Category Archives: Smooth Jazz

RIP Wayman Tisdale

Yesterday during lunch I was checking out some news sites and saw that former NBA player and award winning smooth jazz musician Wayman Tisdale passed away earlier that morning. He was 44 years old and had been battling bone cancer for the past two years. Wayman is survived by his wife Regina, three daughters and a son.

After reading a couple of news articles about Wayman’s death I headed over to Pandora Radio and created a Wayman Tisdale radio station. I was introduced to his music while listening to Smooth Jazz 105.9 years ago.

wayman_tisdale

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College Hall of Famer Tisdale dies at 44

Wherever Wayman Tisdale went, whatever he was doing, chances were he was smiling.

Tisdale was a three-time All-American at Oklahoma in the mid-1980s before playing a dozen years in the NBA and later becoming an accomplished jazz musician.

But those who knew Tisdale, who died Friday at a hospital in his hometown of Tulsa, Okla., recalled not only his professional gifts but a perpetually sunny outlook, even in the face of a two-year battle with cancer that took his life at 44.

“I don’t know of any athlete at Oklahoma or any place else who was more loved by the fans who knew him than Wayman Tisdale,” said Billy Tubbs, who coached Tisdale with the Sooners. “He was obviously, a great, great player, but Wayman as a person overshadowed that. He just lit up a room and was so positive.”

Jeff Capel, the current Oklahoma coach, noted Tisdale’s “incredible gift of making the people who came in contact with him feel incredibly special.”

After three years at Oklahoma, Tisdale played in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. The 6-foot-9 forward, with a soft left-handed touch on the court, averaged 15.3 points for his career. He was on the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.

Gov. Brad Henry attended Oklahoma at the same time Tisdale did and later appointed him to the state’s Tourism Commission.

“Oklahoma has lost one of its most beloved sons,” Henry said. “Wayman Tisdale was a hero both on and off the basketball court. … Even in the most challenging of times, he had a smile for people, and he had the rare ability to make everyone around him smile. He was one of the most inspirational people I have ever known.”

State senators paused and prayed Friday morning after learning of his death.

Check out the entire ESPN article here.

You can also check out more articles about Wayman Tisdale:

Sooner great Wayman Tisdale wore a smile to the end

An Appreciation:  Tisdale was terrific

Former Kings star Wayman Tisdale dies

Tulsan Wayman Tisdale Dies

Tisdale fondly remembered for how he lived life

Wayman Tisdale Photo Gallery

Wayman made his music debut in 1995 by signing with Motown subsidiary MoJazz.  His debut cd was titled Power Forward.  He would eventually record seven more cds.  His latest cd, Rebound was released last year. One of the songs from that cd is Never Never Gonna Give Ya Up featuring Toby Keith.

And check out this video promoting his Way Up cd.

RIP Wayman Tisdale

Smooth Jazz.com

In late May I blogged about the latest smooth jazz radio casualty. Smooth Jazz 104.3 in Baltimore flipped to an alternative rock station. Well in the comments section someone has posted a link to a smooth jazz site I’ve never heard of before. SmoothJazz.com is located in Monterey Bay, California. It’s considered the world’s smooth jazz radio station. I can only listen to this station at home since my workplace doesn’t allow us to listen to radio stations on the internet. But for those who can listen at home, at work or both check out Smooth Jazz.com.

Smooth Jazz.com has also responded to listeners who have lost their local smooth jazz stations in Washington, D.C., New York City, Denver & Houston. You can read it here.

Smooth Jazz 105.9 is back

But it’s only available online and on HD radio 🙂 It’s called Smooth Jazz 105.9 HD2. I received a few emails about this update and a couple of people posted this information in the comments section of my posts.

You can check out the information here at the Smooth Jazz 105.9 website. Check out this link to find out how to listen online.

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.

Another smooth jazz station is gone

When will the madness stop. I just read this morning that another smooth jazz station has been flipped, this time to the rock/alternative format. Smooth Jazz WSMJ 104.3 in Baltimore has bitten the dust. According to Radio Online:

Clear Channel Flips WSMJ/Baltimore to ”Channel 104.3”

Clear Channel flips Smooth Jazz WSMJ-FM/Baltimore to Alternative as “Channel 104.3” under OM Jeff Kapugi with Elliot in the Morning. The station will switch to new calls WCHH-FM, effective May 29, and has launched a new web site at channel1043.com.

