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Jack Johnson and Into The Sea

If you haven’t heard of Jack Johnson yet, you may soon as his sound and name are becoming more mainstream with the release of his new single “To The Sea.”

Johnson, born Jack Hody Johnson, is not only a singer and songwriter, but a filmmaker as well as a surfer. Growing up with a father who was a well-known surfer, Jeff Johnson, young Jack took an interest in the sport and began surfing at the age of 5. By the time he was 17, he became the youngest invitee to make the surfing finals at the Pipeline Masters on Oahu’s north shore. After an accident at the Pipeline that left him with 150 stitches in his forehead, not to mention knocking out a few of his teeth, he ended his surfing.

Jack also learned to play the guitar at a young age. During family gatherings, Jack said his dad’s friends came over and had singalongs. He felt it natural to write songs that anybody could listen to and this is the route he took as an adult.

Jack also attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with a film degree. Now with music and film under his belt, it was just a matter of choosing what route he wanted to take. Johnson said during his college years, songwriting influences included Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead Otis Redding, G. Love and Special Sauce, Nick Drake, Ben Harper, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Neil Young and A Tribe Called Quest.

Jack’s professional career began after G.Love befriended him and would later record his song “Rodeo Clowns” The song would appear on his 1999 album Philadelphonic. In regards to his film career, soon after, Jack co-directed Thicker Than Water, a documentary surf film. He also composed the accompanying soundtrack. The film was released in 2000.

Jack Johnson’s music soon caught musician Ben Harper’s ear. Harper was especially interested in Jack’s debut album Brushfire Fairytales. The album was released in 2001 with Harper making a special appearance with his lap steel guitar.

In 2002, Jack and his wife Kim, created Brushfire Records, a company designed to release soundtracks for surf films.

Jack went on to direct and star in another surf film The September Sessions. The film was released in December of 2002. The soundtrack also featured Jack.

In 2003, Jack Johnson released his second full-length album On and On. It would be the first album to be recorded at Johnson’s Mango Tree Studio in North Shore, Oahu. Johnson said he credits most of the inspiration for the album to a childhood friend, Andrew Brown.

By 2004, Jack was performing at the Austin City Limits Festival and starred in the 2004 surf film A Brokedown Melody. In October of 2004, Jack returned to the Mango Tree Studio along with Zach Gill who played accordion, melodica and piano, to follow-up on his 2003′s On and On with the release of In Between Dreams, which was on the market March 1, 2005.

In 2006, the soundtrack Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George, was released by Jack Johnson. The album also featured Adam Topol, Ben Harper, G. Love, Kawika Kahiapo, Matt Costa, Merlo Podlewski and Zach Gill. The soundtrack was the first to make No. 1 since the Bad Boys II soundtrack in 2003, and it was the first soundtrack for an animated film to top the Billboard 200 since the Pocahontas soundtrack in 1995.

In February of 2008, Jack Johnson enlisted J.P. Plunier to produce his fourth full-length studio album Sleep Through The Static. The album was made using 100% solar energy at the Solar-Powered Plastic Plant studio in Los Angeles. The album was followed by a live album DVD of Johnson’s 2008 world tour entitled En Concert.

Then in February 2010, Johnson produced Animal Liberation Orchestra’s fifth studio album Man of the World. But it wasn’t until his release of To the Sea followed by a tour that brought him to the forefront. Johnson, not a mainstream performer, achieved No. 15 on USA Today’s alternative airplay chart for his single “You and Your Heart”.

Johnson’s album To the Sea was inspired by his newly founded appreciation for his life on the ocean and everything that entailed. Johnson’s father, who had died of cancer, sent Jack into a writing hiatus and on an introspective roll. The album celebrates his father, his father’s wisdom and passion for the ocean along with his love for his own wife and children.

Jeff Bachmeier is owner of, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile. For more information please visit

80s Music Online: Background on the Genre

By Jamie Macedo

80s music 80s Music Online: Background on the GenreWho can forget 80s Music Radio? The 80s was a time period which transitioned into its own music genre, lead in part by dramatic changes in recording technology, notably the widespread use of samples, synthesizers and keyboards. Before today’s 80s music streaming online, the genre incolved of the most dramatic changes in music. The defining changes to the music industry in the 80′s occurred in the 1981 with the launch of MTV (a.k.a. Music Television). Ironically, the first video ever played on MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star”, by The Buggles. This new music platform quickly gained mainstream popularity and was clutched tightly by artists such as Duran Duran, Madonna and Michael Jackson, turning the once auditory centric music industry into an visual explosion of audio and visuals.

