A very important date in Smooth Jazz occurred on March 8th 1982, now just over forty years ago. The Week before that date the General Manager of San Diego radio station KIFM, Bruce Walton, the older brother of basketball great Bill Walton, asked the Program Director of their struggling soft rock station Art Good.
“Art, have you ever thought of doing a late night Jazz Show?” Art said “Give me the weekend to figure it out cause I know nothing about JAZZ.”
They really did not have any idea the effect it would have on the history of music. It was just something to try. Art Good found he preferred contemporary or easy listening Jazz to more traditional jazz and began to play it. Within a year his program he called Lites Out had attracted a huge cult like audience encompassing the entire City of San Diego.
What that show that began 40 years ago did was create the West Coast beginnings to what became Smooth Jazz, one of the most popular and best radio sales generating stations across America through the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s.
A radio station in Los Angeles known as The Wave soon copied the show. As a result of these two stations popularity, Smooth Jazz Radio Stations popped up in almost every major city in America. Many also called their shows Lites Out.
When the listening audience aged, advertisers abandoned the format and it came close to disappearing.
Art Good who started it all, continues the battle as the promoter of the still widely popular Catalina Island Smooth JazzTrax Festival now booking for its 35th edition.
I am happy to be able to report that in the almost five years that I have been doing this show there has been an unmistakable resurgence of the format with lots of new young musical artists joining many popular veteran performers.
So far this new year has been phenomenal with lots of new releases from major Smooth Jazz stars.
Thank you for your continuing support of KKRN and this program.