When I had learned that my favorite 24-hour radio station for about 20 years, 107.3 The Wave (Cleveland, Ohio) was obliterated by a programming change during the Christmas holiday season, I was stunned. It was changing to something that resembled Alternative Classic Rock (or whatever they called it). I was caught off guard and did not see it coming. And so it is with programming changes…they are rarely expected and usually are unwelcome changes for the stations that you faithfully listen to. Who told the station management that my favorite music was less and less popular? Thanks a lot, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting. My Wave was blown up by The Boom! Explosions seldom are welcome, and so was this change. Very strange.
After an initial frantic search for information as to what had happened to The Wave, I realized that it was not gone completely (to my delight), but it was now much more difficult to since it was now relegated to the 107.3 HD2 channel or to listening online (with no radio personalities, by the way). It is uncertain how long this change will last, or, for that matter, how long the smooth jazz format nationwide will survive. Stations with this format are rapidly disappearing from commercial radio. After all, most radio executives believe that the smooth jazz format is for “older folks” age 50 and over. We apparently no longer appeal to radio advertisers. That’s nonsense. I believe that most of us would support advertising if the advertising was worth supporting. Over the last year, The Wave was running mindless spots of at least three or four different debt relief companies, a solution to clear up acne on your skin (so different that it was given away in VIP gift bags at international film festivals…whoopee), even John Commuta’s transforming-debt-to-wealth program…all of their ads seemed to have toll-free numbers to call…you get the idea. Put products on the air that people may really be interested in, and you might get more interest…and listeners. From the station’s approach to sales and advertising on The Wave, they gave up on the smooth jazz format a long time ago.
The transition of The Wave over the holidays was choppy. The internet signal was off and on…at first mostly off. It has finally stabilized and, with the unique perspective of no commercial interruptions, it is enjoyable to listen to at stretches of time. Some of the tracks are a little repetitive right now, but there have been promises of bringing in more selections. I do, however, miss the morning drive traffic and news and all of the personalities. Old habits die hard. The good news is that former afternoon personality Mark Ribbins is the new Wave’s program director. The music is in good hands.
Anyway, if you want to listen to The Wave, you will either need to listen online through their website at wnwv.com or with an HD radio signal. iPhone users can listen through their phone with the application Pocket Tunes wherever they go. You can do the same thing with a 2nd or 3rd generation iPod Touch with an active wifi signal. I also learned that you can access the station’s HD signal with the link http://cmn-ice.spacialnet.com/wnwv.m3u. It will open in iTunes or with QuickTime, or even in your browser. You can also get an HD radio (which is pricey) or an internet radio receiver (which is really pricey).
While this makes regular listening (all day) rather difficult, you can still plug in to some pretty smooth music with internet access. My challenge to The New Wave is to expand their playlist beyond where it was and really stretch to areas that can make it even more special and enjoyable to listen to. Now that the constraints of mainstream radio have been removed, its challenge will be to continue to drive people to seek it out and find it. I definitely want to see it succeed; as a result, I’ll be listening when and where I can.