80′s Music: Genre Revolution

vinyl record 80s Music Online: Background on the GenreIt could be argued that the biggest mark on 80′s Music was artist’s heavy reliance on the synthesizer, which came around 1980. However, perhaps more intriguing is the movement from artists in existing genres towards new and uncharted waters. Many unique genres which sprouted up and become accepted mainstream genres were in their infancy in the 80′s.

Metal – Metallica and Megadeth become increasingly popular in the early to mid 80′s.

Alternative – Alternative bands start to enter mainstream music.

Indie Rock – Indie rock bands have their roots in the early 80′s

Teen Pop – Teen pop also hails to the 80′s. This new genre includes groups like: New Kids on the Block, Tiffany, Stacey Q, and The Bangles.

Pop Music – Pop music in general became extremely popular, becoming a global phenomenon

Hip-hop – While Hip-hop began in the 70′s, in the 80′s Hiphop became mainstream and had a strong influence on pop music in the late 1980′s

Latin Music – Latin music begins taking strides, with artists such as Julio Iglesias and Juan Gabriel making waves.

Top 40 Music of the 80s: Key Events


Year Event
1980 - Joy Division singer Ian Curtis commits suicide
- John Lennon is murdered outside the Dakota Building in New York City
- Accidental death of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham
- Death of Tim Hardin
- Death of Vinicius de Moraes
- Iron Maiden release their debut self-titled album.
- AC/DC release Back In Black.
1981 - MTV first airs
- Death of Bob Marley
1982 - Death of Thelonious Monk, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Glenn Gould
- Michael Jackson releases Thriller, the best-selling album of all time
- Blondie disband
- The compact disc is introduced
1983 - Death of Muddy Waters
- New Order release “Blue Monday”
- Def Leppard releases Pyromania
- The Police’s Synchronicity tour starts
- Metallica releases their first album Kill ‘Em All
- Madonna releases her 5x Platinum self-titled debut album.
1984 - Death of Marvin Gaye
- Release of Bob Marley & The Wailers collection Legend, the best-selling reggae album of all time
- Madonna releases “Like A Virgin” which goes Diamond
- Akhnaten by Philip Glass premieres in Stuttgart
- Prince releases the album and film Purple Rain
- Van Halen release the Diamond-certified 1984, which contains the #1 single “Jump” and becomes their last studio album to feature David Lee Roth on vocals
1985 - Death of Rick Nelson
- Live Aid and Farm Aid benefit concerts
- Whitney Houston releases her first self-titled album which becomes the most successful feminine debut album of all time
- The famous hard rock band ‘Guns N’ Roses‘ was formed in LA, USA.
1986 - Aerosmith re-records “Walk This Way” with rap group Run-DMC which blends rock and rap music, introduces rap music to a mainstream audience for the first time
- Bon Jovi releases Slippery When Wet which stays at #1 on the Billboard 200 for 15 weeks, the longest ever for a hard rock album
- Madonna releases the hit album True Blue
- Pixies form in Boston.
1987 - Michael Jackson releases the album Bad, which is the first and only album to have 5 consecutive #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Guns N’ Roses releases Appetite for Destruction
- Def Leppard releases Hysteria
- U2 release the mult-platined album The Joshua Tree
- Whitney Houston releases her second album Whitney with one of the biggest hit singles of 80s I Wanna Dance With Somebody
- Death of legendary record producer John H. Hammond.
1988 - Living Colour releases first studio album Vivid;
- Bon Jovi releases New Jersey, which charts five consecutive Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, the most ever for a hard rock album
- Formation of the Traveling Wilburys
- Death of Roy Orbison.
1989 - Madonna releases the hit Like a Prayer album.

