"Shoring up sagging ratings plays a part in virtually every format flip, with station managers stepping back and anxiously hoping they have made the right musical move. That means there are a handful of happy programmers in Kansas City, MO, Honolulu, Norfolk, VA, Buffalo, NY and Washington DC who recently jumped to Jazz/AC where success has come quicker than imagined..."Today it's more often described as rats leaving a sinking ship. But it's really all piffle without some statistics. A stack of anecdotal articles does not amount to the end of a format. But the doom-mongering has been roiling for years.the articles have been almost universally negative, each pronouncing the death of a format that is at very least still breathing at retail. Here's a sampling of the nay-saying.
The UTNE Reader (May of 2008)
Pop Matters (April 2008)
Jazz Artistry (May 2010)
The deletion of the The Jones Radio network feed for "Smooth Jazz" in September of 2008 is usually considered the turning point. But the half-dozen stations using that feed all switched over to carry the Smooth Jazz satellite feed from Broadcast Architecture. All things considered, it wasn't much of a turning point, really more of a blip. Wikipedia sums up the descent in a single sentence. "...in 2007, the popularity of the format began to slide." Today we do the real math.
But as with all math there are caveats. I do not have exact dates for every smooth jazz flip that has occurred in the last decade. Rather than try to concatenate and sort the varied data points of varied reliability, I will use select data of known reliability focusing on the top 150 markets. It reduces the sample but that reduces my chances of introducing bad data which would skew my sample. The trend line here is logarithmic to avoid the drama of a facetious linear 0 point, but in all honesty, the difference is trivial.