12/08/2012 § 1 Comment
It’s been a year since the revival of Cleveland’s Smooth FM 107.3 The Wave. Rubber City Radio Group, Inc. revived the smooth music format just after the closing of the purchase of the station from Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting on December 16, 2011. The “celebration” began with an all-Christmas smooth jazz format through the holiday season until the official debut of the format on January 4, 2012. Since that time, and after some adjustments to listener requests and likes, The Wave sounds better every day.
In reality, the previous version of The Wave and its Smooth jazz format should never have disappeared in the first place. In my opinion, it’s all in your perspective and interpretation of ratings (and the audience that you are trying to reach). While it’s undeniable that the smooth jazz format was in an overall decline nationwide, The Wave had consistently favorable ratings for its demographic of adults (mostly urban) age 45+ years. Radio stations, in general, have suffered a decline in listeners as many of us who have loved radio over the years now also have many more choices in how we listen to our favorites (even old folks like me have an iPod, an iPhone and a Nook with a music player). When you couple this reality with many stations across the country bolting from Smooth Jazz because of the perceived aging target audience, it was apparent that there was a movement of change to reach a slightly younger demographic. In addition, an indictment of Smooth Jazz performers during this decline was that there was not much new material that was appealing to radio formats. As a result of a combination of all of these factors, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting decided to make its move from Smooth Jazz to the AAA (Adult Album Alternative) format in 2009 to reach a slightly younger demographic for its potential advertisers—the new format failed to catch on and essentially flopped within 20 months. WNWV was put up for sale in October 2011, leading to Rubber City Radio’s purchase.
As radio stations compete for listeners, it is important for stations to pay attention to those who care to make suggestions on improvements. The Wave’s return to the Smooth AC (Smooth Adult Contemporary) format has had some tweaks over the past year, and all of the tweaks were sensitive to what listeners wanted to hear. One of the great strengths of the original Wave was its ability to move outside of the typical Smooth Jazz format with some classic music that you would also hear on other adult-contemporary stations. After the initial launch of the station this January, there were a lot of Smooth AC vocalists that were less familiar to Cleveland listeners, and some of the music didn’t seem to fit well within the format. The change from Smooth Jazz to Smooth AC took some time to gel this year. Thankfully, the tweaks over the months have brought back more of the smooth jazz artists that we had grown accustomed to (Kenny G, Alicia Keys, and Norman Brown) and phased out some of the artists that sounded more like pop and soft rock than Smooth AC. The result has been a “smoother” (pun intended) music experience with an influx of new and classic Soul, R&B, and adult contemporary jazz. The overall listening experience is now more enjoyable and captures one’s attention longer than before. The plusses of the Smooth AC format are the talented vocalists like Adele and Anita Baker, whose new releases have provided a spark to the format. Artists such as Boney James, Luther Vandross, Joyce Cooling and even Michael Jackson have been worked into the rotation with a playlist of their hits. I’m looking forward to the introduction of new music from these and other Smooth AC artists to keep the music fresh.
Initially, the weekend broadcasts were dominated by more of a network “feel” than local on-air talent. It was a good move for the station to lessen the network presence and hear more of the local DJs on the air through the weekend. It’s also great to hear the lone holdover from the original Wave, Mark Ribbins, in the director’s chair every day. The weekday piloting of Ribbins, Dan Deely, Bobby Thomas and Lynn Kelly, all Cleveland radio veterans, makes for a very appealing listening experience throughout the day.
The greatest appeal of The Wave as we approach the one-year anniversary of its return is the development of the station into its own personality within the Smooth AC format. It has improved as the year has progressed and it is great background music throughout my busy workday. Here’s to everyone at WNWV for bringing smooth music back to the airwaves in 2012 and a most satisfying listening experience.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.
01/23/2012 § Leave a comment
Songs from my iPod today:
West Coast Poplock — Ronnie Hudson and The Street People — Street Jams Back 2 the Old Skool, Vol. 3
Hello Like Before — Vanessa Williams — The Real Thing
Hey Mr. D.J. [Remix] — Zhane — Pronounced Jah-Nay
Joe Cool — B. B. King — Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown!
