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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