Smooth North West
|Broadcast area||North West England|
|Slogan||Your Relaxing Music Mix|
|Frequency||FM: 100.4 MHz|
|First air date||1 September 1994
(as Jazz FM)
|Audience share||5.2% (September 2009, RAJAR)|
|Sister stations||Capital FM
Smooth North West is a Independent Local Radio station based in Salford, Greater Manchester. It is part of the Smooth radio network of stations from 1 March 2004, and changed its name from "Smooth FM" in March 2007. Along with other stations in the network, it was subsumed into a national Smooth Radio service from 4 October 2010. The station was based at studios in Laser House, Salford, until 2010.
The signal was relayed from the Winter Hill transmitter, near Bolton, and was designed to cover Manchester, Merseyside and North Wales and to reach as far north as Carnforth although it can be heard across much of south Cumbria, the Furness Peninsula and as far east as Skipton in North Yorkshire. The station was also available on DAB and online. It was also available on the Sky platform from 14 February 2005 on channel 0128, but was replaced by Smooth London in mid-2007.
GMG Radio ownership
It was launched by Radio Investments Ltd on 1 September 1994 as Jazz FM, but was also known as JFM in an attempt to appeal to listeners who could be put off by the use of the word "jazz". Jazz FM originally played a wide variety of jazz, pandering to more smooth jazz during the daytime in order to attract the 25- to 45-year-old target market which was required to make the station a success. However, the focus of the music later changed, and by the early 2000s, it was focusing more on soul and softer R&B alongside jazz.
100.4 Jazz FM broadcast its daytime shows from its Manchester station, but specialist shows such as Dinner Jazz and Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis were networked from its London sister station 102.2 Jazz FM.
In 2003, the Guardian Media Group did extensive research into the type of music that listeners in the north-west wanted to hear. They concluded that many people were dissuaded by the name "jazz", and as a result, 100.4 Jazz FM closed on 13 February 2004 and relaunched as Smooth FM on 1 March 2004.
The station now began to play more modern music during the day, but continued a mostly jazz themed output at night. The arrangements for local and networked programming remained for a time, but from March 2005, only Mike Chadwick's The Saturday Night Experience was networked from 102.2 Smooth FM. All other programming was produced and aired in the North West.
The station was relaunched again as Smooth Radio 100.4 on 26 March 2007. The launch occurred at the same time as London based 102.2 Smooth FM, however Smooth Radio 100.4 continued with its own unique soul music based format. On 5 July 2007, GMG Radio announced that it was requesting a change of format from Ofcom, which would bring Smooth Radio 100.4 in line with the rest of the network. It proposed an easy listening music service mixed with speech for the over 50's, coupled with an improved local news service. Ofcom approved the changes on 11 October 2007.
In March 2008, GMG requested a format change to remove its jazz commitments it has in place for Smooth Radio 100.4. Part of the plans included a relaunch of Jazz FM from the jazzfm.com service broadcasting on DAB in Glasgow and online on the MXR North West multiplex. In a meeting on 22 April 2008 Ofcom denied GMG's request to drop its jazz commitments. GMG said that it would be relaunching Jazz FM despite the decision.
In 2010 GMG announced that it would be merging its five Smooth stations in England to create a nationwide Smooth Radio service based in Manchester. The new station was launched on 4 October 2010 and could be heard both on DAB and on the locally on the FM frequencies.
Global Radio franchisee under Communicorp ownership
Smooth Radio's output was relocated to new owner Global Radio's Leicester Square headquarters from 1 October 2013, a move that coincided with a major overhaul of its schedule, and the closure of Smooth 70s after 21 months on air.
On 4 February 2014, the Radio Today website reported that Ofcom had given Global Radio permission to remove Smooth from the Digital One platform, and to replace it with a service playing music from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Under this agreement, Smooth would continue to broadcast on its regional frequencies, but would be required to provide seven hours of local output per day.
Local programming is produced and broadcast from Smooth's Salford studios from 6-10am and 4-8pm on weekdays and 2-6pm at weekends. All networked programming originates from Global Radio's London headquarters.
Smooth North West broadcasts hourly regional news bulletins from 6am-7pm on weekdays and 6am-12pm at weekends. The bulletins are produced for Communicorp by Global Radio's Salford newsroom, which also produces bulletins for Heart North West, Capital Manchester, Capital North West and Wales on the Wirral, XFM Manchester and Real Radio XS.
National news updates air hourly from Global's London headquarters at all other times.
Former notable presenters
- "102.2 Smooth Radio (London) and 100.4 Smooth Radio (North-West England) - Request to Change Station Formats" (PDF). Ofcom. Archived from the original (pdf) on October 3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
- "Smooth Radio (London and North-West) Formats Change - Request Denied". Ofcom. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
- "Ofcom say no to Smooth". Radio Today. 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-06-14.
- "Global welcomes Smooth Radio to London HQ". Radio Today. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- "Smooth Radio 70s to close after 21 months". Radio Today. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Sandle, Paul (6 February 2014). "Denis O'Brien buys eight UK radio stations from Global Radio". Reuters. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
- "Smooth Radio to be removed from Digital 1". Radio Today. 4 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- Smooth Radio - North West presenters