The internet's most successful radiostation?
Jazz FM was founded in 1990 as a small commercial radiostation transmitting in London, UK and expanded in 1994 to setup another studio in North West England, supplying the Midlands with their unique programming. The station ventured early into digital broadcasting and set up an internet stream: for some time, they claimed to be the station with the most listeners on the internet worldwide which is probably due to their domain name (Jazzfm.com), which is obviously pretty easy to remember. They are now having an audience of ca 1.75 million listener by venturing into the realm of digital broadacasting, using Freeview, Sky Radio, digital cable and DAB and were recently taken over by the Guardian Media Group.
So, they have the means to get the audience, but is the station worth listening to?
Yes and No.
Sholto Byrnes, the Jazz Critic from the Independent certainly has strong views on this issue:
" Who knows what delicate soul reared on the comforting pap of chart music might accidentally turn the dial and be assaulted by a few bars of Charlie Parker or Bud Powell? How could the poor dears stand the shock?
Those who don't subscribe to this view have long been infuriated by the programming policy of Jazz FM, which since it started has filled its airwaves with a diet of musical junk-food."
If, during the british daylight hours, you are expecting Jazz, you are unfortunately mistaken. The music can be broadly described as mixture of Smooth Jazz (fortunately without Kenny G) with stalwarts like Peter White, Acoustic Alchemy, George Benson, Diana Krall and their numerous elevator jazz colleagues, Soul and R&B. Nothing exciting, but an agreeable enogh mixture to listen to during in the office or the kitchen. In the evening, the mood becomes more sombre and the station actually does play Jazz. Superb shows like Dinner Jazz are unfortunately at times when the average radio listener switches off, so their main audience will probably never ever have to listen to one bar of Miles Davis. This is one of the reasons they have recently been investigated by the Radio Broadcast Authority, as complaints were made wether they should really be called Jazz FM, but to no avail.
So, is it worth checking them out?
Well, it really depends what you want from your Radio: If you want a funky supplement in the background to lighten your day, the answer is yes.
If you want Jazz, stay away from it...