I checked out WENN this morning and it’s very interesting and certainly a welcomed change from what has become homoginized radio these days. When new formats premiere and the station is Radio DJless with limited commercials it really has a certain appeal. It is no wonder the general public and the trendsetters prefer to keep it that way by programming their iPods and opting out of listening to the radio altogether. It IS appealing. Radio is going to have to find a way generate more entertaining and personality radio to create that magical marriage that has been missing from a lot of stations for years.
Corrine Bailey Rae stated on the today show recently that she doesn’t know what “Neo Soul” is and the question is… does anybody these days. Kedar Massenburg coined the phrase almost 20 years ago with premiere acts, at the time, like Erykah Badu and vet Angie Stone later Maxwell, D’angelo and others kind of fell into the category and it was a return to SOUL music. However, the term, Neo Soul, pretty much died when the decade of the 90s closed so it would seem odd that Cox would now derive a format around the term. It’s certainly a great idea to incorporate that music into a format, I’m not sure about calling it Neo Soul… it’s basically R&B but why not call it what it really is “Soul Music” and open up the format to include some of the greats of the 70s, 80s AND 90s? Neo Soul is almost along the line of “Smooth Jazz” a format that also had limited music and eventually expanded into an almost comical inclusion of artist who were everything but Jazz.
I applaud WENN for taking a chance nonetheless and stepping outside the box. Perhaps they can bring life back to the “Neo Soul” name.