Why is the Smooth Jazz radio format silently dying across America?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Max M, Jul 13, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Max M

    Max M Gold Member

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    I know. I know.

    You're probably going to say because no one listens to smooth jazz.

    Perhaps in some areas, but in the San Diego metro area, the smooth jazz commerical station was frequently the #1 station during Arbitron ratings. Now, like other former smooth jazz stations, they are now billing themselves as just "smooth" and not playing instrumental smooth jazz, but rather jazzy top 40 hits.

    Very curious for the M.O. for the transition if it was such as successful format for years in radio markets such as San Diego.
     
  2. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Actually as a champion of the "Watercolors" channel on XM radio in every rental car i drive, i am a big fan of smooth jazz and not sure of its transition either. We previously had a smooth jazz station here in COS but it folded a few years back and now i just do XM radio. I am not a fan of too much vocal in the channel, preferring like you mention the instrumental song play.

    Thanks for the post, now i know even i am not holding on to a music genre which is gone the way of Kenny G.
     
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  3. Max M

    Max M Gold Member

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    Watercolors helps de-stress. I do exactly the same thing, when renting a Sirius XM equipped rental car.

    Watercolors is really an outstanding channel.

    Getting back to terrestrial radio....

    Even in Chicago, their terrestrial smooth jazz station, WNUA, was also consistently amongst the 5 most listened to stations in the Chicago radio market. Then, for some unknown reason, WNUA changed it's format from Smooth Jazz to Spanish Music.

    Side note: when WNUA was smooth jazz, it used to be played as background music in the H/K Admirals Club @ ORD. I find it mildly humorous that the station that played in the AC was
    WN UA. :p
     
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  4. sunseeker
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    sunseeker Silver Member

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    Washington DC's 105.9 left the FM dial a few years ago, and I really miss it in the car. It lives on as smoothjazz1059.com. It is a very soothing combination of vocal and instrumental music. I just heard they have a station on HD radio, but I do not know anyone who actually owns and HD radio.
     
  5. misman
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    misman Gold Member

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    Albuquerque converted it's smoothjazz 104.7 to classic country a year or so ago. I can now stream www.kyot.com out of Phoenix when I need some smooth jazz.

    :oops:
     
  6. tsastor
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    tsastor Silver Member

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    I suspect it has more to do with advertisers not understanding alternative formats than with its popularity. Wasn't KDFC once the most popular station in the Bay Area? And it was a classical music station! It went non-commercial but lost its frequency. All said, I'm more into real jazz than the smooth variety. Whenever I have a good 3G/HSDPA signal, I stream internet stations over my mobile phone and use a small FM-transmitter to transmit the signal to my car stereo. (I'm in Europe and have an unlimited data plan).
     
  7. DenverBrian
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    DenverBrian Silver Member

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    Really, I think all terrestrial radio is in danger these days. The car is the last place one might really need it - since most stations now have a web presence, so in the office you can stream from the 'puter. For the car, satellite radio seems to be in less danger of folding than it was even a year ago, but there will always be a group that doesn't want to pay for a subscription, so I'm guessing when WiMAX or a similar mobile broadband service gets going in a few years, you'll just stream from your car's onboard 'puter. And that will be the end of terrestrial radio.
     
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  8. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    Since my 'real' job is as a radio researcher and consultant, I can tell you this:

    1) WIth a few exceptions, most smooth jazz stations did only moderately well.
    2) Once PPM (Portable People Meters) were introduced in the top 50 markets by Aribtron over the past several years, measured listening to smooth jazz stations dropped precipitously. The measured age of the audience also increased.
    3) SInce most owners of commerical radio stations are in business to make LOTS of money, RIGHT NOW, they have dropped the format as it became.less viable.
    4) There are still some great 'real' jazz stations out there for on-line listening - all are public radio. These include: KPLU, Seattle/Tacoma, WBGO, Newark, and WRTI, Philly.
     
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  9. tsastor
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    tsastor Silver Member

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    With the current choice (disregarding the sufficient number), they will not be missed by me.
     
  10. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    People have been predicting the death of terrestrial radio since the advent of TV in the 1940's. While the platforms and distribution methods have diversified, most of the content is still based on what you hear on good-old-fashioned radio. There will always be a need for the personal companionship, information, and entertainment that radio provides - we'll just receive it thru many more different 'channels.'
     
  11. Jim
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    Jim Silver Member

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    Two words.....

    Ad Revenue
     

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