Friday, December 11, 2009

The Only Constant is Change

If there's one thing that's true about radio, it's that you seldom get to say goodbye. For instance, in my life I've worked at seven stations and never been given the chance to do a last show. Management just doesn't like the “final show” idea.

That's what makes AccuRadio, Inc., the company behind, an employer unlike any other I've encountered in my career in broadcasting, and it's entirely in a good way. Take, for example, the fact that they're allowing me the chance to put up this final blog, knowing it's my opportunity to say goodbye.

Recently, I received an offer to program and host the midday show on WLFM 87.7, the over-the-air radio station which replaced WNUA 95.5 as Chicago's Smooth Jazz station this past May. The opportunity was, quite simply, too good to pass up.

My voice and name will slowly disappear from the site over the next few weeks. However, because of a unique arrangement between my current and future bosses, I will continue to program the music at this site. I will still be here but behind the scenes, making sure the music remains true to our original vision for the site when we launched this past June. isn't going away.

Last but definitely not least, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to every listener who's discovered us during the past six months. The support and encouragement Kurt Hanson, President of Accuradio, and I received along the way were remarkable and indicated to us that we were doing something right. You made the entire endeavor worthwhile. The countless emails, phone calls and comments in the Shoutbox were an incredible motivator. Please keep 'em coming and know that we take every one seriously.

Thank you for listening. To you and your family, we wish you all the blessings of a wonderful holiday season.

Rick O'Dell

Operations Manager – Smooth Jazz

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nominees for the 52nd Grammy Awards

We applaud these UltraSmoothJazz artists on their Grammy nominations announced yesterday:

Chris Botti - In Boston (Best Pop Instrumental Album & Best Long Form Music Video)

Hiroshima - Legacy (Best Pop Instrumental Album)

Booker T. Jones - Potato Hole (Best Pop Instrumental Album)

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman - Modern Art (Best Pop Instrumental Album)

Spyro Gyra - Down the Wire (Best Pop Instrumental Album)

Beyonce - "At Last" (Best Traditional R&B Performance)

Jim Brickman - Faith (Best New Age Album)

Philippe Saisse - At World's Edge (Best Contemporary Jazz Album)

Randy Crawford & Joe Sample - No Regrets (Best Jazz Vocal Album)

The winners will be announced Sunday, January 31, 2010. The full list of nominees is available here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Traveling Music

One of our loyal listeners, “SaxFan” in Louisville, Kentucky, asked in the Shoutbox last week for a few suggestions on Smooth Jazz CDs which would make for good listening in the car during those long holiday drives. In the car I prefer a CD that has decent energy and a fair amount of hit material. Here are a few that I've always enjoyed listening to through the years while we made our way over the river and through the woods:

Acoustic Alchemy – Reference Point (GRP)

David Benoit – Best of, 1987-1995 (GRP)

Chris Botti – The Very Best of Chris Botti (GRP)

Boney James – Sweet Thing (Warner Bros.)

Jazzmasters – The Greatest Hits (Trippin' 'n' Rhythm)

Joe Sample – Spellbound (Warner Bros.)

And some festive holiday season fare:

The Very Best of Christmas (new release for 2009) (Trippin' 'n' Rhythm)

Making Spirits Bright (featuring G. Albright, R. Elliot, D. Krall and more) (GRP)

Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy)

Boney James – Christmas Present (Concord)

Diana Krall – Christmas Songs (Verve)

Dave Koz & Friends – A Smooth Jazz Christmas (Capitol)

Eric Tingstad & Nancy Rumbel – The Gift (Narada)

Peter White – Songs of the Season (Columbia)

Have I left out anything? Drop me a note (; I'm also on Facebook), and I'll add your suggestions to the list.

Rick O'Dell

Operations Manager –

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Win a Gift Pack of The Year's Best New Releases

We're giving away holiday gift packs featuring the year's best new releases in Smooth Jazz. Included among the CDs in each gift pack is my pick for the year's finest new holiday CD, The Very Best of Christmas on Trippin' 'n' Rhythm Records.

The Very Best of Christmas features Paul Hardcastle, Tim Bowman, Gregg Karukas, U-Nam, Oli Silk and others performing our favorite songs this time of year.

To enter, it's very simple. All you have to do is send me an email to Please include:

1. Your name.
2. Your email address. (And we'll never sell your email address to a third party.)
3. Where you listen to

(You can also enter by regular mail with a letter or postcard to: Rick O'Dell, UltraSmoothJazz, 400 North Wells, Suite 408, Chicago, IL 60654.)

