Juice Brighton have knocked out another format. On DAB and the Radioplayer, meet their well-turned out Grandad, Smile Sussex.

Listened In is 2ZY’s weekly air-check blog. Every week we listen to a random twenty minute sample of a station or programme in the news.

Smile Sussex

WHO Automated

WHAT  Smile Sussex

WHEN  Tuesday 23 October

2005 Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye/Shirley Bassey

2009 ID: Smile Sussex. Smile.

You Go To My Head/Michael Bolton

2013 These Foolish Things/Buddy Greco

2016 ID: You’re listening to Smile Sussex. Smile Sussex. Smile (echo)

Sinatra/I Get A Kick out of You

2019 Lucky Charm/John Pizzarelli

2022 ID: Smile Sussex. Smile.

In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening/Dean Martin

2025 The Nearness of You/Sarah Vaughan


This was a classy and unexpected mix of songs. It’s absolutely a tonal station. Strings Sussex would be a more appropriate name. Every song starts with one of those laboured string intros or the kind of plinky piano riffs that calls to mind a smoke-filled jazz club.

The imaging disappointed me a little. When you’re playing songs this beautifully produced (and old), your production should match. The station name doesn’t help. Smile, Sussex, SMILE! sounds like an order, not an invitation to relax. For a new station I was sampling for the first time, I would expect some kind of positioner or a promo for any more meaningful content – assuming there is some.

The WordPress website is clean and crisp and includes some interesting stuff about the music – but virtually nothing to help me navigate my new station.

The music is stunning, if you like that kind of thing. Imagine Don Draper’s iPod on shuffle. I just wonder if it’s enough. The older audience values company and connection. There’s not much of that in evidence.

But good luck, guys with the latest attempt to make the vintage format work. After all, if you can’t make camp, show-tunes and American songbook work on the Sussex coast with its massed hordes of grand-folks and gay couples, you probably can’t make it work anywhere.

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