Smooth Radio London and North West have made a new request to drop jazz requirements.
GMG Radio proposes to drop the 45 hours a week of jazz music and replace it with 12 hours of specialist music programmes, falling before midnight on weekdays and in the afternoon at weekends.
The character of service would change from:
[blockquote]AN EASY LISTENING STATION FEATURING LIFESTYLE ORIENTED SPEECH, TARGETING A LONDON AUDIENCE AGED 50-PLUS, AND BROADCASTING 45 HOURS A WEEK OF SPECIALIST JAZZ PROGRAMMES[/blockquote]
to a new description of:
[blockquote]AN EASY LISTENING STATION FEATURING EASY LISTENING MUSIC AND LIFESTYLE ORIENTED SPEECH, TARGETING A LONDON AUDIENCE AGED 50-PLUS, AND BROADCASTING 12 HOURS A WEEK OF SPECIALIST MUSIC PROGRAMMES[/blockquote]
The two stations launched as Jazz FM in the 90's and were both aquired by GMG Radio back in 2002. Two years later, Ofcom agreed to relax the requirement for jazz music programming in daytimes but increased the requirement to 45 hours off peak.
In 2005 the stations were changed to the Smooth brand and jazz is currently played through the night where audiences are at their lowest. A similar format request was rejected by the regulator in 2007 after consultation.
Ofcom has invited written views and comments on the format change request before 5pm on June 25th.