GMG swaps Jazz for Smooth to entice more listeners

LONDON – GMG Radio is rebranding its flagship London station Jazz FM as Smooth FM in order to appeal to a wider audience for easy listening music.

GMG changed Jazz FM to Smooth FM in the north west of England last March and, following a four-fold increase in revenue, the radio group has decided to roll out the brand in London from September.

GMG hopes the rebrand will enable 102.2 Smooth FM to fulfil potential among fans of easy listening tunes. The station's research concluded that a large percentage of Londoners like the music played on the station but the 'Jazz' name deterred two thirds of listeners from tuning in.

Smooth FM will play the likes of Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, having won approval from Ofcom to change its format last year.

However, while the station focuses on middle-of-the-road music, it will not abandon its jazz credentials completely. The station will continue to broadcast 45 hours of jazz a week.

John Myers, GMG Radio chief executive, said: "We believe the choice of music to be played on 102.2 Smooth FM will significantly increase the station's appeal and our extensive marketing campaign will encourage trial. We know when people find it, they'll love it."

The marketing campaign will break in the next couple of weeks with detailed programme announcements to follow.

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