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WBUF ADOPTS SMOOTH JAZZ FORMAT TO WIN HEARTS, EARS OF BABY BOOMERS

Goodbye Billy Joel, hello Kenny G. That summarizes the change in musical programming at WBUF-FM 92.9, which switched Thursday from an adult contemporary to smooth jazz format.

"We were stuck in the mud," said Ron Rice of Pyramid Communications Inc., which bought the station a year ago. WBUF was losing the ratings war against two other AC stations, WJYE-FM 96.1 and WMJQ-FM 102.5.

All are going after a 25-to-54 audience, with an emphasis on women in the 35-to-44 range. Apparently the Buffalo market has reached the Michael Bolton saturation point, and that's why WBUF decided to switch.

Rice believes the smooth jazz format -- which features such artists as Kenny G., Anita Baker, Sade, George Benson, Grover Washington Jr., Spyro Gyra and David Sanborn -- will warm the hearts and ears of baby boomers.

Two air personalities, morning man Dan Kelley and Jerry Reo in the afternoons, have left WBUF. Chris Whittingham will take over the morning slot with Dan Catone on in the afternoons.

WRITING IN: Reader response was heavy on recent columns about morning radio. Below are excerpts from some letters:

"Being 43 years old, I have listened to Danny Neaverth since he was on WKBW in the '60s. We have several children and we like to have the radio on in the morning before they go off to school. A couple of years ago, we determined we could no longer condone or tolerate the progressive degeneration of his show on WHTT-FM 104.1. I am not puritanical but I am conservative, and I resent and will not tolerate the trash being dumped in my kitchen in the morning. If I have to, I'll turn the radio off." -- David Hoy, Amherst

"I couldn't agree with you more in regards to (Larry) Norton and (Marc) Stout. I also believe that Danny Neaverth and his two children (and I do mean children) are just too arrogant for me. I refuse to listen to those jerks in the morning hours." -- Denny Kolb, Buffalo

"There were many morning shows not mentioned in your article on morning radio. You left out WUFX-FM 103.3 and WMJQ-FM 102.5. You were fairly critical of some of the stations that you felt needed a bashing. This article was a great idea, but I think it could have been approached a bit more cautiously." -- Keith Augustine, Cheektowaga

"I wish to complain about your new radio critic. He has managed to blast WGR and its radio personalities on numerous occasions. I find these attacks revolting." -- Susan Rosen, Gowanda

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