This was the letter that I sent on 2/8/08 to WQCD–the local Smooth Jazz radio station in the NYC area (101.9 on the FM dial), regarding their decision to switch formats. It was entitled:
‘Big Surprise…switching to Classic Rock’
Dear friends at CD101.9 or if they’re already gone too, to the new management at 101.9 FM,
I would just like to express my sincere disappointment in yet another disappearance of NY CULTURE that I had enjoyed about living in the NY area.
Being a semi-professional trumpet player for over 30 years, I was sad to see the long time ‘Classical’ music station WNCN (104.3 FM) change its format over to ‘Classic Rock’ a few years back. Not that I don’t like Classic Rock—I do, & a lot of great horn sections in much of that stuff too, but didn’t we ALREADY HAVE enough classic rock stations in the area??? WNCN was only 1 of 2 dedicated Classical music stations remaining in the area when it left…
I had also enjoyed THE OPTION of checking out the long time ‘New Country’ music station WYNY (107.1 FM) before it too changed its format–ultimately to THE PEAK; an eclectic mix of ‘classic rock’ & ‘new rock’…also a VERY good station (Independent Rock), but really not THAT much different than Q104.3 (or the other already established ‘classic rock’ stations).
…& now CD101.9 going ‘classic rock’ too–as if NY needs yet ANOTHER?!?! Isn’t New York famous & desirable for its DIVERSITY?!?–Our DIFFERENT OPTIONS & VARIETY are disappearing in NY!!!! It’s like you’re opening yet ANOTHER Chinese or Italian restaurant–the food is good, but there are already like SOOO many of the SAME in the area.
I will miss your Smooth Jazz on the radio. Granted, I enjoyed it more in the early days–before ‘Chill’ was added & when the music was made by actual REAL BANDS as opposed to just a soloist with backing tracks (often like karaoke for one instrument), but unfortunately that is just a sign of the times: the over-relying-on & over-use-of technology, & economics–its just cheaper to make recordings that way (& please don’t think that ‘new rock’ is any different). But I was still an avid listener to your station…It was a great way to help ’slow the world down’–with great ‘feel good’ music, the recording artists were (ARE) very talented, the DJ’s were friendly, professionally personable & adult (civilized!), etc………& most importantly, it was DIFFERENT than ANY OTHER STATION!
And that’s really the most important point; it’s actually irrelevant whether or not you personally even like Smooth Jazz, or Classical music or Country music, etc, or that maybe you even prefer something else, like Classic Rock anyway–those other OPTIONS are either disappearing or are no longer even available on FM radio in the NYC area!
I understand that you have to make money, & that Classic Rock is probably a ‘sure thing’ as far as investing in FM Radio goes, so I guess you gotta do what you gotta do from that standpoint. But in my opinion, there might have been an alternative solution: Dave Grusin & Larry Rosen could have been consulted regarding their incredible success with GRP Records back in the 80’s & 90’s–not only in changing & revitalizing the Jazz/Smooth Jazz industry, but in how incredibly profitable it was in the process! But instead you chose a ‘quick fix’.
Respectfully yours…& am actually hoping that you might change your minds (& maybe even the Smooth Jazz industry AGAIN!)–eventually,
-Peter J Blume & family
P.S. My child who is 2 years old (at the time) already knows & enjoys much of the music of Dave Grusin, David Benoit, The Rippingtons, Acoustic Alchemy, Bob James & Fourplay, Dan Siegel, Lee Ritenour, Flim & the BB’s, Spyro Gyra, etc etc! Thankfully I have the recordings…
**Be advised that no response to my e-mail was ever received. And shortly after this time, WQXR (the only other area ‘Classical’ radio station) was dropped by The NY Times, & 96.3FM was then transformed into a ‘Latino’ music station. Like the ‘Classic Rock’ format, there are also MANY ‘Latino’ music stations on FM radio in the NY area—all playing very similar music.
WQXR still exists (for the time-being) on FM radio as a ‘Classical’ music station, but is being broadcasted via a much less powerful repeater (105.9FM) & is now a NPR (National Public Radio) station that relies heavily on radio-a-thon style fundraising to (barely) keep monetarily afloat.
–Peter J Blume