Rick O'Dell hopes to be back on the air in January, doing something he loved doing for many years -- hosting a smooth jazz radio show. O'Dell, the former WNUA-FM (95.5) host, said Tuesday he has hitched his star to a little-known radio outlet WLFM-FM (87.7). His last day as an Internet radio host and programmer with Chicago-based AccuRadio will be Friday.
WLFM has been on air as a very barebones smooth jazz outlet since last May, when WNUA dumped the smooth jazz format and switched to hot Spanish hits. O'Dell will host a mid-day show on WLFM, but first he must wait for the station's studios to be built out. The exact start date and the hours of O'Dell's mid-day show on WLFM have yet to be determined. O'Dell is the only on-air talent the station has hired so far. O'Dell will also serve as WLFM's program director, which will require him to create from scratch a library of music. "I have most of what I will need to do that in my music library at home," said O'Dell.
For some two years, WLFM has been co-owned by Cleveland-based Malibu Broadcasting and Los Angeles-based Venture Technologies Group. But the radio station only went live with music last spring, first with an alternative country music format and then smooth jazz. Only recently, said O'Dell, has the station begun to generate enough cash to hire on-air staff and a program director. WLFM's General Manager is Pat Kelley, who previously was the general sales manager at WNUA. Both Kelley and O'Dell were let go from WNUA as the station prepared to transition to the new Spanish hits format last May.
Though smooth jazz fans have turned to WLFM in the wake of WNUA's demise, some have complained WLFM is hard to tune in to because of its awkward position at the very low end of the radio dial.