The Plum Radio

Bearing fruit

Caribbean station The Plum Radio may only employ a team of five but its global reach spans continents. Based on the island of St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, it was founded in 2020 to remedy a lack of smooth jazz on the airwaves. Part of the station’s staff is Jay Le Vert, who has been a studio musician for 50 years. He fills us in on the station’s plans for expansion.

US Virgin Islands coastline
Location map and view of St Thomas (Wikipedia)

Tell us about the station.

The Plum Radio is part of [online broadcaster] North Coast Digital, which was set up in 2020 and was a real positive during lockdown on the island. It was our phoenix moment; we rose out of the hard times and created something we are proud of. It is a collaborative platform with a recording studio in Ohio, a marketing base in North America and a radio station here in St Thomas.

St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Photo: Travel+Leisure

And where did The Plum Radio’s name come from?

The name came from Cleveland. NYC is the Big Apple, Georgia is the peach and Cleveland is the plum. We have a popular live show every Saturday night from a jazz club called The Bop Stop in Cleveland, so the name seemed to fit.

Jeffree Charles in 2011, from his Facebook page

What music do you play?

We play 99 per cent smooth jazz but we are working on a Sunday segment dedicated to gospel music. There is some jazz-funk and R&B but I’ve been playing jazz for most of my life so we stick to what we know. We have a show on Friday night called For Lovers Only with radio personality Jeffree Charles, which is all romantic music.

What does your roster look like?

We have shows of one to two hours of free-flowing music, which play 24/7. Being a digital station means that we can be heard all around the world. So while we don’t have a lot of interaction with our listeners, we like to say that it is always the right time to listen to us, somewhere in the world – and someone usually is! We’re developing some shows based on Ethiojazz that will be produced in Addis Ababa and some more shows developed in Caribbean cities.

© MONOCLE Weekend Edition March 26, 2022

This material remains © MONOCLE and is only to be used for non-commercial personal or research use. Any other use requires permission of the copyright holder.

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