We'll select winners at random starting soon.

What's New at Ultra Smooth

Just added to the playlist:

Cindy Bradley - "Bloom"
CD: Bloom (Trippin' 'n' Rhythm)

Smooth Jazz has always suffered from a shortage of talented women musicians, so it's a treat to introduce this Buffalo-born trumpeter on her major label debut.

Craig Chaquico - "Songbird"
CD: Follow the Sun (Shanachie)

Yes, it's the melody made famous by Kenny G, a tune that's become a standard of Smooth Jazz. For the first time, we get to hear a guitar playing the lead. Much like Paul Brown's take on "Winelight" and Norman Brown's read on "Skating," the effect is ear-catching.

Paul Hardcastle - "The Circle"
CD - The Collection (Trippin' 'n' Rhythm)

Paul's son, Paul Jr., who up to this point has been featured occasionally on his father's CDs only in the liner notes, steps forward to make a statement of his own--on saxophone. That's the younger Paul Hardcastle making a memorable first impression playing all the sax solos.

Everette Harp - "Texas Groove"
CD - First Love (Shanachie)

Doing a little "background check" on the big man, I was stunned to learn this is his 17th year in Smooth Jazz, his debut coming in 1992. Since then, he's lost a ponytail but gained a consistently powerful tone that cuts through on his ninth CD.

Brian McKnight - "What I've Been Waiting For"
CD - Evolution of a Man (Koch)

He's no longer just a smooth crooner. Add in a successful morning show on radio (KTWV/Los Angeles) and his new "Brian McKnight Show" on TV, and you've got a multi-media star in full bloom.


Rick O'Dell
Operations Manager - (

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Smooth Jazz Christmas Your Way

If 22 years of playing Christmas music have taught me anything, it's this: listeners take it very seriously. People absolutely know what they like when it comes to the music of the holiday season. Requests start coming in as early as mid-October, and they don't stop until about the time the final present is unwrapped Christmas day.

That's why, as we launch the first ever SMOOTH JAZZ CHRISTMAS channel at, we want to make sure we're doing it right. When you have a moment, please consider these questions:

What are your favorite holiday songs?

Which ones should we absolutely add to our Christmas music channel?

At the same time, which Christmas songs should we avoid playing?

Some titles and artists would be most helpful.

Drop me an email:

We'll be incorporating your suggestions into Smooth Jazz Christmas this holiday season, and we'd really appreciate your input. Thanks!

Rick O'Dell - Operations Manager -

Monday, October 26, 2009

Coming Soon . . .


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What's New at Ultra Smooth

Just added to the playlist:

Greg Adams - “Five to Eleven”

CD: East Bay Soul (Ripa)

If you were a fan of Tower of Power back in the day, you've been enjoying the music of Greg Adams for a long time, just as I have. Upon leaving the group he founded in 1995, the trumpeter and composer released a solo album that has become a Smooth Jazz standard: Hidden Agenda. His new CD, East Bay Soul, is his fifth solo project and embodies a little of everything he's capable of: urban rhythms, soulful ballads, a Tower of Power throwback track or two, and some tasty smooth jazz on “Five to Eleven.”

Ashling - “Jazzman”

CD: Sweet Feelings (SF)

This first generation Irish-Canadian was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, but has lived most of her life in San Francisco. Her solo debut features saxman Gerald Albright on the title track as well as the song you'll hear on UltraSmoothJazz, a fresh take on Carole King's 1974 hit. I've often wondered why no one else ever took a crack at this song, which seems to be right in the pocket both lyrically and texturally for Smooth Jazz.

The Sax Pack - “Can't Help Myself”

CD: The Pack is Back (Shanachie)

The trio doesn't miss a beat on their sophomore CD, bringing us a handful of energetic original tracks that pick up right where their first CD left off. When Steve Cole, Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters and company hit the road in support of the new release, try and catch them in action. It'll be an evening of unexpected pleasures, right down to the razor-sharp wit and humor of each of the three headliners.


Rick O'Dell

Operations Manager -

Friday, October 9, 2009

From Rick O'Dell's Smooth Jazz Notebook

As I put the finishing touches this week on the music for the new Sunday Brunch channel, thoughts were popping into my head left and right. Since I know many of you go way back with me when it comes to Smooth Jazz, I'll share with you what I was thinking as I uploaded one vintage track after another into our online music library . . .

