I think the idea that people only come for tempo or texture is one of those "written in stone" axioms that is not true in all cases and at all times. Those axioms have done a lot of damage. It's like the axiom that mood is important and song is not. Downtempo, textured, moodscapes with no melodic substance for the listener to grab onto have been one of the most damaging elements of the BA approach over the years. Maybe, again, it comes from programming for listeners who listen to and come from pop/rock and want to hear instrumental music in that context rather than a more MOR/B-EZ type approach but lappealing to pop/rock listeners is the way to bring new listeners into the format. They want a variety of moods, tempos and textures and the wide open emotional canvas that songs without words can offer them and some vocal songs that are within their comfort zone but sound fresh and relatable rather than old, tired, and fried. And they want infectuous hooks and songs they can grab onto in the process. I know some SJ guys who are "all mood all the time" more than song driven but their backgrounds tend to be B-EZ/MOR. Taking cues from a dead format is not a good idea unless you want to be a dying format.
This is not to say that that axiom does not have a glimmer of truth to it or that it is not entirely situational, although it most likely applies more to listeners who came in from traditional jazz background than CHR/AC/UAC but nothing can be written in stone anymore. These Axioms and assumptions that have been locked into traditional thinking for a long time have to be dismantled, reevaluated, and a "take what you need and leave the rest" approach applied to them according to what approach to the format a person is developing and what audience they are focusing on. If you take all the colors out of the rainbow but one it's not a rainbow anymore.
Shannon...you need to dial down the caffeine a bit and read what I wrote. I expect more from someone who writes about this stuff on a regular basis. I said that every smooth jazz listener has tempo and texture as a common ground to listen to a station or show. It's a starting point for the smooth jazz listening audience. After almost four decades of research, panels, one on one's and any other kind of listener interaction you can name that I've been involved with, that's a given. Not an axiom, just an observation of fourty years of playing this music and it's an observation that just about everyone mentions in their feedback if you ask the question. There's a part of the audience whether you like it or not that just don't know or really care who the sax players are or who sang whatever. Remember that this applies to a very small part of the audience but a part never the less and it moves or grows with how you program your station or show. The problem is it's the part that BA exploited when they decided to go after those P2's and that in turned killed the format because they were betting that the P1's would stick around because there was no place else to go for them. Wrong! It also has very little to do with where the listener came from into the smooth jazz format. Most of it is decided by who puts the mix together and where they came from and what they believe and what they want to showcase. That's the difference between what I do, or what Nock does, what you do on a show, or what you hear on "Chill" with Mindi Abair,or what's on "Quiet Music", or "Groove Boutique", or on and on and on. Some listeners want downtempo music. Others want their sounds uptempo. A portion wants new music. Some want a combination of it all but no matter what the course the host takes, tempo and texture is the entry way to a listeners enjoyment of this music. The same principle is also valid for just about every other music format out there. You're correct in saying that the traditional thinking has to be examined very closely and a lot of things need to be done differently, which is an understatement, but I believe that the tempo and texture thing still holds true for this type of music especially. Just an observation from talking to listeners before there was a format till now. Tempo and texture is the starting point for a very colorful rainbow. How you color in that rainbow defines the rest of the ballgame.