80′s Music Radio Online: The Current Phenomenon

rick astley 80s Music Online: Background on the GenreRick Astley’s Rick Roll is one big hit which was originally created in the 80′s, but gained massive popularity only within the last few years as an 80s online streaming radio sensation. This artist, and more precisely the song they created in the 80′s, has been seen on YouTube over 36 million times in just the last few years.  Even spawning its own internet meme, “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley, is arguably the most popular 80′s song on the internet today (although this popularity is not necessarily reflected in online music radio and not exclusively for its own musical merits). The music video is typically shared with others via a bait and switch method, in which a person provides a link to some material online (typically obfuscated) with the intent of leading others to believe the material is relevant to the current topic of discussion. Once they click the link, the visitor taken to a page where a Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” video is playing, this scenario is now colloquially known as  “getting Rick Rolled”, or “RickRoll’d”.

Top 40 Net Radio: Its 80s Roots

By Jeff Bachmeier

Top 40 Music Top 40 Net Radio: Its 80s RootsAlso known as Mainstream Top 40 and Contemporary Hits Radio, Top 40 Net Radio Music is based loosely on playing only the top music from many other formats. Recently, more and more music hits are being “exposed” directly from the format, as program and music directors are willing to take more chances on new music being released. The majority of the Top 40 Music played fall into 3 main music genres or categories: Rock, Pop and RnB with the majority of those genres falling into the pop category.

The Hits Channel format (a.k.a. CHR) was officially labeled in the early 1980′s, however the Top 40 format can be traced back as far as the 1950′s. Top 40 Music has had its ups and downs over the years but continues to stand the test of time with artists such as: Chubby Checker in the 60s, Steve Miller Band in the 70s, Paula Abdul in the 80s, Backstreet Boys in the 90s and Beyonce currently.

Top 40 Net Radio Music: Music Hits Revolution

 Top 40 Net Radio: Its 80s RootsTop 40 Music is a diverse and widely popular music format for just about any age group. It could be argued that there’s no one right way to program the format, which is what makes it so popular. There are a few specific CHR categories that most hit radio fall under the following genres.

CHR / POP or Mainstream Top 40′s

For the most part this format plays pop, urban, alternative and rock music hits, and every once in a while a country crossover song. Some of the current artists heard on CHR / POP Top 40 Net Radio are: Eminem, Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Fall Out Boy

CHR / Rhythmic or CHR / Urban AC

This Top 40 net (or traditional radio) Hits radio format focuses on Hip Hop and RnB. The major difference between CHR / Pop and CHR / Rhythmic is the lack of rock and alternative music. CHR / Rhythmic stations will still play a pop song while CHR / Urban will not. Some of the current artists heard on CHR / Rhythmic are: Flo Rida, Soulja Boy, and T.I. Some of the current artists heard on CHR / Urban are: Jamie Foxx, Rick Ross, Ne-Yo.

Adult CHR or Hot AC

This format focuses on the Pop and Rock genres of the format but may occasionally play a Rhythmic or Dance Song. Some of the current artists heard on this format are: The Fray, Lady Gaga, Jason Mraz, Nickelback, and Kelly Clarkson.

There are also other local and regional music hits channels including CHR / Dance, CHR / Rock and CHR / Tejan.

Top 40 Music: Musical Events

Year Event
1950′s - Todd Storz and Gordon McClendon get the credit for creating the first Top 40 stations.
1960′s - The Top 40 Music Hits format gains ground with the current fads of the decade including: Beach Music, The British Invasion, Bubble Gum, Elvis
1970′s - The Top 40 format struggled with the fragmentation of different artists. Album Rock became very popular and was heard on many of the first FM stations.
1980′s - Casey Kasem and the weekly Top 40 was born and became a huge success. This type of music program is still broadcast today with Ryan Seacrest taking over the host duties Casey Kasem a few years ago.
1990′s - The Boy Band Craze better defined The CHR format in the 90s.  The Backstreet Boys, N’ Sync, New Kids on the Block, Hanson, etc. all enjoyed number 1 hits.
2000 – Present - In 2009 Pink became the most successful solo artist of all time amassing 3 straight number one hits.  She is the only solo artist to ever do that.  The format continues to be popular with a wide range of people tuning in to their favorite hits channel.

