The little secrets of Jazz Light programming

Hervé Bedoch created Jazz Light 10 years ago in France, he tells us the little secrets of this Smooth Jazz radio, broadcasted by Shoutcast and programmed via the RadioManager 

Hello Hervé, tell us in detail how the programming of Jazz Light is organized… 

Concerning the Day template, they are made according to the seasons and the regular events that mark the year. Some are specially made for “classic” periods. When listeners are working and there is no particular calendar event. In this case, I work with Day Templates composed of different tempos according to the seasons. I add some musical categories according to these periods. Not too sad in winter with a tempo a little more intense on a month like November which is usually grey, sunnier in spring and summer… For example, from June to August, I integrate categories of Brazilian, Latin music or with artists who remind the islands, the south, and the sun. We will find more artists like Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, Jorge Ben, Djavan, Astrud Gilberto, Césaria Evora, Campay Segundo in summer… For Christmas, in December, I integrate Christmas songs of singers for the most part American for a Day Template used only this month. For the year-end holidays, there are then two Christmas songs per hour and a special “Christmas” template for this month. As for the “Clock”, I have two main categories : a “Jazz” category which gathers 100% Jazz tracks, the must-haves ! Then a second category “Soft” which gathers the slows, the soul, the tracks which are not identified as being Jazz… Each category is classified by decade then separated with a French and foreign classification… After, for the day program, there is systematically one out of two tracks are “Jazz”, and at least 50% of the tracks per hour are from after 2000! In the evening, from 8 pm to midnight, we are on 100% Jazz with a softer tempo.  And then, I have a playlist (new releases) of 20 tracks reviewed every week, we have to work with about 1 100 tracks in total. This is huge compared to other radios and web radios, but it’s a conscious choice. 

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What is the objective in terms of rendering for the listener? 

Jazz Light was born in May 2011 we will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the end of May during a special week… At that time, I started from the fact that in France, no radio or web radio offered a Smooth Jazz format. That is to say a format with all styles of Jazz… A more commercial format, more accessible to all, slightly more “Soul-R&B”! This radio format exists and works very well in the United States since the 80s. I wanted to offer this alternative to Internet users by adapting this format to our culture. Let them find Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday with the FM hits of Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Adele, Gotan Project, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Pink Martini, Dido, Caro Emerald, Parov Stellar, and our French artists…   Listeners love Jazz Light for its musical diversity. We have one of the longest listening times of any music web radio. The programming has 3 to 4 times more titles than a normal web radio and our rotations are wider, which avoids that the listener has the impression to hear always the same songs.  

What is for you the definition of jazz in a very broad sense, since the programming of your radio is rather large and diversified? 

Jazz Light… It’s Smooth Jazz… Popular and for everyone… We must not be elitists! But at the beginning, some purists insulted us on social networks, because for them it is not Jazz! However, our idea is the following, when you listen, either you recognize the artist through a universal standard for all, or you know the song that is a cover, a hit that you find in Jazz adaptation … Example: “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson covered by “The Lost Fingers” or “Jamie Lancaster” that we broadcast!  For the last 6 months, the program has been opening up a little more to soul and funk. But 60% of the programming remains Jazz! 

In the coming years, what are the development perspectives of Jazz Light? 

The development will go through more presence, referencing, and notoriety on digital. We are actively working on the deployment of a new website and a mobile application. We would like to set up partnerships with artists that we discover directly on Youtube, on Facebook or with emblematic places where concerts take place as we did two years ago with the Live Club restaurant of the singer Daryl Hall (known for his song “I can go for that” that he performs in a duet with John Oates). He has his restaurant in upstate New York and programs many artists. He records live shows with the greatest musicians of the American scene. It is captured and broadcast on social networks and we agree to set up a theme that fits our format. It was a nice move, we were able to listen to Jazz Light, ZZ Top, Cee Lo Green, Jason Mraz, Dave Stewart cover great classics in exclusivity on our little webradio!