Before rising to prominence in North America, Mark Anthony Ruffin was a presence in Chicago jazz radio for over 25 years, where he was also Jazz Editor at Chicago Magazine from 1982 to 2007. He has had a varied multi-tasked career in radio, television, journalism, recorded music, and film – with a focus on Jazz and American culture in all the mediums.
Since 2007, Ruffin has been the Program Director and On-Air host for Sirius XM’s Real Jazz channel. 1980–2000, he started as an operations engineer at WBEZ-FM/Chicago. In 1980, he got his first on-air opportunity through the Jazz Institute of Chicago. From there: 1981–1985, Jazz Music Director WDCB/Glen Ellyn, 1985–1988, Music Director-WBEE-AM/Chicago, 1988–1996, Producer/Announcer WNUA/Chicago. 1996–2000, Announcer/Producer WBEZ/Chicago. 2002–2007, Ruffin joined Miles Ahead Incorporated which produced, Miles Ahead and Listen Here, two syndicated shows featuring him and Grammy Award-winning annotator and broadcaster Neil Tesser. The latter show was distributed by WFMT Satellite Network and was heard on up to 120 stations in the U.S. and Canada.
Ruffin was the original producer of the nationally syndicated Ramsey Lewis Show, which was distributed by Westwood One in the 1990s. Since that time, Mark produced nationally syndicated programs for Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Dr. Robin Smith, Bruce Lundvall, Marcus Miller, Christian McBride, Don Was, Joey DeFrancesco and others.
Mark Anthony Ruffin was born in Chicago, IL on September 24, 1956. His parents had a record store on the west side of the city for the first eight years of his life. He grew up in the suburb town of Maywood, IL and studied Radio/TV and music at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Mark is the father to three sons… Melcolm Xavier Ruffin, Sidney-Bechet Mandela Ruffin, and Kenyatta Hents Philips-Ruffin.