No call letters? No call to action? You've got to be kidding! And you want me to rent
the most expensive billboard in Los Angeles without our name and frequency?
In 1987, I had the good fortune as Program Director to lead the team that launched 94.7, The WAVE in Los Angeles. Paul Goldstein, Chris Brodie and the entire staff set out to create a format that reflected the refined tastes of a broad section of L.A. Baby Boomers.
Living in New York City at the time and working at NBC, I was amazed that FM radio overlooked the Grammy™ Award-Winning Album of the Year, Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” But that was just a small indiction of the wealth of jazz, new age, elegant urban and radio’s fear trying something truly new and revolutionary.
We were awash with fresh, new music that was shared by friends, but dismissed by most programmers: David Sanborn, the entire GRP catalog, dozens of Contemporary Jazz artists, Sade, Sting and many more. We believed people our age deserved a spot on the dial for something a bit better than the trite, trivial tunes aimed at the lowest common denominator and repeated over and over.
We created three separate prototype formats: “The Rock & Roll Adventure,” Contemporary Spanish Language and The WAVE, which ultimately became known as Smooth Jazz. We also positioned the station to be free of endless, inane chatter by declaring “…and no disc jockeys.”
Turns out, The WAVE grew to become the top billing station in Southern California and the beginning of the first new radio format in over 30 years: Smooth Jazz.