Top 40 Net Radio: The Current Phenomenon

Alecia Moore is Pink Top 40 Net Radio: Its 80s RootsWhat makes the Hits Channel format so popular right now is the vast variety of music released for the format. Akon, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, All American Rejects, Miley Cyrus and many more are being played on Top 40 stations everywhere. No other format can lay claim to that variety of music. The unwritten law in Top 40 radio is: Don’t like the song currently playing, chances are you’ll like the next one. Top 40 Net Radio artists such as Britney Spears, Flo rida, Black Eyed Peas and Kelly Clarkson, just to name a few, will continue to produce the massive hits that appeal to the majority of music listeners.

Mix Music Before Online Radio

By Michele Kadison

ac mix tape Mix Music Before Online RadioAdult Contemporary music, also called AC, mix music online, or The Mix, is a category of mainstream music geared towards 25 to 54 year olds. The Mix is generally divided into three categories that satisfy sub-groups within this demographic: Soft (or lite) AC, Hot AC, and Urban AC. Individual tracks in streaming music “club mix” radio stations, for example, often overlap between categories, but on-the-air radio as well as Satellite radio stations, cater to each of these four categories, sometimes with overlaps as musical tastes evolve and as artists begin to cross over into multiple formats.

Before Mix Music Online: The Early Days

In the early days of radio, the top 40 was played on AM stations, regardless of what type of music it was, be it ballads, R&B, or more rock oriented styles. In the 1970s music began to become divided according to demographic groups and their preferences. Specialized radio stations began cropping up, playing music specific to various genres. As music and the listening demographic became more diverse, radio programmers had to find creative ways to classify sounds which appealed to maturing age groups. As listeners began to get older and evolve toward the mix music online listeners of todya, their tastes changed, gearing more towards vocal-based music from the 1960s and on. Adult Contemporary music was born out of this need to create a pocket for people looking for softer, less demanding sounds.

The FM dial was the first place to introduce “beautiful” music, which was also called “easy listening.” The FM stations featured popular vocal-based hits from the 60s as well as more current ballads. In 1961, Billboard published an Adult Contemporary music chart, which in 1979 became just plain Adult Contemporary. As the genre evolved, rhythmic dance tracks and teen pop were added, but still maintaining a mainstream feel that stayed away from hard rock, alternative, and hip hop.

The Mix: AC Evolution

ac ace of base Mix Music Before Online RadioAfter MTV made its debut, Vh3 was born as an Adult Contemporary version of its big brother. During the mid 80s you could see artists on Vh3 that fit into the AC category, which made it very inviting 30 to 40 year olds who did not feel as comfortable with the MTV format. Videos by Alanis Morissette, Hootie & the Blowfish, Melissa Etheridge, Ace of Base were in relatively heavy rotation, rivaling some of the harder rock videos seen on MTV. Eventually, mainstream AC music became infiltrated by artists with strong video exposure like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club, Whitney Houston, and Tears for Fears. Additionally there began to be a profusion of artists who crossed over from one genre to another, helping to create what is called The Mix.

The Mix: Adult Contemporary Breakdown

Soft AC

ac avril lavigne Mix Music Before Online RadioBorn in the 1970s and evolving through the 80s, this has been the longest running AC format, and is still popular today. A combination of middle-of-the-road (MOR), easy listening, and soft rock, its appeal is to an older demographic of listeners in mix music online.

Soft AC generally keeps songs in rotation for many years as there is limited listener pressure to expand the format. Lately newer guitar-driven sounds have been added to the classics to create a more diverse mix without compromising Soft AC standards. Some of the artists include Avril Lavigne, 2 Doors Down, The Fray, Hinder, and Fall Out Boy. Added to this are musicians who are considered “cross over”, which includes country artists such as Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flats, and Darius Rucker who are all finding success on both charts.

Hot AC

ac akon Mix Music Before Online RadioHot AC is another area where the balance of music includes sounds from the early 60s to today’s mainstream hits. It seems that each Hot AC station has its own formula for determining format, where some stations include more classics than new mix music online, or visa versa. Today the format can often be harder to define as more and more music falls into “cross over” categories. Still, certain genres remain outside Hot AC programming such as Alternative, which is too far from the taste of mainstream listeners.

