Jazz station JFM 102.2 is to revert to the name Jazz FM, its parent Golden Rose Communications confirmed this week.
The decision comes less than a year after the station renamed itself to win a broader audience.
The move surprised agencies, which question the logic of the name change, also affecting North-West regional station JFM 100.4.
“I can’t see the point. They have a strong brand anyway. They haven’t got a mass audience. And I don’t see how renaming themselves will achieve this, if that’s the aim,” says Leo Burnett head of radio Vicky Richardson.
“Talk about changing horses mid-stream,” says another agency source. “When Jazz launched it was deemed too niche. It then relaunched, but alienated the hardcore jazz buff. I’d say this is an admission of defeat.”
It is a conclusion vigorously denied by Richard Wheatly, chief operating officer at Golden Rose.
“It was a mistake to make a brand name out of three letters,” he concedes. “This move is an attempt to reclaim the brand.”
Both jazz stations will be the focus of an 800,000 advertising and marketing campaign through CKT, starting in late September, says Wheatly.
JFM enjoys a stable London audience of about 500,000.