Goodbye to WSMJ 104.3

I blogged last weekend about Baltimore losing it’s smooth jazz station WSMJ 104.3. The Baltimore Sun has an article about the loss of that station and includes a Clear Channel spokesperson’s not so subtle way of saying to hell with you folks 35 and over.

WSMJ: a rough switch for smooth-jazz fans

By Chris Kaltenbach
Sun reporter

Baltimore’s smooth-jazz lovers have been left scanning the radio waves for a new station, after last week’s surprise switch by WSMJ-FM (104.3) to a “rock alternative” format.

Since Friday morning, a station that for nearly five years had been home to such artists as Spyro Gyra and Deniece Williams has been airing Alice in Chains and Linkin Park – as well as shock jock Elliot in the Morning from 4:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Not surprisingly, lovers of the old format are not exactly cozying up to the new.

“I thought they were doing quite well; I had no idea they were in trouble,” said Bob Weaber of Timonium, a 61-year-old business manager for a local electronics firm. “I don’t particularly care for the conventional jazz sound, but this was very relaxing and just enjoyable. I don’t care for the new format at all.”

WSMJ, one of three stations operated in Baltimore by San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communications, announced its change with little fanfare Friday morning. Listeners to 104.3 heard Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” and then three hours of Christmas music before the format switch was made.

“We had an opportunity” to attract younger listeners more attractive to advertisers, says Hartley Adkins, president and market manager for Clear Channel Washington and Baltimore. “Jazz typically has a 35-to-64-year-old listener, while what we’re going to be going for is the 18-to-39.”

I also mentioned last weekend that Maryland only had one smooth jazz station left and that one is located on the Eastern Shore. The Sun article mentions that there is a jazz oriented station in Baltimore, WEAA-FM 88.9. The station is licensed and owned by Morgan State University. You can check out the WEAA site here.

4 responses

  1. To the second poster, I believe the over 35 year old demographic isn’t considered desirable anymore. Advertisers seem to be marketing more towards teenagers.

    I’ve been looking at some hd radios and satellite radios but I haven’t made a definite decision yet.

    To the last commenter thanks for the info on the Monterey smooth jazz link. I will add it to my blog sidebar.

  2. There is a very nice Monterey, CA smooth jazz station on line, Their programming and playlist is outstanding. Check it out

  3. I’m really getting worried now. As I mentioned in a previous post, my wife and I spend a LOT on time in DC and Northern Virginia, and we loved 105.9. After they killed that station off, we figured we would at least have 104.3. And now it’s gone.

    The big companies are intentionally killing off smooth jazz. I guess our demographic is not desirable. They would rather play to teenagers. I will NOT invest in an HD radio just to hear a smooth jazz jukebox. (Smooth Jazz is flourishing on HD radio, but it’s a satillite feed with no DJ’s-a jukebox.)

    We still have Smooth Jazz 107.7 down here in Virginia Beach, but for how long? Sirrus, here I come.

  4. Ok now I am really freaking out!! Losing 105.9 gave me a headache but now losing 104.3 makes me sick to my stomach. I am starting to think there is a conspiracy going on, can you say SATELITE RADIO…. because this is just to much to handle or comprehend. The nation’s capital……… Jazz station, I don’t get it. Check out how I found out: I was trying to look up information on the Jazzfest that Red Cross sponsors every year in Alexandria at the Riverfront. Please someone tell me what am I supposed to do now? I just had a thought, I will invest in an MP3 player and utilize the G’billion Jazz CD’s I own! Yeah that’s it, whew I feel much better now thanks for letting me vent!


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