Since the 2000s however, Hot AC stations have added R&B as well as hip hop to their play lists. Artists like Akon, Amy Winehouse, Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Ne-Yo, and the Pussycat Dolls are heard on many of the Hot AC stations, as well as some conventional hard rock bands such as the Goo Goo Dolls, Bon Jovi, and Aerosmith. Dance music artists like Kylie Minogue, Rihanna, Paula Abdul, and Madonna are also part of the mix. Slowly Hot AC is stretching its boundaries by introducing bands like Linkin Park, Third Eye Blind, Pink, and Red Hot Chili Peppers if programmers feel that local listeners are receptive.

Mix Music Online: The Current Phenomenon

The modern Adult Contemporary format is currently in a state of flux as it competes with many top 40 stations. Some AC stations are dropping soft artists in favor of harder sounds. Artists like Daughtry, Nickelback, and Kelly Clarkson are staples on mainstream AC stations, as well as ballad singers like as Josh Groban and Nick Lachey. Because of changing demographics, which alter the standards for an adult format as people age, additional categories are forming to embrace changing tastes. Streaming music “club” mix tracks also create shifts as remixes give a new energy or dimension to old favorites.

ac sade smooth operator Mix Music Before Online RadioMainstream Adult Contemporary is a format that often gets the highest ratings with listeners aged 24 to 54. Urban and rhythmic AC is geared towards adult African American audiences, where airplay favors R&B, soul, and some hip hop artists. Musicians like Luther Vandross, Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, Sade, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, and Des’ree are popular in this format among mix music online listeners. Rhythmic AC or “MOViN” features dance music, remixes, R&B, and early hip hop and caters to African American, Hispanic, and white audiences. Here everything from soul and R&B hits featured during the 60s through the 90s, including the Motown sound and disco are in rotation.

A final AC category has emerged in the past years called Quiet Storm. Usually this format is heard from early evening until late at night and features Urban and Soft AC sounds. Whitney Houston, Angela Bofill, Toni Braxton, En Vogue, Johnny Gill, Anita Baker, and Howard Hewett are good examples of artists that fit into this pocket, appealing to an adult demographic of all ethnicities.

Radio programming, whether it is on-air or via satellite, will always be searching for better ways to satisfy listeners’ tastes and expectations. Programming will continue to eliminate and add artists as their popularity ebbs and flows. The one sure thing is that listeners are constantly aging, which creates a constant demand for music that falls in the Adult Contemporary category, whatever songs the format — and any mix music online radio — embraces in the future.

Why Your Radio Portal Does “Radio Formatting”

Radio formatting is a way for traditional radio stations — and your favorite online radio portal — to program and broadcast material in order to reach a particular listening public. Formats have changed and mutated as music has evolved, reflecting new styles as well as the growth of listeners’ musical tastes and preferences.

Through time, radio formatting has become close to an art form, with stations learning more about how to direct their play lists to a specific demographic. Understanding the age, background, and ethnicity of a particular listenership has everything to do with capturing a targeted group in order to increase a station’s revenue. Good radio formatting is a marketing tool to get more listeners to tune in and stay tuned in.

Radio formats can be straightforward or complex. Some stations just play Country, which is simple to understand. Others combine a variety of play lists because they include cross over musicians or a combination of formats that are closely linked in other ways, such as Adult Alternative, Adult Album Alternative, and Adult Contemporary.

Format labels are there to help each radio portal or station define their target audiences. Sometimes these labels are a boon to listeners, making it easier for them to know what they are getting when they hit the dial. Sometimes, however, the labels can be confusing, especially when the lines of distinction start to blur.

Format Details
Alternative - This format includes punk and new wave material of the 1970s as well as the grunge bands of the 80s. Newer bands that do not fit into a top forty context are also featured in this context.
Classic Rock - Includes music from the 60s, 70, 80s, as well as some current releases.
Comedy - Features short comedic routines from current and past comedy artists.
Country - Music from both the present and the past within the genre.
Oldies - Geared towards adult listeners, this nostalgia format features “golden hits” from the 1950s through the 1970s, including rock and roll and popular tunes.
Smooth Jazz - This is lightweight jazz format that sets a mood with no demands on deeper listening. The genre is also called New Adult Contemporary
The Hitz - Geared towards adult listeners, this nostalgia format features “golden hits” from the 1950s through the 1970s, including rock and roll and popular tunes.
The 80′s - Pop, rock, and dance music from this decade.
The 90′s - Pop, rock, and dance music from this decade.

