The problem is that a lot of the info in that essay is incorrect. The wave came
on in 1987 playing new age and some vocals and that was when
Frank Cody, who took over operations began to talk about using
contemporary instrumental music in a way that would pick up where the
Beautiful Music format (Liberace/Roger Williams/and all those canned
1001 strings type albums) left off. Beautiful Music (aka Muzak) had simply faded
away as it's target demographic either died off or moved to south Florida.

The term Smooth Jazz did not really emerge until the early 90s when WNUA
shortened their positioning station from "Smooth Rock and Smooth Jazz"
to Smooth Jazz and at the same time a station in Boston that was
programmed by people who were in the same clique as the WNUA people
 began to call it Smooth Jazz too. You do not see the term "Smooth Jazz"
used very often until about mid 1993..

By then several of the companies that owned more than one station were
waiting for the telcom act to pass so a few companies could go on a buying
frenzy. It was a given that telcom was going to pass because of the amount
of lobbying money that went into getting it through, and there were
several people who were already arranging financing so they could begin
buying stations. At that time BA, which was owned by Pyramid (one of the
biggest ownership groups at the time) was working with SW Networks to
create a format that would follow Cody's idea of being an updated Beautiful
Music format, background music, primarily for workplaces. This format would
be satellite delivered and as one press release says a "Turnkey, low
maintenence operation". The idea was that when one owner bought a cluster
of 4-6 stations they could take their weakest frequency and put this format on..

It would cost very little to operate, would not compete with any other stations
in the cluster, and even if it delivered only a small audience it could be sold in
combination with another station to clients targeting adults, especially upscale
adults. When SW Networks went on the air a fairly sizeable group of stations
 picked up the feed. One of them was in my market as a matter of fact. Also
BA was in the cat bird seat because a lot of the stations that were playing
contemporary jazz were doing a sloppy job of programming formatics,
no rotations or structure designed to build familiarity on core artists, playlists
that were way too long and not strategy in the way they scheduled their music.

That does not work in the real world. So BA came in and they were the first
ones to apply "real world" formatics to this music. Plus there began to be
an awareness that melodic structure and catchy "hooks" were important.
Had that been all that was done we would be in 7th heaven right now because
it would have created a structure in which the music was made accessible to a
wider audience, core artists were featured in a way that familiarized them,
and quality songs were rotated in a way that familiarized them. Had this been
done, then over the years the sound of the music and the specific songs would
have become familiar enough that they would now "test well" and instrumental
music would still dominate the playlists of Smooth Jazz radio stations.

Unfortunately by imitating Beautiful Music rather than Adult Contemporary in
terms of presentation the stations sounded stodgy and "old" to listeners who
grew up with pop stations (top 40 and A/C)..and to make it worse in some
cases air talent were encouraged to actually sound like NPR announcers..

which is not very relatable to "real people". .the emphasis on providing music
that was unnoticable in a music mix that was focused on remaining in the
background made it hard to familiarize the audience with specific songs too,
because  a lot of them sounded extremely similar to each other). Add to that
the fact that younger listeners didn't relate to the presentation so when they
entered the target demographic they did not become interested in Smooth Jazz
as it sounded on the radio.

You have to remember that the generation that grew up with MTV was
beginning to reach their mid 30s at the same time that Contemporary Jazz
 became updated Beautiful Music. Not a promising juxtaposition. So now we
are seeing the result of not creating a format that would showcase the best
CJazz songs the same way an A/C or Top 40 station did, in other words
in an attention-getting, entertaining presentation. The instrumentals
remain marginally familiar, musical shadow figures in comparison to the pop hits
the target audience grew up with..

So when a music test is done the pop crossovers and cover versions of
pop/rnb hits test much better than most original instrumentals and the songs
with the best numbers are the ones that get played. It was a case of the new
version of the format bursting on the scene and redefining the terrain without
being aware of the implications for the future. But that was because there was
such feverent enthusisam for the nationalized format at the time that these
issues were not considered important..

and those who brought them up were accused of negativity. At the time the
ndustry was very excited to see this music being presented in a structured,
legitimate way, by programmers who had the type of professional presentation
that would make a group owner who was not a broadcaster comfortable with
them and the format...and to put it in context, at the time that was a good thing.
But as more stations were owned by only a few companies and more stations
were programmed by a small group of people a lot of the best talent in the
format was forced out, and now with the emphasis on automation there are
comparatively very few people left in the format so a lot of the music's most
passionate advocates are no longer involved in presenting it on the radio. Since
the industry still only looks at radio this means they no longer have any influence.

 Fortuantely the audience is actively looking elsewhere for what they can no
 longer get on the radio so people who care about the music and are involved in
other ways of presenting it..concert promotion, independent publications,
website developers, internet forums and internet radio stations *do* have a
growing amount of influence on the audience. The Smooth/Contemporary jazz
community just needs to begin to look at the "street marketing" strategies used
to create a buzz in the dance, hip-hop, and alternative music communities and
start channeling some efforts in that direction to keep this music vital and alive,
and bring it to a receptive audience.

You see people getting hooked on this music at live performances, unfortunately
 for a  younger listener or a listener who is into top 40 or Rock, the radio
presentation is just not compelling enough right now to keep their attention
after they have sampled the music at a concert because it isn't the same thing.
So the potential fans drift back to Hot A/C, CHR, Classic Rock, AAA or whatever...

I still have piles of clippings from Gavin, RnR, MAC Report and Billboard from that
time and it is really obvious that there was a line of demarcation between
"Contemporary" and "Smooth". The term "Smooth" was used very little in articles
or music reviews before 1994 and you rarely saw the adjectives that have become
standard buzzwords used in any written coverage of the music or the format.
Smooth, Silky, Seductive, Sultry and such.

Shannon W.