Samba Blue — Michael Franks — Time Together
Heartbreaker (Part 1, Part 2) — Zapp & Roger — All The Greatest Hits
Groove Is In The Heart — Rick Braun — Yours Truly (With Bonus Track)
In Too Deep — Genesis — Genesis: The Hits – Turn It On Again
Spotlight — Jennifer Hudson — Jennifer Hudson (Bonus Track Version)
Watching You — Loose Ends — The Best of Loose Ends
Acoustic Lady — Earl Klugh — Heart String
Ain’t Leavin’ Without You — Jaheim — Another Round
01/09/2012 § Leave a comment
Cleveland’s Smooth FM, WNWV, 107.3 The Wave, is now streaming live online via 1073thewave.net or through the website’s media player link. The Wave returned to the airwaves officially this past Wednesday, January 4 after a two-year hiatus with the new Smooth AC format.
Personally, I am still waiting for the reconnection of the The Wave Classics online streaming (107.3 HD2), which is the “classic” smooth jazz radio station, which is a revival of the original Wave that was on for over two decades before the programming change to AAA alternative rock two years ago. The HD2 online streaming is still down after running the Christmas classic jazz programming over the holidays.
The station had reported technical difficulties with both online streaming channels after the transition to new temporary studios. Now that the main station is streaming once more, I can take the station with me wherever I go with my WunderRadio app on my iPhone or iPod Touch (with wifi).
By the way, I’m thoroughly enjoying the new Wave and the Smooth AC format! It has been a pleasure to listen to new songs and old favorites once more.
12/27/2011 § 3 Comments
Now that the buzz and the dust has settled after Rubber City Radio Group, Inc. purchased WNWV 107.3 FM from Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting Co., the station that is once again referred to as 107.3 The Wave and 107.3 HD2 The Wave returns with fresh new smooth formats on Wednesday, January 4, 2012. For one who has closely followed The Wave and its Smooth Jazz format, the day cannot come soon enough! For two years since The Wave was moved to HD radio and online, I was relegated to listening over the internet and also with my iPhone and iPod Touch (with wifi) through the WunderRadio app when I was not at work.
When you listen today online or to the radio, you will hear Christmas/holiday music 24/7 with a smooth jazz feel (with the exception of the occasional Cheech & Chong classic “Santa Claus and His Old Lady” or John Denver and the Muppets’ version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”). The holiday tunes continue until the 4th when the new format debuts at midnight.
From what we can see from looking at the new website, 107.3 The Wave will be known as Cleveland’s Smooth FM, and will take on a Smooth AC (Smooth Adult Contemporary) format, which is the morphing of the old smooth jazz format into a modernized combination of smooth jazz vocalists, urban contemporary/R&B vocalists, and fewer jazz instrumentals in the playlist. Smooth AC appeals to a younger demographic (25-54) and is intended to complement the “mature” demographic of smooth jazz listeners. With this change, the Smooth AC format has become more popular in recent years in several large markets while smooth jazz has slid off the radar and onto HD radio, including Cleveland. Since Smooth AC is brand new here, we will soon hear how it will distinguish itself from WNWV’s old smooth jazz format. While the old format was mostly enjoyable, it was distinctly different from other smooth jazz stations around the country. At times, the “old Wave” mimicked a jazzy Adult Contemporary format, and it could have used more frequent injections to the playlist to freshen it up.
The other discovery with the new format change is that the 107.3 HD2 channel will continue to be a “smooth jazz” format. The logo for the HD2 channel is actually a freshening of the old Wave logo with the added name “The Wave Classics.” If you are longing for the good ‘ol days of smooth jazz, the HD2 channel will satisfy your craving (and those jazz instrumentals from artists that you have missed, such as Boney James and Norman Brown). We will now have two smooth radio choices, which is a welcome surprise. If you don’t have HD radio, you can still listen online, but its getting to a point where the HD radio is a must when you finally decide to upgrade your car stereo equipment–HD radio is still free and provides many more stations as an alternative to playing your iPod in the car.
