Jazz FM to return

Jazz FM, the radio station rebranded as Smooth three years ago, is being resurrected by its former management team, now at the Local Radio Company. It will broadcast on DAB, online and digital TV through Sky.

Under a three-year licence agreement with brand owner Guardian Media Group, Jazz FM will operate from studios throughout the UK and will be run by LRC chief executive Wheatly and finance director Alistair Mackenzie. It is expected to launch in the autumn, backed by a heavyweight advertising campaign featuring the old chameleon icon and “Life in Colour” strapline. The duo built Jazz FM†before selling to GMG in July 2002 for £41m.

Wheatly unveiled plans to relaunch Jazz FM at its interim results today (June 30).

GMG Radio changed Jazz FM into Smooth FM three years ago, prompting GCap to launch DAB station The Jazz, which was discontinued earlier this year. Wheatly says it is the “perfect time” to reintroduce the radio brand and believes Jazz FM will prosper further from new media channels.

It will run a DAB service in London, the West Midlands and the North West. Jazz FM will also be broadcast through the Sky satellite television platform and stream via the jazzfm.com website, previously the world’s biggest online radio website.

Wheatly has also announced a number of associated line extensions such as concerts, merchandising and music compilations, stating that at its height around three-quarters of Jazz FM revenues came from non-radio activity, including its Hed Kandi label now owned by Ministry of Sound.

At the time of its demise, The Jazz had a total weekly audience of 407,000 listening for over two million hours. When GMG Radio bought Jazz FM in 2002, the franchise had a total weekly audience of 1,024,000 and more than five million listening hours. Wheatly expects the relaunched Jazz FM to exceed both.

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