Despite health issues and financial setbacks that could have brought down the curtain on anyone else, Chicago TV legend Jerry Bryant isn’t done with “JBTV” yet, the nation’s longest-running music television show.
Since 1984, Bryant has been the genial host of the weekly showcase he founded to feature live performances and studio interviews with up-and-coming artists, including some of the biggest names in early modern rock history. of their career.
“JBTV” still airs several times a week on multiple platforms, including YouTube, VPOD TV Channel 59.3 (at midnight Fridays and Saturdays) and Chicago Access Network Channel 19 (at 10:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays).
While keeping the show on the air, Bryant, 70, has spent the past five years in and out of hospitals — first for treatment for stage 4 colorectal cancer and multiple surgeries to remove tumors from his colon and of his lungs, and more recently for a coronary bypass.
Amid all of this, the COVID-19 shutdown forced Bryant to close his JBTV studios in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
But now that Bryant says he’s cancer-free and on the verge of a full recovery from heart surgery, he’s eager to get a new production house for his labor of love.
“My goal is to rebuild JBTV with a state-of-the-art performing arts studio with a naming sponsor to help cover the costs,” he told me. “There are so many local and global bands that want to perform on JBTV – a one-of-a-kind experience for a small audience of 150 who pay nothing to see new music on JBTV.
“It’s been five life changing years, losing JBTV studios, running out of all my funds, plus massive medical bills through donations on GoFundMe. . . . Now at 70 is it possible to rebuild JBTV? I have the energy, the talent and the attitude to never give up. is difficult to find investors to rebuild JBTV, but I guess time will tell.
Bryant’s archive includes over 5,500 programs and over 2,000 interviews, all awaiting conversion from videotape to digital.
Bryant, a multiple Emmy Award winner, was inducted into the Silver Circle of the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2014.
Thursday’s comment of the day: Bob Robert: Bill Cameron is back? I didn’t think he would stay long in retirement. WLS needs him. Even one day a week it will have an impact. Is there any chance there’s another studio spot for Larry Langford?