Monday, January 01, 2007

Washington Post: The Future For Listeners Is Satellite Radio

Radio Interest Fades, but Crescendo Builds Online
By Tim Page, The Washington Post, December 31, 2006; N02

It's been a wild and frustrating time for those who like to listen to classical music on the radio in Washington. WETA (90.9 FM) dropped its classical programming in early 2005, and the field was left to the more commercial WGMS (104.1 FM). And then came the announcement earlier this month that Redskins owner Dan Snyder had entered into a preliminary agreement to buy WGMS and turn it into a sports-talk outlet. This move would have meant that there would be no classical radio at all in the nation's capital. Meanwhile, NPR sold its worthy classical program "Performance Today" to American Public Media in St. Paul, Minn.
As the year ends, there is a glimmer of hope, however. WETA is seriously considering abandoning its news and talk programming and returning to form if WGMS leaves the field. As a monopoly classical station in the area, its programming could become more venturesome than the general diet of the ultra-popular "Top 40" list of warhorses and baroque concertos that both WGMS and WETA tended to serve up.
Still, the fact of the matter is that smart classical radio programming has been dying around the country for the better part of two decades. New York once had three classical radio stations; only WQXR-FM is left. Quality stations such as WFMT in Chicago, WGUC in Cincinnati, and KUSC in Los Angeles are famous nationwide at least in part because of their extreme rarity.

All of which makes it increasingly clear that the future for listeners lies online and on satellite networks. XM and Sirius, the two pay satellite radio providers, have each won substantial audiences for their classical channels. Each service provides channels for general classical music, choral and opera, and pops....read more: here

1/01/2007 09:59:00 PM

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