With respect to those persons who enjoyed the AAA format at 107.3 Cleveland, I hope that you will find a station that has a similar appeal where you can latch on. It’s never pleasant to see a station change its formats, and for those of us who lost The Wave two years ago, we understand how unpleasant it is. The good news is that there are many options available, including a myriad of free online sources that can pick up where broadcast radio leaves off. What I hope that true music lovers–even a critic from Scene Magazine–can appreciate is that there are many different places where you can listen to rock or alternative rock, but there are noticeably fewer choices for smooth jazz lovers. Those of us who listen to smooth jazz are extremely loyal, and it is no coincidence that The Wave was a successful radio program for two decades. I’m glad that it’s back, and I look forward to another long and successful run with Rubber City Radio.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.
10/21/2011 § Leave a comment
Songs from my iPod today (it’s a great set):
Fantastic Voyage — Coolio — It Takes a Thief
Time Out of Mind — Steely Dan — Gaucho
In a Sentimental Mood — John Coltrane & Duke Ellington — The Very Best of John Coltrane
Backstrokin’ — Fatback — Hot Box
A Song For You (featuring Christina Aguilera) — Herbie Hancock — Possibilities
Save the Last Dance — Mindi Abair — It Just Happens That Way
Midnight At The Oasis — Ramsey Lewis Trio — Narada Jazz: The Singles
Maria (Spinner Cee Remix) — Santana
Dolores in Pink — Joyce Cooling — Global Cooling
Lovin’ You — Minnie Riperton — Capitol Gold: The Best of Minnie Riperton
Anytime — Brian McKnight — Anytime
Share My Life — Kem — Intimacy
I Swear — Jim Brickman — Love
Close the Door — Jeffrey Osborne — From the Soul
10/19/2011 § Leave a comment
Songs from my iPod today:
Mexico — Ed Smith — Lifescapes – Sail Away – Smooth Jazz
Love Me or Leave Me — Cal Tjader Quintet — Monterey Concerts
‘Tis So Sweet — Jim Brickman — Faith
We Go a Long Way Back — Bloodstone — Bloodstone: The Ultimate Collection
Shake — The Gap Band — 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection – Best of The Gap Band
Hour Glass — Ed Smith — Lifescapes – Sail Away – Smooth Jazz
Harlem Nocturne — Kofi — Harlem Nocturne
Can You Feel It — Kem — Intimacy
Breathless — Vanessa Williams — The Real Thing
Natural High — Bloodstone — Bloodstone: The Ultimate Collection
Boogie Nights — Heatwave — Too Hot To Handle
Friends and Strangers — Ronnie Laws — The Best of Ronnie Laws
Save the Last Dance — Mindi Abair — It Just Happens That Way
10/18/2011 § Leave a comment
Shotgun — Jr. Walker & the All Stars
The Ghetto (Reprise) — Too $hort
Round Up — Sam Spence — The Power and The Glory: Original Music of NFL Films
Give Me The Night — George Benson
I Just Want To Be — Cameo
Four — Miles Davis Quintet — Workin’ (RVG Remaster)
Cantaloop — US3 — Rare Requests – Smooth Jazz
Be That Easy — Sade — Soldier of Love
Nite and Day — Al B. Sure — 80s Club: Rhythm of the Night
Acode (feat. Vanessa Da Mata) — Sergio Mendes & Vanessa Da Mata — Encanto
Around 12:15 A.M. — Alex Bugnon — Love Season
Vibe — Zhane — Pronounced Jah-Nay
Jammin’ – Grover Washington, Jr. — Love Songs
When I Give My Love To You — Michael Franks — The Best of Michael Franks
Let Me Clear My Throat (Old School Reunion Remix ’96) — DJ Kool feat. Biz Markie & Doug E. Fresh
When I’m With You — David Sanborn — Inside
Born To Be Wild — Steppenwolf
Dream — Brad Mehidau — Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Clumsy (Collipark Remix) feat. Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em — Fergie
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) — Babyface and Gwyneth Paltrow — Duets
Shoe Was On The Other Foot — Patti Labelle — Flame
Everything — Michael Buble
Time — The Alan Parsons Project
The Pony Soldiers — Sam Spence — The Power and The Glory: Original Music of NFL Films