Where People Today Get Their Music Fix

As a boy, if I wanted to hear music, there were two choices: AM Radio & a phonograph player. Seven decades later, I can’t count the number of choices I have to listen to music, but most of them have something to do with the internet.

More than 64% of individuals primarily choose to play music

over the internet.

International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)

Growth In The Recorded Music Market

The IFPI Global Music Report discovered that the recorded music market grew globally by 9.0% in 2022, driven primarily by paid subscription streaming.

Subscription audio streaming grew by 10.3%.

And yes, Sue and I are among the folks who pay for streaming music subscriptions. Why do we pay to hear our music streamed? Well, for one thing, the musical genres we enjoy can no longer be heard on over-the-air (OTA) broadcast radio. Paying a small fee eliminates annoying content while allowing access to an infinite music library.

CD 101.9 FM – Smooth Jazz

What originally sent me to the internet to find a music streaming station was when WQCD, better known as Smooth Jazz CD 101.9, ceased programming this genre of music.

From August 22, 1988 until February 5, 2008, this radio station had been the greater New York City metro’s place to relax; till it wasn’t.

In fact, the smooth jazz format has basically vanished from broadcast radio in the United States but thrives quite well on the internet. My favorite streaming stations for this genre are curated by Radio Tunes

Broadcast Radio’s Challenge

While broadcasters are getting themselves all in a lather about “saving AM radio” and whether or not AI (Artificial Intelligence) can replace live personalities, maybe what the radio industry should be focused on is where people are getting their music in a 21st Century World. This graph really tells the story of today’s music consumer.

64% play their music over the internet.

17% listen to music on the radio.

Smooth Jazz CD 101.9 Returns

If you pine to hear Smooth Jazz CD 101.9, it’s back, but only as a streaming radio station. You can listen here: https://smoothjazzcd1019.com/ or you can just say “Alexa, play Smooth Jazz CD 101 9” like I do, when I stream music from the internet.

Music is personal and the internet allows all of us the ability to hear what we want, when we want to hear it. Knowing this, broadcast radio – now more than ever – needs engaging personalities that make an emotional connection with listeners beyond the music they play.

 “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche


Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

26 responses to “Where People Today Get Their Music Fix

  1. I wonder if this is cause and effect. You wrote, ” the smooth jazz format has basically vanished from broadcast radio in the United States but thrives quite well on the internet.” I remember when there were several nice smooth jazz stations, but I wonder did the stations change formats because of Internet streaming.. OR Did the internet streaming grab hold because the stations changed format? Probably a combination of the two. Thankfully, for Amazon Alexa (and other devices or apps) we can hear the stations / music we want to hear from anywhere in the USA. I’m thankful broadcast radio has endorsed streaming.


  2. I’m with you Dick…my first exposure to the Smooth Jazz format was when as a 20-something, I worked in purchasing for a retailer in Chicago. They played the legendary 95.5 WNUA in the office. Rick O’Dell, Yvonne Daniels…what a loss that was when they flipped formats. I wouldn’t really appreciate it until I went looking for something like that now in my older years. I have to settle for playlists on Spotify. I’ll try your link- Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Victor Escalante

    Legacy media, including radio, never implemented a robust strategy to expand its audience amidst technological advancements, increased competition, and audience attrition. As a result, we have witnessed a gradual decline to oblivion in the industry. It remains uncertain whether radio will survive beyond the boomer generation. Next on the decline is cable as streaming is on the rise.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jaycolo

    Two other sources of smooth jazz, that I listen to, yes on the internet, are: Best Smooth Jazz, and Smooth Jazz 24/7. Both are from the UK. Enjoy, Jay

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rick Snyder

    You are spot on with these comments, Dick, especially, “,,,:radio – now more than ever – needs engaging personalities that make an emotional connection with listeners beyond the music they play” When I heard the voice of Denny Bracken on my car radio a few years ago, and when I realized it really was Denny’s voice, I got tears in my eyes and chills up mu spine(how’s that for an emotional connection?). Denny was an early DJ (mid 50’s) in Syracuse, NY and was my favorite announcer. Smooth voice, always had something to say, and he ended up in Los Angeles at the CBS radio network. He was a huge influence on my 50+ year radio career as I tried to sound like him (not) but I never forgot him. He died in his 40’s but will always get credit for his the lasting impression he made on that young, aspiring radio announcer. So, Dick, where do we find these inspiring talents out there? The interest in getting “on the air” seems to have sadly disappeared. Progress is not easy to stop but is AI the end of human creativity in radio? Let us hope not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I can so identify with all you wrote Rick. Whenever I was within earshot of Ron Lundy, I dialed up his radio station, as listening to him always made me happy and feel good.

      I was told by Joe McCoy that’s why he hired Ron at CBS-FM, even though his air staff was full. He created a opening just for Ron.

      He told his GM at the time that no only would listeners enjoy listening to Ron Lundy, but that he would make every announcer on the team better and just having Ron in the building would create a positive environment among all the staff.

      That’s the power of a great personality!


  6. Bill Turner

    A buddy of mine was working a smooth jazz station in a major city. When Arbitron went to personal people meters, it became very evident the paper diaries greatly exaggerated listening. It was learned the actual audience was about 1/3 to 1/4 of what the paper diaries indicated.

    Don’t forget these big corporations have researched radio to death and know what works to get that agency buy. Not every station is or should be personality radio.

    What has truly hurt radio is the number of ways you can advertise. As a salesperson in radio, revenue potential is at best 25% of what it was 20-25 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill, there’s no doubt that the changes to the way audience estimates have been gathered, has benefited some formats over others.

      When I was running a Bonneville Beautiful Music radio station, Arbitron found us to be #1.

      However, Birch Ratings, using telephone calls to gather audience listening information did not.

      I always felt that using a combination of diary and phone at that point in time would produce a more accurate estimate.

      That was then, this is now.

      Literally, we live in a world with too much of everything and it has become survival of the fittest.


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  10. Don Selke

    I agree with Dick Music Radio is moving to the internet with modern technology like blue tooth internet Radio will give broadcast stations a run for the money, the old way of thinking is what is dragging down these stations. The Oldies format, Smooth Jazz & the American song book formats are mainly gone from broadcast Radio because of advertising executives believe that there in no money in these formats because of the age demographic involved and that is not true. There’s a lot of money to be made in advertising for older people plus younger people get exposed to the formats what’s old is new again….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank You Don for sharing your perspective.

      I know that my sons grew to love the music I grew up with and embrace it along with the music coming out today.


    • Don wrote: “advertising executives believe that there in no money in these formats because of the age demographic involved” I agree that formats such as Mexican (or other foreign language); Classical; Beautiful Music/Big Band; Classic Country and Gospel would be considered minority formats appealing to a small group of the population. However, if your station occupies one of the low 5 spots in a 25 station ratings market, what have you got to lose. I think any station that is properly promoted will eventually find an audience. These audiences can be very loyal. As long as you make enough to pay the bills and have a little profit..be happy. Many people and large corporations got into the radio business years ago, expecting to make big bucks. That’s not what happens today.

      Liked by 1 person

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