  • There's an awful lot of darn good instrumental music from the late '80s and early '90s that doesn't get any kind of airplay anymore. I can understand that over-the-air radio has given up on it, what with the sad state of Smooth Jazz on terrestrial radio. But it's scarce on the internet too, and there's no reason for that. That's why I had to bring back the Sunday Brunch.
  • Anyone out there remember the group Uncle Festive? They were Barry Manilow's touring band in the '70s and '80s and, with crowds going wild for Barry, they even had their own fan club. By the middle 1980s, the quartet was performing on its own. Drummer Bud Harner went onto become one of the leading record reps in Smooth Jazz.
  • A listener once described Lonnie Liston Smith's “Quiet Moments” to me as “the national anthem of Smooth Jazz.” Indeed, it embodies everything we love about the genre. But another tune of Lonnie's, “London Interlude” is, to my ears, equally mesmerizing and a vastly underrated track.
  • I know we liked going deep into CDs when the format started, but Horizont's Silent Moon was exceptional, even for that era. When I got to the station in 1989, WNUA was playing six tracks from it. You better believe I added all six to the Sunday Brunch channel.
  • Between 1986 and 1992 Acoustic Alchemy did some unbelievably compelling stuff, making them one of the pillars of the “New Adult Contemporary” radio format, as it was called back then. Greg Carmichael and the late Nick Webb were creative geniuses at their peak. Today, their CDs of the period, such as Natural Elements and Reference Point, still hold up extremely well.
  • On the other hand, some material from the early days of the format just doesn't hold up as well, mainly because it was poorly produced, sounding like it had been recorded in a garage. The New Adult Contemporary format in its early days had a reputation of playing just about everything that came its way, and sometimes it was to our detriment. If anything's changed from the late '80s, it's production values.
  • Smooth Jazz has more than its share of one-hit wonders, including a French keyboardist named Serge Blenner. Played for only a brief time on WNUA between 1987 and 1989, his “Love Talk” is unique for its use of a human laugh track. And he actually makes it work. Listen for it here.
  • What was in the water up there in the Pacific Northwest? A large number of key artists in the early days of Smooth Jazz hailed from there: Kenny G., Jeff Lorber, Dan Siegel, Tom Grant, just to name a few.
  • If any tune could ever be called “smoldering,” it's Santana's “Aqua Marine.” Speaking of Santana, another of his tracks from that time in his career, “Love Is You,” has to be one of the greatest rock-influenced instrumental melodies ever.

Have a track from the early days of Smooth Jazz that you find especially moving or interesting? Tell me about it, and I could add it to my Notebook and the Sunday Brunch channel. Drop me a line at this address:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Congratulations, Pam and Jim!

When major characters on a TV show get married to each other, I've learned it's nothing to celebrate. Even as a nine-year-old, watching Maxwell Smart marry Agent 99 on the original Get Smart, I felt something wasn't quite right. The idea of a wedding didn't fit a show that had gotten me hooked because of its gadgets, secret agents and world takeover plots. Get Smart is just one example. I can't think of a show that got better after two of its main characters got married.

That being said, I'm strangely optimistic about tonight's episode of The Office, where we get to see Jim and Pam finally tie the knot. Maybe it's because it's totally believable--we've all seen an in-office romance or two blossom and go all the way to the altar, just as Jim and Pam's has. Maybe it's because their courtship was so charmingly, innocently depicted on screen during the first two seasons that I've been rooting for them ever since. Maybe it's because John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer are creating characters who are so much fun to watch on screen. Or maybe it's because they're headed down the path we knew they'd be going eventually, and once they do, we can move onto their next (mis)adventure.

Usually, when a show decides to weave a wedding into its plot lines, it's a sign that the well of creative inspiration is running dry. I don't think that's the case, however. Jim and Pam's big day makes a lot of sense, and it happens to be just the latest in a series of hilarious plot points in another strong season of The Office. I know what I'll be doing at 8:00 tonight. Don't call me then.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our Music's Not a Priority to Big Radio


Smooth Jazz lost another station this weekend. Detroit's WVMV, which had been around since December of 1995, switched to a Top 40 format this past Friday.

The ownership of WVMV, CBS Radio, was quick to put a positive spin on the format change, issuing a statement on its website saying, new media and new technologies have given us the chance to still keep this [smooth jazz] programming on the air.”

So, how will the format be kept on the air? According to the website: “Get an HD receiver, and you'll still hear us.” Without an HD receiver, though, the only way to listen to WVMV will be their audio stream. And, be it HD radio or internet, it'll be just the remnants of WVMV, because the station no longer features a full complement of announcers.

