It is with considerable sadness that I report Ken Batie passed away
yesterday. I am still gathering details on what exactly happened. But I
know that Batie suffered from poor health for many years. That didn't
stop him from being active in the local scene, however. As recently as
last month, he could be seen at DJ Lamarrous' James Brown tribute,
standing on the sidelines with his now-familiar walking cane,
appreciating it all. His gregarious nature and acceptance of life's
sometimes cruel twists makes his death, which (judging from early, unsubstantiated reports) occured in a traffic accident, all the more painful.
I interviewed Batie shortly after I moved to Atlanta in late 2005. At
the time, he had just stopped hosting "Hot Ice in the Afternoon," his
longtime comtemporary jazz and soul program, after more than 20 years
on the air at WCLK-FM (91.9). Through that program, as well as the dozens of concerts he
promoted, Batie (along with longtime collaborator Ken Rye) nurtured a
When former Creative Loafing-Atlanta Fallout editor (and current Creative Loafing-Charlotte
Cafï¿½, a legendary nightclub where those same musicians launched their
careers, many acknowledged Batie as the godfather of the Atlanta soul
scene. "WCLK, in the early ï¿½90s, was pivotal and inspirational for me,"
longtime promoter Jason Orr told Hargro. Jamal Ahmad, a protï¿½gï¿½ of
Batie's and current afternoon host of "The Soul of Jazz" on WCLK-FM
(91.9), compared him to legendary British tastemaker John Peel.
At the time of his death, Batie and Rye moved "Hot Ice" online, and
launched a 24-hour radio station. Instead of resting on his
considerable laurels, he embraced the Internet, and the opportunity to
program the music he wanted. To the end, he remained a step ahead of
You can read more details about Batie in the Feb. 20 issue of Creative Loafing. You can also visit Hot Ice Online and hear for yourself why he was so important to Atlanta music. RIP.
Photo of Ken Batie taken from Hot Ice Online's MySpace page.
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