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For immediate release
June 17, 2004
Jessamyn Sarmiento : 202-513-2307

Ray Charles' Funeral to Air on Select NPR Member Stations


WASHINGTON, DC - NPR's Renee Montagne and commentator John Ridley will anchor NPR's live coverage of the memorial service for music legend Ray Charles. The service will take place at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, CA tomorrow, Friday, June 18, 2004, at 10:00 a.m. PDT. Charles, whose recordings ranged from gospel, rhythm and blues, jazz to rock 'n' roll, country, and pop will be remembered by an equally broad spectrum of friends and collaborators, including Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Wynton Marsalis, Clint Eastwood, Stevie Wonder, Glen Campbell, Cicely Tyson, Billy Preston and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The funeral will be broadcast on both a live and delayed basis by NPR member stations around the country, as well as on NPR Worldwide and NPR2, NPR's satellite channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. Among the NPR stations carrying the service live are WBGO 88.3 FM in Newark, NJ, WSUI 910 AM in Iowa City, and WXEL 90.7 FM in Miami/West Palm Beach. NPR stations carrying the program at a later time include 89.3 KPCC in Pasadena/Los Angeles on Friday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m., WNYC 93.9 FM in New York City on Sunday, June 20 at 3:00 p.m., and 89.9 FM KCRW and in Santa Monica/Los Angeles on Sunday, June 20 at 12:00 p.m. Listeners will also be able to hear the program live via, as well as find additional information, interviews, and features about Ray Charles.

Born on September 23, 1930 Ray Charles became one of the greatest entertainers of our time. "I was born with music inside me. That's the only explanation I know of," Charles remarked in his autobiography. Ray Charles died last week at the age of 73.

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NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of nearly 22 million Americans each week via more than 770 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and seven years of archived audio and information.