The Sounds of Brazil - How It All Began At WNUA

by Brazil Club - Let The Music Take You There on 07/25/2017 - 04:43 pm

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A Milestone Moment for our 25th Anniversary

The Sounds of Brazil made its broadcast debut on Smooth Jazz WNUA 95.5 25 years ago today, July 25th, 1992. This week, I’m marking the occasion by recreating the original playlist from the show, song by song.

For Chicago’s Smooth Jazz fans, WNUA grew to become a defining moment in our musical lives, and when the station signed on back in the summer of 1987, I became a fan, too.

Months before, I had experienced Rio de Janeiro for the first time and had returned with a suitcase filled with Brazilian albums. To be honest I knew none of the artist names or songs that had replaced most of my clothing on that April trip to Brazil – new friends met during that trip had picked them for me and I couldn’t wait to get them to a turntable and drop the needle on each one.

Within weeks, I began to scour Chicago’s record stores for more. Rose Records became my second home. On the radio WNUA was breaking new ground with an eclectic mix of contemporary jazz, pop and New Age music and I realized that a lot of the music I was discovering from Brazil matched up with what I was hearing on 95.5.

So, I picked up a notebook and got busy. I joined the writing staff at JAZZIZ magazine and began to learn. More trips to Brazil meant more music and soon I was making mix tapes of my favorite songs and handing them out to friends.  Apparently, people liked them, because it wasn’t long before I was getting mix tape requests from people I didn’t know here in Chicago and other cities.

Talk about “social media”! I decided that if there was this much organic interest in this music, then why not a radio show?

First show on WNUA on The Sounds of Brazil at

Listen Daily @ 3 & 6 PM CT: Our First Show On WNUA                                         



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A Confluence of Coincidence

By 1992, Smooth Jazz stations were popping up in major cities coast to coast and WNUA had become a top station for Chicago adult listeners. So, I wrote the first of several letters to WNUA’s Program Director and was told “If you’d like us to consider your show, get it on the radio somewhere first.”

Another notebook, which led me to a fateful meeting with Ken Scott at 90.9 FM WDCB in west suburban Glen Ellyn Illinois, for which I will always be grateful. “I want to start a radio show based on Brazilian jazz,” I said, “and my goal is to bring it to WNUA, but they want to hear it on the radio somewhere, first.”

Not many Program Directors would be even mildly interested in listening to someone who wanted to be hired so they could move to another station, but Ken – to his everlasting credit – said “Sounds good. You can work out the bugs here on WDCB, and we’ll have a great radio show until you leave!”  The Sounds of Brazil’s very first radio show was on 90.9 FM WDCB on Sunday, April 5th 1992.

About 12 weeks later, I found myself sitting across from John Gehron, the General Manager at WNUA. I remember being a little nervous. Well, more than a little.

During that meeting, I reminded John that he had hired me once before, when he was Program Director at Chicago’s WLS, and its FM sister station, WDAI which in 1977 was ‘Disco DAI’ and I was a Billboard-reporting club DJ that station hired to do long hot-mix set’s, recorded live. Maybe that made a difference, because that was the day I was hired onto one of the most talented air staffs in Chicago radio.

A blessing.

Below are a few snapshots of WNUA original studio on the 3rd floor at 444 North Michigan Avenue.

I’ll have another story for you tomorrow when you click on the ‘25th Anniversary’ slider on the home page.

Scott Adams

The Sounds of Brazil!