Smooth Radio 100.4 is an Independent Local Radio station based in Salford, Greater Manchester. It has been part of the Smooth brand of stations since 1 March 2004, and changed its name from "Smooth FM" in March 2007. The studios are in Laser House, Salford, where sister stations Century Radio, Rock Radio and parent company GMG radio are based.
The signal is relayed from the Winter Hill transmitter, near Bolton, and is designed to cover Manchester, Merseyside and North Wales and to reach as far north as Carnforth. The station is also available on DAB and online. It was also available on the Sky Digital platform from 14 February 2005 on channel 0128, but was replaced by 102.2 Smooth Radio in mid 2007.
It was launched by Radio Investments Ltd on 1 September 1994 as Jazz FM, but was also known as JFM in an attempt to appeal to listeners who could be put off by the use of the word "jazz". Jazz FM originally played a wide variety of jazz, pandering to more smooth jazz during the daytime in order to attract the 25-45 year old target market which was required to make the station a success. However, the focus of the music later changed, and by the early 2000s, it was focusing more on soul and softer R&B alongside jazz.
100.4 Jazz FM broadcast its daytime shows from its Manchester station, but specialist shows such as Dinner Jazz and Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis were networked from its London sister station 102.2 Jazz FM.
In 2003, the Guardian Media Group did extensive research into the type of music that listeners in the north-west wanted to hear. They concluded that many people were disuaded by the name "jazz", and as a result, 100.4 Jazz FM closed on 13 February 2004 and relaunched as Smooth FM on 1 March 2004.
The station now began to play more modern music during the day, but continued a mostly jazz themed output at night. The arrangements for local and networked programming remained for a time, but from March 2005, only Mike Chadwick's The Saturday Night Experience was networked from 102.2 Smooth FM. All other programming was produced and aired in the North West.
The station was relaunched again as Smooth Radio 100.4 on 26 March 2007. The launch occurred at the same time as London based 102.2 Smooth FM, however Smooth Radio 100.4 continued with its own unique soul music based format. On 05 July 2007, GMG Radio announced that it was requesting a change of format from Ofcom, which would bring Smooth Radio 100.4 in line with the rest of the network. It proposed an easy listening music service mixed with speech for the over 50's, coupled with an improved local news service. Ofcom approved the changes on 11 October, 2007.
In March 2008, GMG requested a format change to remove its jazz commitments it has in place for Smooth Radio 100.4. Part of the plans included a relaunch of Jazz FM from the jazzfm.com service currently broadcasting on DAB in Glasgow and online on the MXR North West multiplex. In a meeting on April 22, 2008 Ofcom denied GMG's request to drop its jazz commitments. GMG will be relaunching Jazz FM despite the decision.