These are still strange times!
The show has been back on the air since June. What has been really strange has been record companies trying to adjust their releases to tie in with an upturn in sales, perhaps also hoping to to catch the dreaded Christmas market (while I think of it I ought to add that the first 'Christmas' release came out the last week in September - great if what you want to hear is Warren Wolf playing Christmas standards!) So the 'new' Thelonious Monk album which I had at the start of August from the record company, finally got released during the third week of September, The same thing has happened with several other major label releases.
It hasn't however stopped me thinking about preparing for my annual top 10 albums of the year, which consistently fail to coincide with what other critics have chosen. What is going to make this year particularly difficult however is the sheer diversity of what has been released. It's always been difficult to categorize jazz genres, but in lots of ways it now almost impossible (hence I guess the Edge of Jazz!). Anyway the pile of 'possibles' is, as usual large and it's going to be difficult, as ever, to choose just ten.
D.A.B+ the preparations.
When we had research done last Academic Year by The Business School at Exeter University (undertaken by a cohort of 177 students, so quite a lot to wade through) several outcomes became clear. One of the most glaring was the ways in which radio listening was (or wasn't) consumed by under 35's was clearly different to those over 35. A large proportion of the student population (which in Exeter is over 25,000) didn't listen to the radio at all. They streamed and downloaded on a regular basis, but consumption of radio wasn't done by listening to 'a radio'. Even in the age range immediately above the student group consumption was mainly confined to listening in a car or by means of a smart speaker. It also became clear that new cars had radio which were DAB based, and although they had the provision for FM radio it was seldom used, mainly because of the ease of switching between channels.
When Ofcom announced that they were going to extend their pilot scheme for localised DAB+ broadcasting, and Exeter was named as one of the initial 30 towns/cities to be chosen it became obvious that Phonic FM had to be involved. We're lucky in that unlike in other places we had a good relationship with our local 'large' provider, and after talking to them and other interested parties we decided that would put together a consortium which would apply for the license. Hence was born www.exedab.com which aims to win the local Exeter output. The deadline for application is 29th November this year, and if we're successful we'll start to have a signal which will significantly increase the area we cover. I'd only add that, as ever with Ofcom. the process is not as straightforward as writing an application ,it also requires the fulfillment of a host of other requirements. If we win it, we'll have the license for a 7 year period.
There's a lot of hard work to be done, and a lot of connections to be made, but we consider that the outcome would be well worth the effort.
So watch this space!