Sirius Satellite Radio

It has been been six months since Sirius Satellite Radio put its Jazz Cafe smooth jazz programming on the Internet. After a Valentine's Day opening in four cities, Sirius became nationwide on July 1st. When I first heard the Jazz Cafe, I thought that this would be the way that smooth jazz should be presented and fully recommended it here on jazzreview.com. Since that time, Sirius programmers went away from their earlier efforts and have gone away from the way that smooth jazz should be presented.

First, Sirius programmers have gone away on the most part from using the CD cuts of releases and use radio edits or special edits of songs. From having a chance to listen to other Internet sources such as smoothjazz.com and jazztraxstudio.com, I noticed that Sirius has tried to make the songs fit certain time frames. In a service where they promote extensively that Jazz Cafe is commercial free, they should not have to worry about editing songs and present them the way they are heard on the CD. To me, using edited version is a disservice to not only the artist, but the listening public as well.

Second, the on-air hosts on Jazz Cafe should not talk over the intros of the music they play. In most cases, those opens set the mood for the song and are sometimes the signature of the song. One example is David Benoit's Kei's Song, where the first notes identify the song immediately. Also, by not talking over the intro, you are showing the artist respect and also help the audience determine if they want to buy the artist's latest release. With Sirius providing the Jazz Cafe without commercial interruption, a partnership with one of the services that sells the music Sirius plays will help Sirius get another income stream and provide a way for listeners to get the music they are hearing.

Third, if Sirius is using people on the weekends for special programming, Sirius should have them make new shows each week. Sirius has been using saxophonist Dave Koz and keyboardist Jeff Lorber on weekend shows, but Sirius has been repeating the programs each week. In one case, Sirius repeated Lorber's first Saturday night program on Sirius. As for Koz, his Sunday Brunch program gets repeated every week and sometimes at the same time as the previous week's show.

Finally, Sirius programmers should do a better job of bringing in new music to the Jazz Cafe mix. For instance, they have not played Joe McBride's version of the HBO Soprano's theme Woke Up this Morning, singer Norah Jones' song Don't Know Why, saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa's Three Day Weekend and Jeff Lorber's latest Rock With You. Sirius has the chance to break out not only new songs, but new performers as well. They have done some, but they can do so much more. With over the air smooth jazz stations reducing their on air playlists, I was expecting Sirius to be able to have a much better variety. So far, they haven't.

Sirius has the chance to show all the other smooth jazz outlets just how good the smooth jazz format is. So far, it has a really long way to go. In the first six months, they were trying to find the right balance of music. As it stands now, it should go back to the drawing board and should talk with the listners who are paying their $12.95 per month to find out what they want. I would even be glad to be part of their listener board to help them out. Sirius should get a little more serious about smooth jazz.

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