“Oh, give me the beat boys and soothe my soul, I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.” – Dobie Gray
In April, WJCT will launch a midnight to 5 a.m. music program that will help you do just what Dobie Grey asked for: Relax Radio, which has been featured on the public broadcast station’s HD3 channel 24/7 for the past year, will offer a playlist of over three thousand songs that is as representative of American popular music as any that has ever been curated. The bulk of the songs are from the Great American Songbook, featuring great artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Barbara Streisand, Mel Torme, and Duke Ellington, but the program also adds jazz standouts Miles Davis, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Billie Holiday, Bennie Goodman and others, as well as oldies that include the iconic groups and pop songs of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s from Elvis to the Beatles.
Relax Radio does not provide a treacly treatment of the music of the last seven decades, but instead approaches its deep compendium of songs as the formidable force it is; transporting us back to the most pleasant memories of our lives. Research shows that music spurs intense emotions. Brain imaging reveals that our favorite songs stimulate the brain’s pleasure circuit, which releases an influx of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and other neurochemicals that make us feel good. The more we like a song, the more we achieve a neurochemical bliss.
This fact was not lost on David Luckin, music director of WJCT and architect of Relax Radio, who wanted to provide a sea of bliss to dive into.
“I wanted to give Baby Boomers an all-inclusive easy listening station, one where you can hear the Beatles right along with a song by Sinatra; where you can hear Miles Davis and then Patsy Cline … very eclectic and diverse,” he says. “It’s an innovative hybrid like no one else has done. It’s rich, deep and intelligent.”
Another unique feature that Luckin added to the program are obscure covers of popular songs. Smart music lovers like to hear different versions or interpretations of a popular song, so musicophiles are pleasantly surprised to hear a popular group covering an obscure song or vice versa.
The impetus for Relax Radio came after the long-running Jones College FM station offering easy listening went off the air. WJCT decided to fill the void, and in three months, Luckin created a list of nearly fifteen hundred songs, which premiered on the station’s HD3 channel last year. After selling nearly eight hundred HD radios, WJCT realized the market is there for such an encompassing music program to engender such nostalgia.
Beginning in April, Relax Radio will be available every night on 89.9 at midnight for us to slip into our reveries as easily as we slip into bed. Because we don’t just hear the music, we feel it.
Article written by Mike Bernos