“This is a very exciting day for Baltimore radio listeners,” commented Kapugi. “The Rock/Alternative format is unique to the area and features some music that has not been played here for quite some time. The opportunity to add Elliot In The Morning to Channel 104.3 is huge. He already does well in the ratings in Baltimore on a DC signal. Imagine what we are going to do on a Baltimore station.”

Elliot’s program is currently based out of sister WWDC-FM (DC101) in Washington, DC, and WRXL-FM/Richmond, VA. With the addition of WSMJ, he will now be heard along the I-95 corridor from the Pennsylvania border to the Virginia/North Carolina line.

“Media consumers are more selective than ever about where to spend their valuable time. It is our pleasure and responsibility to provide compelling and engaging programming to the marketplace,” added President/Market Manager Hartley Adkins. “Elliot is a powerhouse of entertainment. Paired with great music you can’t find elsewhere in Baltimore, it is a winner for listeners and advertisers.”

I’m the type of person who enjoys most types of music including rock, but aren’t there already enough rock/alternative stations on the radio? Just like there are already enough oldies stations. Seems like when smooth jazz stations disappear, there’s not another smooth jazz station to turn to. If an oldies, rock or r&b radio station disappears there’s always another station with that format available.

So for those living in Maryland another smooth jazz station is gone. You know I mourned the loss of Smooth Jazz 105.9 a couple of months ago. The only Maryland based smooth jazz radio station left is Smooth Jazz 97.1 located in the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Will smooth jazz disappear from the radio?

Smooth jazz fans, this ain’t looking good at all. Another smooth jazz radio station has flipped to another format. This time in Jacksonville, Florida. Smooth Jazz WJSJ 105.3 and WSJF 105.5 (they simulcast the same broadcast) flipped to a rhythmic adult contemporary format. And what is rhythmic adult contemporary you ask? According to Wikipedia:

Rhythmic adult contemporary is a format used on stations in the United States and Canada, similar to rhythmic top 40 radio. Like many adult contemporary radio stations, rhythmic AC stations often would not play rap. It usually gears toward an older audience, ages 25 to 54. Often stations using this format play a great deal of disco from the 1970s and early 1980s, dance/pop music, dance/freestyle of the 1980s and house music of the late 80’s/early 1990s.

Aren’t there alot of radio stations around the country playing a similar format?

‘Coast’ nudges ‘Smooth Jazz’ format to boost radio share

Two FM stations in Jacksonville change to adult contemporary.

By Mark Basch, The Times-Union

Jacksonville radio stations WJSJ (105.3 FM) and WSJF (105.5 FM) dropped their “Smooth Jazz” moniker over the weekend and became “Coast” 105.3 and 105.5, playing rhythmic adult contemporary music.

Terrence Rodda, general manager of the two stations that simulcast the same broadcast, said the change was simply a business decision made because the smooth jazz format didn’t have a big enough audience.

The latest Arbitron Inc. ratings show that WJSJ and WSJF had a combined 2.7 percent average quarter hour share of all listeners aged 12 and older in the Jacksonville market last fall. That ranked the stations 12th in the market.

“We gave it, I think, a fair shot,” Rodda said.

The stations are owned by Tama Broadcasting Inc. of Tampa, but operation of the stations was transferred in September to a Dallas-based firm called Straight Way Radio LLC under a marketing agreement. The Tama-Straight Way group also includes Jacksonville stations WHJX (105.7 FM), which broadcasts Latin Tropical music, and WFJO (92.5 FM), which has a regional Mexican music format.

The smooth jazz format appears to be losing favor nationwide. Industry news Web site radio-info.com reports that stations in New York, Washington, Atlanta, Houston and Denver have recently dropped the format.

Fans of smooth jazz will still be able to listen to the music through the Jacksonville stations’ Web site, http://www.smoothjazz1053.com, but Rodda is hoping the stations’ new rhythmic AC format will have more commercial appeal over the air. He said it’s a mass appeal format aimed at “thirtyish” women, and he said it’s music that many people will recognize.

“It’s superstars and it’s familiar,” he said. “We’re playing the hits.”

Smooth jazz radio stations seem to be disappearing almost every week. What’s a smooth jazz fan to do besides buy a satellite radio? Of course there’s always the option of listening to smooth jazz stations on your pc but you’re out of luck if the IT folks at work have blocked access to this function. I’m going crazy at work not having Smooth Jazz 105.9 playing in the background.

Smooth Jazz in the DelMarVa area

I received an email from a smooth jazz fan in Maryland who mentioned that there is a smooth jazz station in the DelMarVa (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) area. The station is Smooth Jazz 97.1 WQJZ and it’s based in Salisbury, Maryland.

