Smitty: (Laughs.) You know, it would be kinda cool if someone just ceramic tiled their studio and just kinda see what it does, you know? (Laughs.)
VVD: You know what? I wouldn’t be surprised if it hasn’t already been done.
VVD: Probably taken their little home studio setup into the bathroom and just let it go.
Smitty: (Laughs.) How cool is that? So, now, you’re at The WAVE 94.7, in Hamilton?
VVD: We are based out of Hamilton, Ontario, but really we are….we call ourselves Canada’s Smooth Jazz Radio Station because, of course, people can listen on-line, and we really are the only station in Canada right now….there are stations playing some Smooth Jazz, but we’re really the only game in the country in terms of being a dedicated Smooth Jazz format, and we are based in Hamilton, which is about a half an hour outside of Toronto, but our signal gets into Toronto, so we say, you know, we are Toronto’s Smooth Jazz Station, Oaksville’s Smooth Jazz Station, Mississauga’s Smooth Jazz Station, I mean, but really we are….we’re it for Canada.
Smitty: Yeah. And rightly so because you guys just hosted your the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards?
VVD: The Second Annual and, of course, that is for all of Canada, but it was something that we put together to give more of a profile to the genre of music itself. See, we’ve been on the air now for five and a half years and so many people still don’t even understand what Smooth Jazz is and we’re continually trying to come up with a definition for it and differentiate between Smooth Jazz and Traditional Jazz, and so I think it becomes necessary in order to promote the music to create a star system in our country. I mean, obviously we play all the American greats and we’ve got our own Canadian greats who’ve made good in America, people like Warren Hill and Alexander Zonjic, but we really need to give our Canadians a bit of that star treatment to bump them up to the next level, and I think that’s the purpose of creating the Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards and, I mean, the first year, 2005, considering, the way it all came together and pretty much on a volunteer basis, it was pretty darn spectacular, and then this year it just got bumped up times ten where we were having top names in the format phoning up afterwards saying “I wanna be on your show next year.”
VVD: This year we had Paul Brown, Steve Oliver, Warren Hill finally made it this year, last year he got snowed in Denver and couldn’t make it….Alexander Zonjic hosting again, we had Bob James receiving the George Benson Lifetime Achievement Award ….of course, last year it was George Benson and he was there….so a lot of American star power showing up to help us out, and then it’s just really great to see the Canadians getting a chance to be up there on the stage with the American talent and being with them shoulder-to-shoulder in terms of talent. I mean, we’ve got some great stuff going on up here.
Smitty: Yeah. Well, I, like those top names in the format. I wanna be there next year too.
VVD: Right and next year you should be. Of course, D.J. [Fazio] from your site was with us this year and we were just thrilled to have her and, yeah, I mean, we just want you guys down there to start having your award show again.
Smitty: Yeah, well, perhaps you guys are the spark to make that happen because you’re absolutely right, we did that for four or five years and it was amazing what took place at those award shows, it was just such a great vibe with all the musicians there and we just had such a party.
VVD: It’s so great for your fan base to really….to see what Smooth Jazz is and, I mean, I get people, they go “Oh yeah, Smooth Jazz…elevator music.” Well, you know what? Come on out to the award show. You know, you will never call Smooth Jazz elevator music again when you see Warren Hill strut across a stage in his tight leather pants (both laugh) playing that saxophone, and then Jeff Golub comes out and joins him on the guitar. You are never gonna call that elevator music ever again.
Smitty: Yeah, that elevator would be rockin’, wouldn’t it? (Laughs.)
VVD: Uh, yes, absolutely, yeah, and we were just thrilled, we’re already making plans for next year’s show.
Smitty: Yes, and before we continue, I want to seriously congratulate Doug and Mary. They did such a wonderful job with this. You know, I’ve talked with D.J., I’ve seen some clips….you guys know how to put on a show!
VVD: Well, I will certainly pass along your congratulations to Doug and Mary. Without those two wonderful people, there would be no Smooth Jazz in Canada. It was their dream. They know the format very well. They spend quite a bit of time in Florida. They know the format and it was their dream to bring this format to Canada and launching a new radio station is tough enough. Launching a new radio station with a new format? Whoa, it’s virtually impossible. You know, if you wanna make some money, you just go with the tried and true, but not Doug and Mary. They just said “No, we want this format in Canada and we are in it for the long haul. We are in it to give Canadians a chance to learn about Smooth Jazz and embrace this music,” and that’s what’s happened. I mean, it was a tough go the first two years and now our ratings are really leaping and bounding and you can’t thank Doug and Mary enough, and Mary particularly for the award show, she is tireless in her efforts to get that show put together and not only put together but put together in a first class way. She’s an amazing woman.
Smitty: Yes. Well, I’ve talked with some of the musicians that were there. Of course, I talked to D.J. and she just made me completely jealous that I wasn’t there.