J. Michael Harrison in a short and jacket in different shades of blue and standing in front of a metal and textured background

Jazz Studies (MM)

J. Michael Harrison’s passion for music has led to him wearing several hats throughout his career in education and radio. Since 1997, he’s taught everything from computer operations and network engineering to driver’s education. More recently, he has concentrated on broadcast journalism and Philadelphia’s music history at University of the Arts and education coordinator of the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. He’s also 30 years into an award-winning career as a host and producer WRTI 90.1 in Philadelphia. Spending time with his incredible children is always a delight; working on his juggling skills and, of course, discovering new and exciting music all add joy to Harrison’s life.


Since 2008, J. Michael Harrison has taught the master-level Music Journalism class at University of the Arts and was recently asked to develop and premiere a new class, Philadelphia’s Musical Sound, as an undergraduate offering. He’s presented lectures to students in the Philadelphia school system, Temple University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Harrison has written liner notes, sat on and moderated panels, curated series, produced events, and hosted concerts in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York City, and New Orleans. Since October 2022, he has also served as education coordinator for the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & the Performing Arts.

Harrison’s first radio show, WPEB’s Is That Jazz launched in June 1993. In 1994, he began volunteering with WRTI—a Philadelphia-based, jazz-format public radio station—as a production assistant. In 1996, Harrison debuted his own program, The Bridge, which still airs on Friday evenings on WRTI.

Additionally, Harrison recently joined the Rosenbach Museum’s Programming Committee. He also presented the Above & Beyond award for Outstanding Contributions to Arts & Culture by the People’s Emergency Center in 2017; that same year, the Jazz Journalists Association named him a “jazz hero.”

Further, Harrison was executive producer on Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s 1999 CD BrotherZone. He’s worked closely with the Philadelphia Jazz Project, Jazz Philadelphia, Jazz Bridge, The Painted Bride Art Center, The Producers Guild, Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts, The Rosenbach Museum, All About Jazz/Jazz Near You, and a host of other organizations.

Recently, Harrison has contributed to NPR’s Station Breaks series, NPR’s City Scenes, Slingshot Artist to Watch and Jazz Night in America series and serves as producer for WRTI’s jazz video content on NPR’s Live Sessions. From 2018 to 2022, he worked toward nurturing and cultivating a WRTI community engagement initiative, in partnership with the Rainey family, of the POV documentary film Quest (directed by Jonathan Olshefski). In 2022, Harrison was provided with a special opportunity to collaborate with bassist Anthony Tidd, the Rainey family, and students from the Philadelphia Clef Club in an effort to help introduce youth in the Philadelphia area to music without boundaries.


  • WRTI, Philadelphia, host and producer, H1994 – present

    • Develop and host award winning radio broadcast

    • Establish and maintain working relationships with artists and venues in the region

    • Host and produce content for the WRTI and NPR Music

  • University of the Arts School of Music, adjunct professor, 2008 – present

    • Taught and participated in the developed the curriculum for the Music Journalism class; developed curriculum and taught the Philadelphia’s Musical Sound class

  • Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts, education coordinator, 2022 – present

    • Manage Saturday Music Education youth program

    • Work with artistic director to develop and implement the Music Education program 

    • Coordinate onsite and offsite performances, workshops, masterclasses, recitals, and showcases

Visit J. Michael Harrison’s WRTI profile.

Awards & Accolades

  • Jazz Journalists Association, Jazz Hero, 2017

  • People’s Emergency Center, Community Service Above & Beyond Award for Outstanding Contributions to Arts & Culture, 2017

  • The Philadelphia City Paper, “Best on-Air Reminder That Jazz Didn’t Die in 1965,” 2007

  • Philadelphia Magazine, Best Radio Program, 2002

“Music is truly my sanctuary, a reason to live, and a bright moment.”