WHITNEY BALLIETT, a jazz reporter who helped create one of the most influential jazz programs on US television, died last Thursday (01FEB07) at his home in Manhattan, New York of liver cancer. He was 80. Balliett spent more than four decades writing thousands of stories on jazz for The New Yorker magazine. He began his career writing for the Saturday Review while working for The New Yorker and was given his own jazz column in 1957. That same year, he teamed with jazz critic Nat Hentoff to create the CBS program THE SOUND OF JAZZ and the spin-off series THE SEVEN LIVELY ARTS. The jazz show, hosted by New York Herald Tribune columnist JOHN CROSBY, brought jazz into millions of American homes and featured such performers as Billie Holiday, COUNT BASIE, GERRY MULLIGAN and THELONIUS MONK.