Moreover, when it comes to a radio format, do you know what being shifted over to HD radio means? It's the equivalent of “You get to keep your job, but we're transferring you to Nome, Alaska.” As a format, when you're sent off to HD land, it's all but over for you--HD is where radio formats go to die. So, “still being available on the air on HD radio” isn't exactly the gift you might think it is.

This isn't as much an indictment of how corporate radio operates as it is just another example of how little the Smooth Jazz fan means to them when it comes to over-the-air radio. They're in the business of making money, and they obviously don't believe Smooth Jazz is a moneymaker anymore. It's as simple as that.

Thankfully, we have internet radio riding to our rescue. As conventional over-the-air radio stations have dropped the Smooth Jazz format, internet radio has rushed in to fill the gap. As a result, Smooth Jazz fans have never had more and better choices than they do right now—on the internet. Think about it. Just a few years ago, if you were a listener of WVMV (or, here in Chicago, WNUA), that was the only station you could turn to for Smooth Jazz. If they were playing songs that weren't your cup of tea, well, you had no other station to switch to. These days, by listening on the internet, you give yourself choices. Lots of them. Twelve channel choices for Smooth Jazz here at, for example.

So I say, let Big Radio wipe Smooth Jazz off the face of the over-the-air radio dial. The listening's better—much better—here on the internet.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Smooth Jazz Q&A

Lately I've heard some jazzy-sounding jingles playing in between songs on UltraSmoothJazz. Were they done by Smooth Jazz musicians? (Lois - Brookfield, Ill.)

You could say that. They were composed and produced by a group called The Inline Six, a talented Chicago-based ensemble. Led by Jay Martini and Mitch Germaine, The Inline Six is as much at home creating jingles for UltraSmoothJazz as they are playing impassioned renditions of smooth and "rough" jazz numbers, R&B, rock and blues.

Is the Dave Koz and Friends Smooth Jazz Christmas concert all Christmas music? (Susan - Chicago, Ill.)

No. It's about 60% Christmas classics (along with Dave's spirited Hanukkah song) and 40% non-holiday tunes. The non-holiday material is made up of the Smooth Jazz hits by the individual performers in the band (Rick Braun, Peter White, David Benoit and Brenda Russell).
Dave and the band are able to transition seamlessly from Christmas songs to non-Christmas songs and back in a show that's festive and fun from beginning to end.

The tour begins the day after Thanksgiving and includes 21 performances around the country. To me, this is the one Smooth Jazz concert that's an automatic. Find out where they're playing nearest you, and enjoy a dose of holiday spirit that'll take you right through the New Year.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sunday Brunch: A Page Out of Smooth Jazz History

Throughout the 23-year history of Smooth Jazz radio, the "Sunday Brunch" concept has had an important role. It's given Smooth Jazz stations a chance to deliver a touch of elegance to Sunday morning programming.

The "Sunday Brunch" channel here at is based on the "Sunday Lite Brunch" which originally aired in Chicago on WCLR-FM in 1987. It was the first Smooth Jazz program to air in Chicago and one of the first in the entire country, premiering one weekend after KTWV/Los Angeles, "The Wave," launched the first 24-hour, 7-day-a-week format in the country on February 14, 1987.

I was the original producer and host of the "Sunday Lite Brunch" on WCLR. I remember those days very clearly. In early February of 1987, I found myself making frequent trips to record stores in search of music for the Brunch. I'd scour the Jazz and New Age sections of the store and grab the entire catalogue of the few artists I already knew about (Grover Washington Jr. and George Benson, for example). Then I'd ask someone in the store to point me in the direction of some of their own favorites in those categories. That's how I first learned about the great old Windham Hill and Narada artists that were an important part of the format in the early days. In about an hour I'd be back at the station with a stack of albums (yes, vinyl!) that the Music Director and I would listen to, track by track, on the turntable in her office. It took a couple weeks, but we had the makings of our first Brunch playlist--nearly a hundred tracks.

"The Sunday Lite Brunch" debuted in Chicago on February 22, 1987. Station management opted for a quiet launch, something unheard of today. There had been no promos leading up to that moment, so we took the audience completely by surprise at 8:00 am that day. And surprised they were. Pleasantly surprised. By the time I got through with my first on-air break, where I welcomed listeners to "The Sunday Lite Brunch, a brand new program on WCLR," all my phone lines were ringing. I answered the first call. It was a woman saying she liked the idea of the new show. I took a second call. Another encouraging, positive comment. I took a third. Same thing. On and on it went, call after call. As I played more and more music, listeners continued to call in. Around 9:00, the hotline in the studio rang. It was WCLR's General Manager, Chet Redpath, asking what kind of reaction we were getting to the Brunch. I couldn't get it out fast enough: "It's unbelievable, Chet--people are LOVING the music!"