For those in the DelMarVa area you can listen to Smooth Jazz 97.1 WQJZ. For the rest of us you can listen to WQJZ on the internet.

Chillin’ with Norman Brown

So yesterday was my Friday at work. I’ve got a four day weekend that started today. It’s so cold outside today.

Since I don’t have a Smooth Jazz station to listen to (yeah I’m still ticked off; damn you Citadel Broadcasting!!!!), I brought a couple of Norman Brown cds to work with me. It was a Norman Brown day for me. It was so calm and relaxing for a Thursday. I was listening to Just Between Us
and After The Storm.

Two great cds. Check out After The Storm from the After The Storm cd.

Another smooth jazz station bites the dust

This time in Houston, Texas. Yesterday 95.7 KHJZ, which is owned by CBS Radio, flipped from smooth jazz to a contemporary hits format aimed at 18 to 34 year olds. Most cities have quite a number of contemporary hit radio stations, yet you only see one smooth jazz station in the cities that still have smooth jazz radio.

Smooth jazz out, pop music in at Houston’s 95.7

By David Barron

CBS Radio this afternoon flipped KHJZ (95.7 FM) from the smooth jazz format known as the Wave to Hot 95.7, a contemporary-hits format aimed at the 18-34 demographic.

After playing promotional material throughout the day Wednesday, the station signed onto the new format at 3 p.m. with Hot in Herre, the 2002 hit by Nelly, followed by Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna and See You Again by Miley Cyrus.

“We see an opportunity to provide something that listeners aren’t getting now from aging CHR and rap rhythmic stations, and we seen an opportunity for us to do something big and bold,” said Laura Morris, senior vice president and general manager of CBS Radio’s Houston stations.

Morris said the station will feature such artists as Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Gwen Stefani, the Jonas Brothers and Christina Aguilera. It also will feature listener interaction, allowing listeners to vote each hour for the most popular song of the moment, which will be played at the top of the next hour.

Morris said the smooth-jazz format will return later this spring when KHJZ launches its HD Radio signal at 95.7-2 FM. She said Hot 95.7 launched without air personalities but hopes to fill the positions as soon as possible. Seven on-air personalities left the air with the Wave’s demise.

Looks like smooth jazz is slowly being taken off FM radio and moved over to HD radio.

Is the smooth jazz genre losing steam?

There are a couple of news articles about the smooth jazz genre in radio. Tomorrow’s Washington Post (March 9) has an article about the disappearance of the smooth jazz radio format. Not only did Washington, D.C. lose it’s smooth jazz station but New York City, Philadelphia, Denver and Indianapolis lost their smooth jazz stations as well. Can you believe that the number one radio market in the country, New York City, doesn’t have a smooth jazz station? Unbelievable!!!

Smooth Jazz: Gentle Into That Good Night?
As the Genre Declines, Stations Switch To New Formats in D.C. and Nationwide

By Marc Fisher
Washington Post Staff Writer

Born in focus groups conducted in windowless conference rooms, named by a radio station consultant, derided by critics, smooth jazz vanished from Washington’s FM radio dial as the month began. It was 14 years old.

Actually, it was a listener who uttered the phrase that a consultant used to sum up this fusion of instrumental music styles. At a focus group held in Chicago by Broadcast Architecture, the firm that first sold radio stations on the new format in the early 1990s, a woman who was asked to describe the songs being tested blurted out “smooth jazz.”

What she was describing was a jazzlike sound without the jazz essential of improvisation, a melody-driven, generally instrumental set of songs played primarily on instruments used in jazz. But even that fungible definition fell apart as smooth jazz spread to about 200 radio stations, including Washington’s WJZW (105.9 FM), which switched to a 1960s-heavy rock oldies format. In recent years, smooth jazz came to mean not only saxmen Kenny G and Dave Koz but even singers Norah Jones, India.Arie and Sting.

There’s more:

But smooth jazz has hit rough waters. New York City’s CD101.9, for many years the nation’s most popular smooth jazz station, died last month, replaced by a rock format. Philadelphia’s smooth jazz outlet switched to a rhythmic hits format featuring everything from Alicia Keys and Beyonce to Frankie Valli and Bon Jovi.

In Washington, WJZW’s ratings had remained steady at the bottom of the market’s top 10 stations — a bit up over the past couple of years, but not enough to satisfy executives looking for a more profitable format.

