The son of composer Arthur Schwartz, Jonathan Schwartz worked at New York’s WNEW FM and AM from 1967 to 1986.
A true scholar of the Great American Songbook, Jonathan entertained listeners with unsurpassed knowledge of composer’s song writers, singers and jazz artists. His music playlist was eclectic and can be described broadly as “The Great American Songbook”, with a high concentration of pop, jazz and pop standards and Broadway show tunes, augmented by music of nearly any popular style that has influenced twentieth century American tastes, including rock, classical, and big band.
Schwartz is known for his on-air stories about his interactions with Frank Sinatra and other famous people, mostly song writers, singers and musicians.
Jonathan is also known for his encyclopedic knowledge of Sinatra. Sinatra himself was amazed by Schwartz’s knowledge of every song he had ever recorded.
Schwartz is a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox, a fact that he mentions frequently on his shows, despite being a well-known New Yorker. His radio program occasionally features heroic baseball stories.
Commenting on radio in 1984 Schwartz said “I think it’s criminal to go on the air without an intimate knowledge of every record by each of the artists. Not only one album, but every album, every song on the album, every note.”
Still broadcasting today Schwartz airs on WNYC and Sirus.
Listen to a Jonathan Schwarz WNEW-AM aircheck from 1983: