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  »  New  Analog FM on a PCI cards?..  We probably already covered this...  Off Air Audio Forum     1  15136  12-18-2008
  »  New  Another Boston Radio Station Sold...WCRB..  More on the deal...  Off Air Audio Forum     2  16572  09-22-2009
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11-26-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 12356
Reply to: 12356
The new FM Classical scene in Boston
fiogf49gjkf0d

Well, that sucks here in Boston. WHRB is still in business but if you do not call them and explain to them that they are playing records backward they would not acknowledge it. The WCRB is gone, that is good but the WHRB move to the WCRB frequency slot. That sucks – the higher frequency is worse sound. The transmutation antenna for new WHRB classical is locater very far from Boston, the power of the transmitter is much lower. Initially the WHRB engineers promised that they will fine way to deal with the problem of Boston coverage but today WHRB begin to make announcements “not all of you will receive out new WHRB but there are other way to listen radio – the internet”. Thank what a fucking revelation!

The program of the new WHRB also does not make me too exiting.

Monday-Friday
5am-9am: Classical music with Laura Carlo  includes leading stories and weather from the WGBH newsroom
9am-2pm: Classical music with Cathy Fuller includes 1pm-2pm In Performance (daily spotlight on WGBH live recordings)
2pm-6pm: Classical music with Ray Brown includes leading stories and weather from the WGBH newsroom
6pm-5am: Classical music Thursday, 7pm-8pm: Performances from WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio

Saturday
7am-11am: Classical music with Brian McCreath  includes Kid’s Classical Hour, 9am-10am
11am-noon: From the Top (featuring the nation’s best young classical musicians)
Noon-8pm: Classical music
8pm-11pm: BSO Live
11pm-7am: Classical music

Sunday
7am-11am: Classical music with Brian McCreath
11am-2pm: Sunday Baroque with Suzanne Bona (shown, left)
2pm-5pm: The BSO on Record and Sunday Concerts, including Tanglewood
5pm-6pm: From the Top
6pm-8pm: Classical music
8pm-9pm: The Bach Hour, produced and hosted by Brian McCreath
9pm-5am: Classical music

The dally 1pm-2pm In Performance live-tape broadcast are good. The Thursday’s Fraser Performance Studio live even are good, I hope it will not overlap with Amsterdam Radio broadcasts by WHRB. However the Friday and Sunday’s evening BSO broadcasts are gone – very sad. Also, it looks like Brain Bell did not get an extended programming at WHRB – I was hopping as his material was always very good. Anyhow, the classical FM scene in Boston is changing and is look like to worse…

The Pissed Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-26-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 12362
Reply to: 12356
’GBH takeover of ’CRB alters more than letters
fiogf49gjkf0d
Classical station has new business model: support of donors

Boston is following a trend in radio that’s taking place in other cities across the nation: Its only 24-hour classical music station now depends on listeners - not advertisers - to keep it afloat.

Last week’s Federal Communications Commission approval of WGBH’s $14 million purchase of WCRB-FM (99.5) means the classical musical station is now a public broadcaster, with a business model that draws revenue from donations and corporate sponsorship instead of relying on advertising.

Because classical music fans tend to be older, and advertisers typically want to court a younger crowd, WGBH sees listener support as a better way to ensure that the 60-year-old classical music station is financially healthy enough to continue to play Chopin and Mozart.

“This allows us to really build a more vital and robust classical music service for Boston,’’ said Jon Abbott, president and CEO of WGBH.

Nassau Broadcasting Partners LP, which had owned WCRB since 2006, decided to sell WCRB to help pay down debt from the chain’s overall operation, which includes 51 radio stations along the East Coast, said Tristram Collins, Nassau’s senior executive vice president. Collins would not name WCRB’s other bidders, who numbered fewer than 10, but said that WCRB was profitable.

“It’s a very loyal listener base,’’ said Collins, adding that the classical music demographic attracts high-end corporate sponsors, such as luxury car makers and financial services. “I think ’CRB is synonymous with the Boston arts community. It’s in good hands with WGBH.’’

WGBH officials said the sale will enable them to keep 99.5-FM classical full time, while converting WGBH-FM (89.7), which has a mix of news, classical, jazz, and blues shows, to an all-news talk format. WGBH plans to implement several changes on Dec. 1, including shifting some of its classical programming to WCRB and moving the staff and play lists of WCRB from Waltham to Brighton, where WGBH is based. Eventually, the folk and blues programming will be dropped.

Among other benefits, WGBH said, consolidating operations to Brighton will allow the public station to maximize use of its Fraser Performance Studio, where classical artists can perform live broadcasts on WCRB. The classical station currently has 15 employees in Waltham; WGBH officials have not determined which jobs will be preserved in the shift to Brighton.

WGBH’s shifting of its classical music programming to WCRB raises the question of how some listeners will be able to hear the shows they regularly listen to on WGBH: WCRB is a 27,000-watt station whose signal does not reach as far as WGBH’s powerful 100,000 watt-station. WGBH spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins said the station will review whether it can boost WCRB’s signal, but listeners can tune in to WCRB online when the new programming is launched.

The move of WGBH’s classical programming to WCRB also will result in a net loss of classical music options in the Boston area. There is only one other station in the Boston area with classical programming: In Cambridge, WHRB (93.5-FM) plays a mix of classical, jazz, blues, and sports and is run by Harvard Radio Broadcasting, a nonprofit group run by Harvard College student volunteers.

Companies in cities such as New York and Washington, D.C., recently have sold classical music stations to public broadcasters because it’s difficult to run those stations as commercial entities that depend on advertising dollars, since marketers typically target younger listeners. But classical music’s older audience is a plus for listener-supported public radio stations: It provides more revenue streams, from donor memberships to sponsorships from companies looking to attract older, more wealthy customers.

“As that [classical music] format has disappeared from the commercial landscape, people more and more have turned to and depended on public radio stations to remain as home and stewards of that format,’’ said Marc Hand, managing director of Public Radio Capital, a Colorado-based nonprofit agency that helps public radio stations in acquisitions and represented WGBH in its purchase of WCRB.

Scott Fybush, who writes a radio industry newsletter called Northeast Radio Watch, said WGBH’s purchase makes good business sense because WGBH has an opportunity to tap an affluent, loyal following. WCRB averages about 340,000 listeners a week, and its audience is mostly between 35 and 64 years old, according to the station.




"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-30-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
scooter
Posts 161
Joined on 07-17-2008

Post #: 3
Post ID: 12379
Reply to: 12362
The old WCRB just signed off forever. . .
fiogf49gjkf0d
The old WCRB just signed off forever. . . let's see if the content moves forward in any meaningful way. Still a net loss to the region and the rare occasion in the US that a for-proft business was moved to a not-for profit model. Business model is broken. No sound being transmitted now.
12-01-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 12382
Reply to: 12379
The new FM 99.5 is up.
fiogf49gjkf0d

 scooter wrote:
The old WCRB just signed off forever. . . let's see if the content moves forward in any meaningful way. Still a net loss to the region and the rare occasion in the US that a for-proft business was moved to a not-for profit model. Business model is broken. No sound being transmitted now.

Yes, I thought that they would put up an interesting program in the end but it was very disappointment – the 340556343th time play of the Four Seasons and Beethoven VI… annoying!

The new 99.5 is up. They have a new site:

http://www.wgbh.org/995/

I will try tonight to see how the FM Sounds. The sound from internet is very bad so far. The Window and Real feed looks like do not work. The MP3 feed is up but sound is just horrible. I guess they need a few days to set the systems up.  BTW, now they are broadcasting on all-classical station the NPR news… :-(  I like the NPR news, but if I want them then I do not need the all-classical station and I would go to 90.9FM.

The Friday BSO Broadcasts is looks like did not disappear. That is very good sign. A day after tomorrow they have a life broadcast from Frazer studio with … The Four Seasons. That would be a good test for the quality the new 99.5 will offer. How is reception in your area? Where do you live? Do you have a directional antenna?

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-02-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
scooter
Posts 161
Joined on 07-17-2008

Post #: 5
Post ID: 12395
Reply to: 12382
New WCRB reception from West Suburbs. . .
fiogf49gjkf0d
Hi Romy,

I live close to the old WCRB Waltham Studios, although I am on a hill facing north-east. Unlike neighbors from Newton and Wellesley (and in my car) I actually have had good (9/10) reception from WCRB's Lowell transmission tower (did not listen much however given the quality of the programming and sonics).

I have a small directional Winegard antenna connected to a Sansui TU-717 that Ken Bernanke recently aligned. The secret obviously is the hill with the antenna correctly aimed, although the properly aligned Sansui sounds correct.

Today (6:00pm) - WCRB's broadcast quality was terrible. Lots of static, artificial compression, no bottom end. . .

Tonight (1:45am) -Just turned on the radio. Less static, although more than I remember hearing over the past year from WCRB. Overall transmission is not optimal but sound quality is better than WCRB has had for years and better than it was this afternoon. Definite step in the right direction.

Still not the old WGBH : (
12-02-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 12397
Reply to: 12395
Let see where the 99.5 will go.
fiogf49gjkf0d

Get an RF attenuator, I found it is a key with Sansuis.

Yes, the quality of the new WCRB was today all over the board: from very good to intolerable. I guess they are experimenting with the systems setup. Let see where they will lend. The programming is another interesting element. Let see how they fill the 24 demand. I am bit afraid that it might be a bit too popular music. The folks at the North-Eastern Radio BBS tell that their program is not set yet, So, let see how it would go.

Still, even yesterday there were some programs that were very nice. The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Mariss Jansons, live recording European Broadcasting Union was very good performance – bad in quality though…

I called yesterday and offered to them my volunteer IT service with their web site for 10 hours per week.  I would like the play list to be completely redone, to have multiple search criteria, to be interactive, to in a diferent format, to be able to go ahead of time and a few other things. I would like to see at this site a comprehensive list of local classical events…. I would like them to have new Smart newsletters....

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-03-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 12411
Reply to: 12397
The 99.5 All-Classical after lunch excitement.
fiogf49gjkf0d
The new 99.5 has their “In Performance” programs. It starts each weekday at 1PM and featured the GBH or borrowed live recordings. Very cool program with excellent live music!!! I think the 99.5 shall have this hour repeated at let say 10MP… BTW, the folks outside of East MA can get in over web; it has just ~45 second delay. It does an excellent siesta in office.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-04-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 12417
Reply to: 12356
The 99.5FM - the unexpectedly positive result
fiogf49gjkf0d
I have to say, that I genially like the new 99.5. I do not have as perfect reception as I had with 97.9 with absolutely clear, no noise background. Still, thankfully the compression of the new 99.5 is very low and last night and today live broadcasts are very good. Yep, we now have the Saturday broadcasts in good sound!!!

I am working now to get a completely back, no noise background of my 99.5 reception. I do not have it now. I still need to attenuate the signal and I wonder what this MF his is coming from. Perhaps I need to get narrower directional antenna or to defeat some stations with filters?
 
The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-05-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 9
Post ID: 12422
Reply to: 12417
How to get the 99.5FM with no noise?
fiogf49gjkf0d

 Romy the Cat wrote:
I have to say, that I genially like the new 99.5. I do not have as perfect reception as I had with 97.9 with absolutely clear, no noise background. Still, thankfully the compression of the new 99.5 is very low and last night and today live broadcasts are very good. Yep, we now have the Saturday broadcasts in good sound!!!

I am working now to get a completely back, no noise background of my 99.5 reception. I do not have it now. I still need to attenuate the signal and I wonder what this MF his is coming from. Perhaps I need to get narrower directional antenna or to defeat some stations with filters?
 

Actually the sound quality from new 99.5FM and the quality of material so far they play did convince me that my ability to get 99.5FM with no noise would be my primary audio objective. The 99.5FM is far and even I have my directional antenna on my roof and the 99.5’s antenna is 246m elevated I do not have a direct line of sight:

http://www.fcc.gov/fcc-bin/fmq?list=0&facid=23441

Pointing my antenna directly to new WCRB I do not have clear signal after all my maneuvering for filter and attenuators. I get better result to get the signal on side, perhaps peaking some reflections and after proper attenuation and proper notching of the side-band I get better result but not as noise-free as I would like to.  So, I wondering what else can I do…

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-09-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 10
Post ID: 12448
Reply to: 12422
It is official: you can envy to Bostonians.
fiogf49gjkf0d

Well, it is hard to express my excitement about what the new FM99.5 All-Classical is turning into. It looks like the programming is settling down and my concerns about to become too popular turn out to be wrong.   The programs are very good, the horst are not the CNN-type morons as they use to be at WCRB.

The new 99.5 still run some advertisement despite that they promise that it will be commercials-free. It does not bother me too much, in fact I kind of like the business that advertises in there and I do not mind to patronize them. Ironically, I do listen sometime the FM96.9 in my car and I very much consciousness that I under any circumstances will not approach any business that ever mentions in there. The very good part on the FM99.5 All-Classical is that they do not truncate or slice the musical pieces to inject commentary or adds. If they broadcast 5 movements symphony or 4 movements quarter then it will be all 5 movements without any interruption – the way how it shall be.

Reception: that sucks. I still do not have good reception from my location and I am fighting with it. I have order some external filters and will see what I can do with them.  I do have strong signal but I do have in the side-bad some noise in wide stereo. Not a lot but something that I would like do not have. I would like to experiment with lowering the IF bandwidth and to see how it go but my experimental DX tuner that can go to 150K window (Yamaha T85) not with me nowadays.  Probably I would try it coming days but I a fit concern that Sansui narrow band does not help.

