Monday, May 4, 2009

All that jazz about nothing

If it really is big news that 3 more FM stations across the country have dumped a jazz music format then over-the-air radio is in more trouble than even I thought.

Radio trades and internet boards are making a big deal because the jazz format has also been recently dropped from Dayton, Fresno, and Albuquerque. Rather, I'd be more interested in finding out how even one market of that size (in terms of total stations available) went to and stuck with a jazz music format for however long.

Even as jazz formats have faded from top 10 markets such as Chicago, at least a large population base would allow for perhaps a few thousand loyal listeners to keep the format around and be supported by smaller and very local advertisers which couldn't afford the larger audience stations.

I have nothing against jazz music, although I am among the majority which doesn't enjoy it very much. (And, yes, I have given it quite the chance, having hosted a jazz show on a Chicago radio station for more than 3 years many moon ago.) My point is that jazz has never been among the best sellers of albums and later CD's, which to me spells little consumer interest.

The lack of general popularity of jazz would seem to make the radio format unappealing for advertisers looking for a growing audience. And that is why I can't see why this is such a big deal. Especially now, radio stations are hurting for advertising dollars, and have zero reason to keep a station with a limited reach format on the air.

Now that more stations seem to have wised up, why is treated as big news?

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