Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tell a Friend (Who's Out of Town)

Each day's email brings me at least a message or two from a former Chicagoan/former WNUA listener who just discovered this site.* I'm not surprised because Smooth Jazz fans have traditionally been a very mobile group, whether it's having to leave the Chicago area for a new job or any of a number of reasons.

Thankfully, with the advent of, out-of-towners can now get that little taste of Chicago radio they've been yearning for, especially if their favorite radio station while they were here was 95.5. In assembling the playlist for the main channel, we started with the best loved tracks from the past 23 years of programming on WNUA (such as Bob James' and David Sanborn's "Maputo" and Ramsey Lewis' "The In Crowd."). Then, we added the tracks WNUA seemed to have forgotten or simply didn't have room for anymore. And, as a final touch, Danae Alexander and I lent our voices to the station to give it the sound and feel of WNUA.

We're thrilled you've given a try. And, since internet radio offers the distinct advantage of broadcasting to anywhere and everywhere in the world with an internet connection, we hope you'll tell your former Chicagoan friends about us. They'll be among the growing number of Smooth Jazz enthusiasts from faraway who are reconnecting with Chicago through the music they loved on WNUA. Also, don't forget that if you're headed out of town on business or a summer vacation, you, too, can tune into us anytime with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Rick O'Dell

*Today, for example, I've heard from ex-Chicagoans in Salt Lake City, Cedar Rapids, Athens (Georgia) and Bergenfeld, New Jersey.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Your Custom Smooth Jazz Station -

I'm still new to, so every day I'm still learning about the neat little features that come with listening to music on the internet, as opposed to traditional terrestrial radio. I'd like to share them with you, because I have a feeling that, as I did, you'll find them to be a major enhancement to your listening experience here.

First of all, unlike your previous experience (at 95.5), you can actually skip tracks. Let's see traditional radio do that! On the page that pops up with information on the song that's currently playing, go down to the row with the Volume control, about two-thirds of the way down the page. See the double arrow button? Click on it, and you'll be able to move directly to the next track, whether or not the track that's currently playing is through.

Second, if you run your mouse over the name of the artist, the system will allow you to delete all future selections by that artist. And if you happen to change your mind, no problem. Just click on the "Artist List" tab above the title of the song, and you can return that artist to an active position in the rotation.

Third, let me introduce you to our newest feature, "Rate this Song," where you can evaluate every track you hear at on a one to five star scale. You can give us your immediate feedback on any track we play.

As a listener, you'll be able to customize the playlist in ways you never imagined when you were tuned to 95.5. Take advantage of the power you have!

I'll be back anytime we add new features to the site to let you know about them.

Rick O'Dell

Thursday, June 18, 2009

And You Thought You Had A Lot Of Friends on Facebook

Yesterday, the company which measures radio ratings, Arbitron, released the results of its May survey. In its final month on the air, WNUA 95.5 attracted more than 1,100,000 listeners. Their "cume," as it's called in ratings vernacular, placed WNUA 12th overall in total listeners in Chicago, a market which is served by more than 30 radio stations. Moreover, in terms of sheer volume of listeners, you might be surprised to learn that WNUA outdrew (among other stations) WLS-AM, WVAZ, WLUP, and Fresh (WCFS).

In radio, however, good ratings are only half the story. A radio station must also produce a fair amount of revenue to be successful. In the case of WNUA, even though its listenership was still sizable, the owners of the station felt revenues had fallen below the level necessary to sustain the current format. They saw a format of Spanish Adult Contemporary music as having greater upside potential than Smooth Jazz, despite the large number of listeners WNUA had, even at the very end.

Well, we won't debate that issue here. What's done is done. Clear Channel's made up their minds. Even a letter from President Obama, long a fan of Smooth Jazz, won't bring the format back to 95.5. The point I'd like to make is this: what happens to all those listeners, those 1,100,000 people who had the rug pulled out from under them on May 22 when WNUA flipped to Spanish?

That's where comes in. If you're a former WNUA listener, I'd like to personally welcome you to our new site. When you have a moment, please click on and try our main channel, ChiTownSmoothJazz, which we're building to be the next step in the evolution of WNUA. I bet you'll instantly recognize most of the tracks you hear us play. All the goodies are still there. On our main channel I've tried to take the best and most popular tunes from 23 years of airplay on WNUA and, at the same time, add in plenty of other tracks deserving of airtime that we just didn't have room for at 95.5.

I've had the pleasure of playing Smooth Jazz in Chicago since 1987. Thanks to the feedback I've gotten from countless listeners over the years, I've been able to keep my finger on the pulse of what Chicagoans like in their Smooth Jazz--I can tell you right now it's different from what they prefer to listen to in, say, Los Angeles. We're going to put that experience and knowledge into the playlist for ChiTownSmooth Jazz.

We hope you'll think of us as Chicago's own Smooth Jazz station. And, as you listen, don't be shy about telling us what you like about it and what you'd like us to change. It's that direct connection you have to us that will keep our channels sounding fresh, lively and uplifting. Feel free to post a comment or question in the Shoutbox on the home page. Or reach me directly using my private email address below.

Thank you for giving us a try.

Rick O'Dell
Operations Manager - Smooth Jazz
400 North Wells, Suite 408
Chicago, IL 60654

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