Format Details
Active Rock - Generally music that is designed to be played loud, such as hard rock, metal, and heavy metal.
Adult Album Alternative - Current music play lists for an adult audience. Usually the selections are of a wider range than found on “hit radio” and can include album tracks. This genre can incorporate many musical styles such as rock, folk rock, country rock, modern rock, blues, folk, and world.

Smooth Jazz Internet Radio

By Michele Kadison

The music you head when you tune in to Smooth Jazz internet radio takes its roots from standard jazz music, with the addition of pop, funk, and R&B influences. One of the trademarks of this new jazz offshoot is down-tempo melodies that incorporate electric guitar and (mostly) soprano saxophone. Smooth Jazz artists are solid jazz musicians exploring an alternative sound that does not require ardent listening, like that of conventional jazz. Whether it remains in the background or is the focus of the listener, Smooth Jazz internet radio creates a calm, romantic atmosphere that appeals to many mature music lovers.

Smooth Jazz: The Early Days

george benson Smooth Jazz Internet RadioSmooth Jazz was born in the late 1960s when Creed Taylor, a producer working with the famed guitarist Wes Montgomery, released three records containing instrumental versions of various well-known pop songs. As founder of CTI Records, he signed many great artists to his label, including Freddie Hubbard, Chet Baker, Stanley Turrentine, and George Benson. The music contained beautiful string arrangements and emphasized the importance of melody, which went down very easily with both pop and jazz audiences.

In the 1970s, Smooth Jazz took hold as a radio format, finding its way to what was then called the “Beautiful Music” stations. One could hear the music on radio programs that aired during the weekends or at nights in cities like Atlanta, Miami, and San Antonio. New York’s station, WRVR FM, soon began playing the format full time as demand for artists such as Pat Metheny and George Benson heightened. With Russ Davis in Atlanta, “Sunday Morning Jazz” in Miami, “Lights Out San Diego” with Art Good, Breezin’ 100.7 in Milwaukee, and Los Angeles’ “The Wave” with Frank Cody, the Smooth Jazz that’s now on internet radio began to reach a wider audience. Artists like Grover Washington Jr, Spryo Gyra, Larry Carlton, George Benson, Chuck Mangione, Sergio Mendes, David Sanborn, Bob James, Joe Sample, Tom Scott, and Dave and Don Grusin began getting tremendous airplay, and soprano saxophonist Kenny G became the veritable poster boy for the form.

In the In late 80s “Smooth Jazz” became an official household name after the research firm Cody/Leach confirmed its viability.

Smooth Jazz: The Evolution

Acoustic Alchemy Smooth Jazz Internet RadioAs music evolved and radio stations began to play more cross-over artists, Smooth Jazz’s popularity waned a bit. This drove musicians to create more collaborative work, with Bob James, Nathan East, and Dave Koz finding creative liaisons with other established artists. Groups like Pieces of a Dream, Acoustic Alchemy, and Fourplay emerged and female singers like Joyce Cooling, Sade, Pamela Williams, Anita Baker, and Regina Belle began getting more play on Smooth Jazz stations.

Many of Smooth Jazz’s well known musicians became cross-over artists themselves, with Dave Koz, Boney James, Bobby Perry, the Urban Jazz Coalition, Wayman Tisdale, Michael Ligton, Boggy Ricketts, Ken Navarro, Peter White, Brian Bromberg, and David Lanz landing on Urban Contemporary playlists. Smooth Jazz began to find new alliances with electronic music, creating a “chill” sound and expanding the possibility of airplay for both genres.

“The Quiet Storm” became a term that implied a fusion of Smooth Jazz and soft R&B music. Launched in 1998 out of WGDR in Plainfield, Vermont, host Skeeter Sanders stretched the genre farther afield as audiences showed appreciation for the easy, romantic sounds that worked well especially for the over 30 crowd.