In cities where the format is still thriving, such as Chicago, more adventuresome programmers are mixing some more traditional jazz into the playlist. Pianist and DJ Ramsey Lewis, who hosts a syndicated show heard on many smooth jazz stations, now blends some Oscar Peterson and Bud Powell in with the format’s R&B and light jazz regulars.

In markets where radio companies killed off smooth jazz because of drooping ratings, listeners have often demanded a return of the music. That has happened in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and already in Washington, where both WASH (97.1 FM) and WJZW have announced plans to include smooth jazz on one of their HD channels, which require the purchase of a digital radio. Both satellite radio services, XM and Sirius, also have smooth jazz channels.

That may not be enough to calm the legions of agitated fans who have been calling the offices of WJZW’s owner, Citadel Broadcasting, but in the radio industry, listeners’ desire for relaxing background music is not a priority these days. With sales of advertising spots in sharp decline, programmers and advertisers alike are looking for listeners who will be paying close attention, and that means music that’s front and center, not light and breezy.

You can read the entire article here.

While other cities have lost the smooth jazz format Seattle’s smooth jazz radio station is thriving.

On Radio: Smooth jazz has a home in Seattle
But for KWJZ-FM, it’s still a struggle

By BILL VIRGIN
P-I REPORTER

New York and Washington, D.C., have both lost their smooth-jazz stations in recent weeks, leading a radio-industry Web site to wonder if it’s “time to sound a death knell for the format.”

Not that it’s in trouble everywhere, Tom Webster writes on The Infinite Dial. In two markets in particular, smooth jazz is not only far from dead, “it is dominant.”

One of those markets is Seattle — in the form of KWJZ-FM/ 98.9.

KWJZ-FM has been a consistent top 10 ratings and rankings performer, according to Arbitron data. Among listeners 12 and older, KWJZ ranked sixth in fall, fourth in summer, among commercial stations in the market

But, says KWJZ program director Carol Handley, “we’re having all the same conversations and struggles as other stations” in the format.

One advantage KWJZ has is that it’s part of a privately held company, Sandusky, making it less susceptible to the pressures to cut spending to satisfy Wall Street, a trend now sweeping many publicly traded radio companies. In fact, KWJZ just started a new television advertising campaign.

Interestingly, those ads still use the word smooth — as in “smooth out,” the implication being that the station is an antidote to a hectic world. But neither they nor the new logo uses “jazz.” The saxophone in the old logo has been replaced by a highly stylized suggestion of a sax.

That reflects the tricky problem of positioning and definition that smooth jazz has had. It wasn’t traditional jazz, as might be heard on KPLU-FM/88.5. It wasn’t soft rock or adult contemporary, although KWJZ has long played vocal pieces performed by artists better known in those genres than in the jazz world.

Still, there was a core of artists, especially instrumentalists, who were readily identifiable as smooth jazz — Kenny G, David Sanborn, Jeff Lorber. Five years ago, “there was so much good music we were tripping over ourselves,” Handley says.

The problem with the music now, she adds, is that “there’s less of it.” Major record labels, facing cost-cutting pressures of their own, are bailing out of smooth jazz.

What music is coming out isn’t always ideal for keeping a smooth-jazz station viable. One such trend was a rash of cover versions of 1970s music, from Motown and soul to singer-songwriter tunes.

“Everyone got into this cover thing,” Handley says. “We tried to sidestep it unless it was too good to ignore.” The problem wasn’t the original material, she adds, but versions that “sound too Muzaky” and were virtual note-for-note copies.

In addition, “artists don’t want to be labeled” by a specific genre, she says. “If they don’t think of themselves as smooth jazz,” they don’t send their material to stations such as KWJZ.

That means a lot more digging for material that will keep the station’s playlist fresh. That includes going back to that wealth of music a few years ago to see what might have been overlooked at the time. It also means looking for newer artists, from Corinne Bailey Rae to John Legend, Queen Latifah, Moby and Massive Attack, to add to the library and attract younger listeners “so it’s not their parents’ station.”

KWJZ has been doing some variation of smooth jazz for 15 years and Handley believes it will continue to do so.

“There’s a lot of viable music to do what we do,” she says. But she also makes this prediction about the genre: “It won’t be called smooth jazz, of that you can be sure.”

I hope the smooth jazz genre isn’t dying off. Don’t we already have enough oldies, rap, r&b, rock and news/talk stations?

For those who have digital cable or Direct TV you can check out the music channels. Comcast Digital cable has a smooth jazz and jazz channel you can listen to.

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