Through the spring and summer of 1987 the warm reaction we were getting each weekend grew into a white-hot buzz. Positive calls and letters to the station numbered in the hundreds without a single complaint. We offered a free program guide to the show ("The Sunday Lite Brunch Menu"), and we had a thousand requests by the end of the summer. Ratings on Sunday morning were rising. Clients were lining up to sponsor the show. Dan Miller of Crain's Chicago Business and Robert Feder of the Chicago Sun-Times surprised us with positive reviews that were most welcome, with Robert even describing the Brunch as "being as close to perfect as any radio show." The entire WCLR braintrust and I agreed: in all our years in the business, we'd never seen a reaction like this to any new show we'd been part of. When WNUA finally hit the air August 3 with their full-time format of the music we'd been playing on Sunday morning, they would be trading on the unprecedented amount of goodwill that had been built up toward the format in the listening community the past six months. If Sunday morning was any indication, listeners adored the format. And in Chicago they have--for 23 years and counting.

Over the years, the mixture of music that both the Sunday Lite Brunch and WNUA started out with evolved, as radio formats always do. What began as a blend of 30% contemporary jazz, 30% New Age and 40% pop/rock/folk/R&B vocals in 1987 was nearly a 50-50 blend of contemporary ("smooth") jazz and pop vocals by 2009. The New Age content and the eclectic vocals had all but disappeared. A certain segment of the listening audience that had been drawn to the Brunch and WNUA in the early days because of the rich variety of sounds, textures and colors became disenchanted with the direction the format had taken. Sadly, there was no longer a radio show or station in Chicago catering to their musical preferences. I heard early and often from this part of the WNUA audience while I was working for the station, and I sympathized with them because of my affection for the music that had made the Brunch so popular during its early days. There wasn't much New Age music on WNUA anymore, but I was still enjoying listening to it at home, just as they were. I harbored a wish that someday there would be a place where I could bring back all of those wonderfully unique tunes that were missing on commercial radio.

Fortunately, with the arrival of the internet, variety has returned to the listening landscape. With over-the-air radio being forced to play it safe because of economic concerns, the internet has become home to music that will never see the light of day on the AM and FM dials. Our new Sunday Brunch channel, at, is a good example. In creating the new Brunch, I went back to my original playlists from 1987 to 1993 to build the musical foundation. I then added material that, had we been able to maintain the original concept of the Sunday Brunch with New Age music, we would have automatically added to the playlist along the way.

It is a great pleasure to be able to resurrect the Brunch. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of listening to it as I did gathering up all the old songs from the original show. And, as was always the case with the Brunch, if you have personal favorites you think would be appropriate for our channel, please let me know what they are. List them in the Shoutbox, or drop me a note ( anytime.

Whether you're a former listener from the earliest days of the Smooth Jazz format (I know at least a few of you are still out there!) or someone who's just now discovering the varied musical palette which was the original Sunday Brunch, thank you for listening. It's a glimpse into radio history I hope will never go away again--at least not if I have anything to do with it.

Rick O'Dell
Operations Manager -

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More New Music to Listen For at Ultra Smooth

Look for Dave Koz & Friends to hit the road with their "Smooth Jazz Christmas" again this holiday season.

A few more goodies just added to the playlist:

Boney James - "Touch"
CD: Send One Your Love (Concord)
John Klemmer--remember him?--was a fixture in contemporary jazz back in the '70s. He was a musician, poet, philosopher and something of a renaissance man, a thoughtful artist of many layers. Now, nearly 35 years after John Klemmer caught the ear of the jazz world with his debut "Touch," Boney James reminds us of why so many of us were entranced by the tune in the first place.

Jessy J - "Tropical Rain"
CD: True Love (Peak)
This is Jessy's much anticipated follow-up to her chart-topping debut, Tequila Moon. Jessy's been turning heads the past two summers as one of the focal points of the "Guitars and Saxes" tour.

Paul Jackson Jr. - "Easy Like Sunday Morning"
CD: Lay It Back (Branch)
Paul is one of the busiest first-call studio musicians on the left coast, and no wonder. The late Luther Vandross dubbed him "The Picasso of Guitar" for his uncommon abilities on the six-string. Here, Paul delivers the old Commodores' song that's ideal for our new Sunday Brunch channel.

