For over six years, I’ve been an XM radio subscriber and fan of XM72 – the Beyond Jazz channel. The primary reason I became a subscriber is the ability to hear music on the radio that I can’t hear in my local market, most notably contemporary jazz and electronica. XM72 music director, Russ Davis, has been consistently kept the station a must-listen for any modern jazz (or MoJa) fan. The balance of classic fusion, acid jazz, new fusion, jazztronica, and other plugged-in jazz is like nothing you can hear in your automobile. I used to post about the thrill I got hearing Liquid Soul, the Solsonics, Marcus Miller, Jamiroquai, and other favorites of mine air on a nationwide channel.
Now, those days are over. XM laid off 80 employees yesterday. Some were on-air personalities, including 50s fan-fave Matt “The Cat” Baldassarri and Soul Street’s Bobby Bennett and Leigh Hamilton. While writing this, I just got an email message from Jammin’ Jazz (a popular show on Beyond Jazz) host Michelle Sammartino. It’s true – Beyond Jazz will be ending in early November. This fits in with the rumor that a XM-Sirius merged single set of channels will be coming in November.
Here’s the message I received from Michelle:
Unfortunately i was already laid off, and Russ will be gone in early November with the channel. They cut so many people this week in programming alone… it is sad. I am sorry to see the channel going, as you know it was our passion. We are however planning to continue to work together with this music. Whether that is an online radio channel or podcasts or something. Keep checking back here and once we have it done I will post all the info here.
Sad… but one door closes… well you know the rest…
I know I’ll be writing more about this. Right now, though, I’m kind of numb.