Smooth Jazz: Mainstream

Smooth Jazz proved itself to be a successful radio format, growing from a new age type genre to a substantial category of its own. Popular in the United States for its melodic revival of standards, as well as in Europe and Eastern Asia where it is often played in late night cafes and bars, the music has been embraced for its relaxing and romantic effect.

kenny g Smooth Jazz Internet RadioIn addition to being played on on-air radio stations throughout the country, this smooth and sassy music found its way into satellite radio when Broadcast Architecture launched its Smooth Jazz Network after the demise of its precursor, Jones Radio Networks. With famous musicians doubling as on-air hosts, artists such as Kenny G, Norman Brown, Dave Koz, Paul Hardcastle, Ramsey Lewis, and Brian Culbertson, more and more listeners began to tune in. Saxophone player Dave Koz is currently one of the most listened to Smooth Jazz hosts in the United States, as well as Ramsey Lewis who has an over 1.5 million listenership weekly. Other popular weekly shows are Art Good’s “Jazztrax” and the Smooth Jazz Top 20 Countdown with Allen Kepler.

Smooth Jazz Internet Radio: The Current Phenomenon

Challenges face the Smooth Jazz format as listeners become restless with instrumental covers. Due to so many cross-over stations, it is incumbent upon artists interested in maintaining the Smooth Jazz style to come up with new musical ideas. Many Smooth Jazz stations are moving farther away from the jazz roots that were the basis of the form, adding vocalists like Beyonce and Aretha Franklin to their play lists. As a result, many classic Smooth Jazz radio stations are now calling themselves Smooth Adult Contemporary. That being said, there are many new artists on the scene who are bringing a new vitality to Smooth Jazz and reigniting the interest of the listening public. Patrick Yandall, Freddie Fox, Jackiem Joyner, Ty Causey, Peter Belasco, Will Downing, Anton Fig, Nick Colionne, and Joyce Cooling are some of the names that are keeping Smooth Jazz internet radio fans coming back for more.

Festival Concerts From Oldies to Today’s Music

By Michele Kadison

Radio has come a long way since the days when formats included one genre, limiting the listening public to fans of that particular musical style. As on-air stations began to see artists crossing over from one type of material to another, formatting began to change, expanding listenership and creating more opportunities for what we now call “oldies music” radio to expand. Additionally, as artists began to explore fusions in musical styles while taking greater risks, radio stations began to create alternative formats that allowed new music to flourish and be heard.

Not to be overlooked is how some of the important early live concerts in oldies music have affected this important evolution. These concerts were actually the forerunners of inclusively, bringing a wide variety of artists together onstage and introducing new genres to primed and waiting audiences.

Three Days of Peace and Music

woodstock Festival Concerts From Oldies to Todays MusicThe most seminal concert of this kind was Woodstock. Born from a concept created by four enterprising men (the oldest of whom was 26), the concert was initially formulated to raise money for a recording studio in Woodstock, New York where artists such as Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix were looking to hang their hats now and then. The idea was to create a festival called the “Aquarian Exposition”, which took its name from “the age of Aquarius” out of the radical hit musical of the time, “Hair”.

grateful dead Festival Concerts From Oldies to Todays MusicThe concert took place on August 15, 1969, officially beginning at 5:07 PM and heralding in what was called “three days of peace and music”. The idea was new and the set-up for artists was unprecedented as well, as the entrepreneurs had to guarantee paychecks to the bands in order to persuade them to play. Woodstock Ventures was thus able to engage some of the biggest acts of the time, including today’s oldies music hits such as the Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who, Cream, Grateful Dead, and Ravi Shankar. Some of these bands were paid more than they’d ever received for a concert, which ended up costing the entrepreneurs a sum that was considered enormous for the time, a whopping $118,000 for talent alone. Once these big name artists were committed, the festival gained credibility luring more artists to sign up. After all was said and done, Woodstock eventually cost more than 2.4 million dollars.

What’s Going On

jfk martin Festival Concerts From Oldies to Todays MusicThe 60′s was a decade that was chock full of political events. Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy were assassinated, the war in Vietnam was taking a huge toll on the country and its youth, and racial issues created a mounting pressure cooker. The generation gap that formed due to the draft, political divisions, and new affirmations on questioning authority in every way became a force of nature.

