunny disposition. In 2000, he became KCSM's Music Director and began co-hosting Jazz in the Afternoon with Melanie Berzon.
In addition to his shows, Chuy oversees the incorporation of the KJAZ library and the digitization of its vinyl LPs. He is also a music writer who has contributed liner notes to many albums and reviews to various newspapers and periodicals, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Latin Beat and JazzTimes, among others.
Hear Jesse 'Chuy' Varela on Latin Jazz, Sunday afternoons from 2pm to 6pm, and on Jazz in the Afternoon, Monday through Wednesdays from 2pm to 6pm.