Dear Ace: I thought that Charlottesville was hungry for smooth jazz! At least that was what we were told when 107.5 switched its format 18 months ago. Now they are playing Kelly Clarkson and Rob Thomas and calling it the “Best Mix of Everything.” What happened?—Waves Goodbye
Dear Waves: Leave that dial alone, kid, because Charlottesville’s Smooth Jazz 107.5 has indeed undergone yet another format change.
You see, Waves, it all started back in March 2004, when the owners of what was then called Mix 107.5 decided that the current programming just wasn’t cutting it in the competitive Charlottesville market. So the then-WUMX changed its call sign and programming to WCJX Smooth Jazz 107.5. The station hoped the new formula would boost the mediocre ratings (the original Mix ranked ninth out of the then 15 Charlottesville radio stations).
But apparently, the formula gamble didn’t work out as planned. According to Abitron radio ratings, by July 2005 Smooth Jazz had dropped in the rankings down to No. 12 out of 18 (Ace found all of this and more at www.radioandrecords. com). So media überconglomerate Clear Channel Radio, which also owns seven other radio stations including WCYK-FM, WHTE-FM, WCHV-AM, WSUH-FM, WBTJ-FM, WKAV-AM and WRVA-AM, made the command decision to switch the new format back to the old format, at least in name if not practice.
You might be wondering about the difference between the old Mix and the new Mix. Aside from the obvious deviation of the new Mix’s DJ-free broadcast, any other changes seem to be largely a matter of semantics. The old Mix was what industry types would call a “Rock AC” station, while the new Mix, at least according to the media news website Vartv.com, is “Hot AC”—AC being short for adult contemporary. Hot or rock aside, the new Mix claims to be the “Best of Everything”—with “everything” referring to anything that was popular during the ’80s, ’90s and anything that is popular today. So, if on the old Mix you might have heard more Whitesnake and less Clay Aiken, you can now expect the exact opposite to be true. We’re not sure whether that’s a win or a loss for Charlottesville radio rats.