This topic is very near and dear to my heart. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog. What is happening over at my absolute favorite Atlanta radio station (until recently), 91.9 WCLK-FM is really sad and disheartening to REAL MUSIC lovers all over the world. The artists also lose yet another platform to display their music.
91.9 WCLK -FM is a member supported, public radio station that broadcasts from the campus of Clark Atlanta University. It relies heavily on membership donations and holds quarterly membership drives of its listeners. The original format of the station focused on classic and contemporary Jazz along with Soul music. The powers that be have decided to change the programming to a Smooth Jazz format. What you say? Yes, you read correctly…Smooth Jazz (sigh…). They claim that this is the best option to keep the station afloat monetarily and bring in more listeners. Shows like The S.O.U.L. of Jazz with the incredibly music savvy and popular DJ Jamal Ahmad, will now have elevator music played heavily during its time slot. Mr. Ahmad will no longer have a say in what is played during his show (at least on the weekdays,) as he had prior to the change. I must ask the question…What kind of mess is that!?! Half of what I listen to and the artists that I have been exposed to are from his show! Jamal Ahmad is a master at discovering new artists and their music from all over the world and sharing them with his audiences. This show along with Morris Baxter’s Morning Jazz show made WCLK unique and progressive in today’s cluttered radio spectrum. It was a breath of fresh air for the true music heads! Now, we will be pummeled with smooth jazz and background music that is no longer relevant! This format didn’t work for ‘CLK back in 2007..what makes them think that this will bring more listeners today? Along with many loyal listeners, I’m so pissed!! How can they disregard what the listeners want, many who support this station, such as myself? Couldn’t there have been a better way to gain more listeners than changing the format like they have?
Since I have been made aware of the change of the station through social media, I have reached out to WCLK to voice my concerns and to basically protest the change. There is an online petition as well as two Facebook pages dedicated to getting the attention of WCLK management. We want them to make the change back to it’s original format and give the DJs the opportunity once again to program their own shows. This is what made WCLK so cool to me as a listener and music nerd. Unfortunately, if this continues, I will have to find new music more often on internet radio stations. That seems to be the way the tide is turning with today’s radio. Based on what I am hearing on social media, the frustration is palpable. Many are threatening to stop listening all together. What will happen to WCLK when they have NO listeners?…
Check these links below to Support The S.O.U.L of Jazz radio show:
Save Our S.O.U.L Online Petition