Sunday, August 13, 2006

More radio news from Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and high above the Earth

Classical music on radio-try it, it just might work!

Four pieces on radio...two classical, two public, one private, one satellite (they overlap)

1) Changes at WQED-FM affirm its classical music commitment (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

More music, less talk--that's the premise of the changes in store for Pittsburgh's classical music station. The station's veteran hosts Jim Cunningham, Anna Singer and Ted Sohier will continue their programming. WQED will pick-up one of the overnight classical music services which many public broadcasting stations run during overnight shifts. The weekend request program will move from Saturday morning to Saturday evening, after Prairie Home Companion.

WQED has always been one of my favorite classical stations. As I'm driving home to my parents, I usually catch an interesting piece, or interview with an important person in the arts which catches my ear. The trend among many all-classical stations has been away from broadcasting concerts. As long as the quality and variety of repertoire continues on WQED, I'm all for this expansion.

2) New owner wants to take WCRB-FM national (Boston Globe).

For months there has been speculation that Nassau Broadcasting (who bought WCRB)would drop classical music. That wasn't the case. In this news item, Nasssau's president and CEO, Louis F. Mercatanti proposes syndicating WCRB's programming and taking it national. He calls classical music a "niche format with wide appeal" with listeners who are "extremely loyal" and have longer periods of TSL (Time Spent Listening) than "fans of rock or talk radio." While I'm all for more classical programming in all markets, the effect of this move could provoke more dual-format public radio stations that carry classical music to drop it altogether, so as not to compete for listeners.

3) Making waves
The people at Chicago Public Radio want to put you on the air. Their radical plan to reinvent radio could fail—or it just might revolutionize broadcast media. (Time Out Chicago)

I think this could be a great experiment as I love what this station has done with This American Life, but I worry about the reality-TV-ization of all media. It does give people an important to "play" radio though, and that could be a good thing. Chicago Public Radio will still serve as a gatekeeper to select audio that is good. Now if only someone would do that for music.

4) Marc Fischer has an article comparing programming on XM and Sirius (Washington Post).

The winners:
CLASSICAL- Sirius (Performance Today and other NPR shows, edgier selections; but XM has Martin Goldsmith, Millennium of Music, and programs from PRI)
BASEBALL- XM (every Major League Baseball game all season long)
NEWS- Sirius (but neither have their own news operations, mostly audio from TV)
PUBLIC RADIO- Sirius (but XM has Bob Edwards)
TALK- The new home of raunch radio (Sirius has Howard Stern and OutQ, the all-gay channel; but XM has Jerry Springer, Al Franken, Bill Bennett, Dr. Laura, etc.) The Post picks XM.


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