Who do we think we are?
The short answer is that we’re the new home for smooth music. The bigger answer is that we are building a community of and for fans and lovers of smoother, more expressive music and the artists and musicians who created it.
in a few words…
With Ken Baker
“there was more than one element that lead to the launch of our station, one in particular was the discovery of so much good, quality music that was never played on radio to a broad national audience, that element was in part, a major impetus for our launching SmoothGroovesRadio.”
We don’t need another radio station, but for many of us, we just need to hear a better selection of music. SmoothGrooves Radio was borne out of that need.
Here in this radio market (Detroit) there is problem I am having, I tend to listen to (non-political) talk radio a lot when I’m in my car, the reason is that I find it irritating to hear the same 50 or so records every day. The only time there is a bit more variety is when the stations broadcast from a live venue, like a mix show or such. I know there are programmers out here who feel strongly that everyone, or perhaps a majority want to hear familiar music very often, a notion that has some truth to it, but in the current state, in this market, and nationally, it has become stagnation… This piece is not about an absense of new music, but about the lack of variety of music played on the radio, or the overloaded redundancy in their programming pushing people away from radio as we know it.
We hear the term “blowing the dust off the oldies” an empty phrase at best, because there should not be dust on the oldies as often as it is being played.
There have been literally thousands of records played on radio over just the last 25 years including album cuts, but we hear the same worn-out 50 or more tired records over and over, year in-year out, as an example, as many records the Isley Brothers have released over the last 50-60 years they have been recording, many of them very popular, why then do we hear the same 10-12 or so Isley records over and over for years?
For many like me, who love music, but basically were captive listening to today’s local radio stations, because this was the only thing available, especially when in our vehicles besides playing our own CD’s, but over the last decade with subscription services like Sirius, XM Radio and since 2016, with the emergence of online radio, there are alternatives for those of us burnt out on the same stagnant music over and over again with so much good music stock available, SmoothGroovesRadio’s mission is us posi-tioning our station to be one of those alter-natives.
“… labels were signing acts, with no intention to promote the finished product, as a tax write-off against other product that had sold well.”
Looking back to go forward, Black music and specifically R & B went through three renais-sance periods in the 60 years, the decade of the 60’s, the mid-to-late 70’s and the 90’s.
In each of those three periods there were hundreds, if not literally thousands of records released, many of them were mundane and lacking , but there were also many unheralded gems missed, or Lost.” SmoothGroovesRadio plays those “lost” gems, those records that missed an opportunity because of lack of radio airplay when originally released, or because it was an album cut, but the single bombed, killing the entire album.
There was huge a glut of music released in the 90’s that never made it to radio that was thusly lost, many of them album cuts. Much of that music is surfacing now on mediums like Youtube.
Mr. Sly Briggs, host of his Love Is 4Real program is the co-founder with me of Smooth GroovesRadio, we both had a love of music and a common fascination with the quality of many of these “Lost” records, I referenced earlier, music that he (Briggs) and myself are still discovering.
The love of music and the discovery of so much quality smooth music that was never promoted (or was played regionally or locally, but never played nationally) was part of the impetus to launch SmoothGroovesRadio.
To sum it all up, I found that at the time much of this music was released, what would catch on and go on to become a big record is not always the best product available or out there at the time, but was almost always, the product that was a priority to the major record labels, and consequently, I saw that the cream does not always rise to the top.
Coming from a background in old-school independent record promotion and marketing and later launching national distribution outlets, initially via Laurie Records, later with Ichiban Records and then formation of our own BRG Music Distribution, and the launch of a couple of label imprints, Connoissuers Records (Laurie), and Rhythmo Records (Ichiban), I’ve seen good viable music become “Lost” sometimes due to programming limtations at radio, often the sheer glut of music was a factor, especially in the 90’s,
Other factors were, when there were limitations at radio, the major labels almost always got the edge.
Another cause of a lot of these records becoming “lost” was the result of the past business model of the major labels who were signing acts, paying advances for recording sessions, art and pressing product with no intention to promote the finished product, all of that, simply as a tax write-off against other product that sold well.
Those were the reality nuances of the old-school record business, today’s record business is a different animal all together. With that said, and much more unsaid, Smooth Groove music is the new alternative.