This led to some speculation — in some cases, call it hope — that CBS Radio-owned station would return to traditional FM, where, according to Mike Shannon’s Dallas-Fort Worth Radio & Television History, it lasted from 1987 to 2006, first at 106.1 FM and then at 107.5 FM.
That isn’t the case, but the station is making some big changes without alternating its format.
“We’re putting a fresh coat of paint on ‘103.7-HD2, The Oasis,’ ” Jay Creswell, program director for The Oasis and several other CBS Radio Dallas stations (traditional as well as HD), says in an email. “We’re re-branding the station as OASISDFW.com.
“The biggest difference is we’ll be playing roughly 50 per-cent new music, as opposed to the 1-2 current songs per hour that we’re playing. We’ll include multiple album cuts from new releases, and all different genres of jazz, for flavor.”
The music has already been changing, with a soft launch that began last Thursday (and, as was the case with the “traditional” version of the Oasis, it’s not all smooth jazz: One of the cuts that played Friday morning was Stevie Wonder’s 1974 hit “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” and the Nathan East cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Serpentine Fire.”
The soft launch has already happened, but the big announcement was set to take place at the Dave Koz/Michael Franks/Larry Graham concert Saturday night at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
Part of the announcement is that the station will be adding announcers beginning Monday — not coincidentally, including smooth-jazz saxophonist Koz, whose syndicated “Dave Koz Show” airs 10 p.m. to midnight Saturdays and 2-4 p.m. Sundays.
Local announcers will include Andy Brooks, 6-9 a.m.; Cameron Smith, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Ian Miller, 5-10 p.m.
Oasis fans with long memories might recall that Smith, who hosted a show called “Smooth Jazz Television,” was the Oasis’ morning DJ from August 2001 to March 2002. It was actually kind of a big deal for the station at the time, when he left to focus more on the TV show.
He told the Star-Telegram at the time that he also felt constrained by the Oasis’ tight playlist, which, judging from Creswell’s mention of multiple album cuts, won’t be a problem this time around.
The HD alternative
HD Radio doesn’t get written about a lot in the mainstream media; even though HD-only stations are often plugged on the traditional stations they’re linked to, satellite radio and streaming services like Pandora and Spotify seem to have more visibility (traditional stations also air on HD channels, which boast of having better audio).
The Star-Telegram’s Cary Darling did a story on it in 2006, when J.D. Freeman, then-regional vice president of what was then Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) told Darling: “If you think of the Internet and the options it offers, that’s where audio entertainment is going. … It will take awhile for people to pick up HD radio but, over time, it will just be what radio is in terms of your FM and AM channels.”
As you can infer from the “thens” earlier in this paragraph, much has changed in radio since 2006 (and, admittedly, much hasn’t), but it still feels like its taking a while for people to pick up HD radio.
Dismayed at how much ’50s and ’60s music has disappeared from DFW’s KLUV/98.7 FM, a “classic hits” station that people still think of as an “oldies” station? Tune in/log on to Oldies Radio 98.7 KLUV HD2, which plays the older stuff (Creswell is also program director for both those stations, as well as Vegas-crooner-oriented 100.3-HD2 Sound of the Strip).
Streaming HD isn’t always easy, though — not all stations play on all apps, you might have to do some Googling around to find the HD stations, and HD Radio’s own list of DFW HD stations needs some updating.
But with a little effort, you can find another cool option in a nontraditional radio world.