Jackiem Joyner - "I'm Waiting For You"
CD: Lil' Man Soul (Artistry)
Virtually unknown back when he was touring with Marcus Johnson and Bobby Lyle from 2001 to 2004, Jackiem is establishing himself as a rising solo star of Smooth Jazz. This is his breakthrough CD.

Dave Koz - "And Then I Knew"
CD: Dave Koz Greatest Hits (Capitol)
You won't want to miss the Smooth Jazz concert event of the year, Dave Koz & Friends' Smooth Jazz Christmas, playing various cities starting November 27. Dave will be joined by the original group that accompanied him on his first Christmas tour in 1997: Rick Braun, Peter White, David Benoit and Brenda Russell.

Phillip Martin - "Realization"
CD: Realization (Zephryn)
It's new talent coming into Smooth Jazz that will guarantee the future of the genre, and Phillip, a native Hoosier, shows great promise on his latest CD.

Paul Taylor - "Burnin'"
CD: Burnin' (Peak)
Seems like just yesterday Paul was making his Chicago debut at the House of Blues as a member of Keiko Matsui's traveling band. Here in 2009, he's firmly established as a groove master whose live performances have raised the bar for passion and romance.


Rick O'Dell
Operations Manager,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's New at Ultra Smooth

Just added to the playlist:

Joyce Cooling - "Grass Roots"
CD: Global Cooling (Group 2 Productions)
One of my favorite musicians (and people) in Smooth Jazz, Joyce has done it again--put together a recording brimming with sunny, inviting melodies. This is the seventh CD for one of our genre's most consistent artists. Of "Grass Roots," Joyce writes, "Touching down lightly in the Caribbean, 'Grass Roots' mixes just a hint of reggae with bluesy guitars and a horn section to create a track that swings like a shuffle with an island twist."

Nick Colionne - "The Big Windy Cat"
CD: No Limits (Koch)
It was only a matter of time before Nick penned a composition with this title. It seems whenever he's on the road, another musician will refer to him as "the cat from the Big Windy." Without a doubt, Nick is a worthy Smooth Jazz ambassador for the city, bringing a dash of Chicago cool to wherever he performs.

Andrew Neu - "Next Time I Fall in Love"
CD: Try Something Neu (Nu Groove)
Looks like third time's the charm for the saxman from Philadelphia, whose third solo CD ought to be his breakthrough recording. Andrew Neu ("new") has Bobby Caldwell providing vocals on this track. Bobby should be intimately familiar with them, since he wrote the song in the mid-'80s.

Enjoy the fresh, new music!

Rick O'Dell
Operations Manager -

Friday, May 22, 2009

Welcome to UltraSmoothJazz!

Around the country, FM radio stations have been dropping the Smooth Jazz format -- including stations in New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco earlier this week, and today Chicago. By doing so, radio stations are abandoning hundreds of thousands of listeners who love Smooth Jazz music as part of their day.

Fortunately, Internet radio offers a solution: Welcome to!

We're dedicated to keeping the Smooth Jazz format alive and well. And, in fact, in some ways, it's better than ever. Compared to the FM version of Smooth Jazz, you'll see several changes (and hopefully you'll feel they're improvements):
  • We've got nine different channels of music, focusing on different styles, instruments, and moods, with more coming soon.
  • We'll play far fewer commercials: Instead of 8-12 minutes per hour of spots, we'll typically have less than 2 minutes per hour.
  • You can customize the artists we play on your stream via the "Artist list" tab.
  • You can skip songs you don't like.
  • We have comprensive "Now playing" information, including title, artist, album, composer, year of release, and a link to the Amazon page for the CD that's playing.
  • Deeper playlists -- thousands of songs instead of just a few hundred.
  • A greater emphasis on actual jazz artists (i.e., less "pop adult contemporary").
UltraSmoothJazz is a work in progress. Let us know if you like it... and how we can make it better. Just use the "Comments" section below or the ShoutBox on our homepage.

And thanks for listening to!


P.S. How to listen to Internet radio in your car: Currently, this requires either an iPhone or a BlackBerry Bold, Curve, or Storm. (Support for more phones is coming soon. And of course in a couple of years from now, this will be a lot easier.) Just download an app called "FlyCast," select "AccuRadio" from the webcaster guide, and select "Jazz" as your format. (AccuRadio is our sister website; you'll get very similar channels to ours, albeit not identical.) As long as your smartphone is in your car: Voila! You've got Internet radio in your car!

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