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll also defined the generation, separating those “on the bus” from those off the bus. Woodstock and that era of oldies music became the emblem of what was seeded in the 60s and an eventual part of our cultural lexicon as it defined what it was to be a part of the growing protest, which included draft dodgers, black militants, gays and lesbians, and everyone in between.

Hear Me, Film Me

woodstock 2 Festival Concerts From Oldies to Todays MusicRoughly 500,000 people attended the Woodstock festival. A sound system large enough to accommodate this enormous oldies music audience spread out over a large outdoor space had to be created. This proved to be a challenge that eventually was solved and led the way to big business opportunities in the rock concert scene: the formulation of speaker systems that could handle overwhelming decibels while delivering clear sound to the people.

The festival promoters were smart enough to realize that they needed to chronicle the event, so they hired a cameraman/director of independent films to do so. Michael Wadleigh had never had an assignment quite like this. He got some New York filmmakers to help, including heavyweight director Martin Scorsese, but was still unable to get funding as film executives were gun-shy after the low box office profits from the filming of the Monterey Pop Festival. The deal they finally struck was to pay the filmmakers double or nothing once the film came out. The film, “Woodstock,” directed by Wadleigh and edited by Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker received the Academy Award for Documentary Feature and a nomination for Best Sound. Rock concert documentation suddenly became big business.

Crossing Genres

How the Woodstock festival played out is the stuff of legend and has been documented by many. That it brought together not only so many people, but also so many diverse oldies music sounds – from folk to ballad, Indian to hard driving rock n roll, and more, helped pave the way for crossing genres over the air ways as radio stations saw the huge appeal as well as the revenues to be made from the combination.

The second time around – not necessarily a charm

In the 1990s, impresarios tried to exploit the Woodstock phenomenon again. But the festival lacked the authenticity and soul of the original, proving that if people do not share common beliefs and values, cohesiveness is difficult to achieve. It is rare that a true original can successfully be replicated.

Alternative Sounds Open the Market

lollapalooza Festival Concerts From Oldies to Todays MusicYears later another type of revolutionary concert was envisioned and accomplished. The Lollapalooza festival, created in 1991 by Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for his band Jane’s Addition, managed to formulate a workable festival that unlike Woodstock, would bring itself to the people through touring.

Lollapalooza featured artists outside the mainstream such as alternative rock bands, hip hop and punk musicians, new generation artists, as well as dance and comedy performers. The festival exposed bands like Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Souxie & the Banchees, and Hole as well as new and as yet unsigned groups. Grunge was featured as a viable genre, and mosh pits and crowd surfing reached their heights as interactive elements that defined the concert experience beyond its oldies music beginnings.

lollapalooza 2 Festival Concerts From Oldies to Todays MusicMore people saw and participated in Lollapalooza than any other musical festival to date. Farrell coined the term “Alternative Nation” to describe the musicians and their fans who were the emblem of new music forms bursting the conventional stereotypes. All went well until 1997 when the festival stopped touring. It was revived in 2003, but as with the Woodstock festival of the 1994, it too lacked soul and drove people away due to high ticket prices, a reflection of the big business roots it had grown. In 2005 Farrell partnered with the William Morris Agency to make it a fixed destination in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois where it has taken on a new success.

From the Concert Stage, to the Radio Play

Where we are today musically is due to the contributions of unique and ground-breaking festivals like the original Woodstock and Lollapalooza concerts. They set the stage for opening up the minds not only of people coming to hear the music, but also of studio executives, stadium impresarios, and most importantly, radio station programmers who recognize the importance of delivering the goods that stimulate listeners. As more bands and single artists appear on the stage, it is often through this type of concert exposure that they are able to make radio play; this approach has held true for artists from oldies music to the present. Opening up for a major act on a concert stage is a powerful way to get a record exec’s attention, especially if the fans are in full support. From there, if the radio stations are providing adequate venues to handle burgeoning sounds, everyone benefits.

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  • About the Author:
    Jeff Bachmeier is owner of, an online music and online radio station network providing live streaming Internet Radio channels with music from the 50’s thru Today. Users can also choose to create their own customized on demand playlist through their own social media profile.

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