05/04/2012 § Leave a comment
It’s been 120 days since the official return of Cleveland’s Smooth AC radio station, 107.3 The Wave. It has been a joy to listen to new and classic favorites in this format, which has seen a recent growth spurt in popularity nationwide, and is largely responsible for a resurgence in the smooth music format on mainstream radio. Smooth AC (Adult Contemporary) is the modern evolution of the classic Smooth Jazz format (which can still be heard on The Wave’s 107.3 HD2 station). The Wave’s return was a pleasant (and unexpected) surprise after the purchase of the station in late 2011 by Rubber City Radio Group, Inc. Since it’s return, The Wave got off to a fast start in the ratings books and has continued to evolve with a great mix of new Smooth AC hit artists (Maysa, Conya Doss, Adele and Sarah’s Girl) along with newer Smooth Jazz (Chieli Minucci and Special EFX, Terry Wollman) and a touch of classic Smooth Jazz and R&B favorites. The Smooth AC format is predominantly smooth vocals with about two or three instrumentals played for every broadcast hour. There is something for every listener if you listen for just a short time. While I prefer the classic Smooth Jazz format, I also enjoy listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, Maxwell, Erykah Badu and Bobby Caldwell. I tune in throughout the day and listen on a radio at my desk at work. It is also online via The Wave’s website. Either way, it makes for great, relaxing background music.
It’s good to hear some familiar voices during the day, too. Dan Deely is a veteran of Cleveland radio and is heard each day during morning drive and also on Saturday afternoon. Mark Ribbins is the midday personality and the lone holdover from the original Wave. Bobby Thomas is the evening rush hour host, and Lynn Kelly handles the evening duties. Other on-air personalities provide local programming via the Smooth Jazz Network. On weekends, Allen Kepler (Smooth Jazz Top 20), Dave Koz (The Dave Koz Radio Show) and Ramsey Lewis (Legends of Jazz) return from the original Wave with more smooth sounds to enjoy.
The station is also broadcasting on its HD2 channel, but the online feed has not yet been restored. It is likely that the online feed will return once the station moves to its new studio in Independence, Ohio, which is still under construction as of this writing.
I am very pleased to hear The Wave back on the air once more and the transition from Smooth Jazz to Smooth AC has been relatively “smooth.” Be sure to listen and help spread the word!
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
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
12/13/2010 § 1 Comment
It’s been one year since the Cleveland Smooth Jazz radio station (107.3 The Wave) was programmed out of mainstream radio onto HD radio and the Internet. The change was made in spite of the loyal following of listeners, and now we are forced to listen to our computers when we want to hear Smooth Jazz. This has turned out to be more and more frequent for jazz fans throughout the country over the past couple of years, as stations are rapidly disappearing from radio and are only heard on the web or HD radio, if they’re heard at all. It is clear that the genre of Smooth Jazz has slipped to an endangered species status.
Not long after the transition, Mark Ribbins, the online DJ and Program Director, departed from the station. It was sad to hear that he was gone, but I’m thankful that his changes to the format have remained intact. His tweaks to the programming have made listening more enjoyable than it was before it was relegated to the Net. I listen to The Wave most often during weekdays as background music through my computer. It has been a refreshing addition to my workday routine as the music makes the time pass with a very nice vibe.
Today, the Smooth Jazz fan is relegated to search engines to locate our favorite jazz artists and buy the music in much the same way that we now hear it—online. Today’s demographics have moved the face of radio from Adult Contemporary and Arbitron to People Meters, much to my displeasure. The new methodology behind measuring radio listeners cannot possibly reach a significant number of people who readily support their favorite Smooth Jazz and Urban Contemporary performers. They missed most of us a year ago when my favorite station changed. They’re still missing us, because we’re now mostly underground—online or listening with an iPhone or iPod Touch with wifi—and we’ve worked out the logistics to find and listen to what we want to hear. Call us the tech savvy boomers—the new silent majority. We have evolved as the technology has changed. If our favorite music is not on the radio, we’ll continue to adjust and go where it can be found. A year after Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting forced me to go cold turkey, I’m now doing just fine, for Smooth Jazz lives on.