The sound quality of the station is very-very-very good, way better then what WGBH use to be in their best moments.  Compression lo and I have ordinary 55dB of dymick range, it is a far cry from 15db of the former WCRB. What can I say, for the last week and a half I did not play nether CD or LP but just ran my tuner.  In fact I did not record too much ether. If we have the quality of programs and sound as we do now from FM99.5 All-Classical then who have time and need to listen recordings?

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-09-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
scooter
Posts 161
Joined on 07-17-2008

Post #: 11
Post ID: 12449
Reply to: 12448
Enjoying 99.5
fiogf49gjkf0d

I have to say that I am enjoying the new 99.5. The playlist is not yet ideal from my perspective, but they have been optimizing the format and I think it is still improving (considerably). I would like fewer interruptions per hour but frankly the music is vastly improved.

I sleep to this station and appreciate that the evening playlist is appropriate for evening listening.

For me the sound quality is quite good, and improving, although it still varies; that of course may be partially source dependent, weather dependent, electricity dependent,  engineer tweaking at the station, etc. 

I will say that it is abundantly obvious that the engineers are working their asses off to get good sound quality, and are doing a great job. This is evidence that there are still some good engineers around.

Apart from that, I notice significantly less static than I did last week.

12-11-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 12
Post ID: 12469
Reply to: 12356
Another shoe has dropped. What is next?
fiogf49gjkf0d

Very sad news indeed. Read the article and perhaps the comment o the article….

http://classical-scene.com/2009/12/10/wgbh-to-discontinue-bso-friday-afternoon-broadcasts/

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-11-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
jp
Posts 39
Joined on 02-25-2006

Post #: 13
Post ID: 12471
Reply to: 12469
Dominos are starting to fall
fiogf49gjkf0d
Unfortunately, it looks like broadcasts of FM Classical music are going the way of dinosaurs, at least in terms of quality programming, and its listeners are becoming marginalized. 
12-11-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,130
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 14
Post ID: 12472
Reply to: 12471
The End
fiogf49gjkf0d

Still, you Boston people have no idea what it's like to have literally nothing, ever, apart from the odd bit included by happenstance on the 1 ridiculous station that's available.  The 1 station I get here has NO IDEA WHATSOEVER they are playing.  They speak of everything on +/- equal terms, giving history and anecdotes as though one tune is as important as the next, according to what is written.  Ironically, if my Spanish is no worse than I think it is (station boadcasts from Mexico!), they really believe they are holding down the Cultural Fort!  And maybe they ARE!!!

But this end-of-the-classical-FM-world thing has been progressing inexorably for many years.  There's been nothing worth mentioning wherever I've happened to live for most of my life, now.

Meanwhile, I've listened to all my records worth listening to so many times that I am hard to surprise anymore.

I think one reason for hi-fi is just to be able to keep mining the same material!

My next gambit will be to force myself to listen to "new" music until I get it, just to add to my material base.

No New Program?

Screw hi-fi!

Paul S

12-12-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
drdna
San Francisco, California
Posts 488
Joined on 10-29-2005

Post #: 15
Post ID: 12474
Reply to: 12469
Apathy of listeners
fiogf49gjkf0d
Too bad it will not be heard in Southbridge anymore, as I won't be able to get my relatives to make tapes for me.

It strikes me that while listeners might well complain, none stepped forward to contribute money to the station. Contribute enough and they will name a wing of a hospital after you. If a radio station wants to stay in business in this age of streaming content, it has to go where the money is. 

Does this mean our society is no longer interested in classical music?
12-13-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 16
Post ID: 12476
Reply to: 12474
I think it says nothing about society or apathy.
fiogf49gjkf0d

 drdna wrote:
Does this mean our society is no longer interested in classical music?

I do not think it says anything about society or apathy. The termination of live Friday broadcasts was not an objective natural event but a voluntary decision of a single NPR upper/mid echelon executive who just “do not give a damn”. If it is emblematic about anything then it emblematic not about classical music or about public interests in live broadcasts but about the stupidity and detachment of some corporate executive. Read my late comments in the Intelligencer to get my view on this subject. Let see what the Intelligencer will discover in a few days.

http://classical-scene.com/2009/12/10/wgbh-to-discontinue-bso-friday-afternoon-broadcasts/

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-17-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 17
Post ID: 12500
Reply to: 12356
The unspeakably beautiful!
fiogf49gjkf0d

What the great thing the new WGBH 99.5FM All-Classical turned into! The new station is become my truly live supply. I have managed with acrobatics of my tuners, filters and antennas to get a more or less acceptable reception. The sound quality is beyond my expectation, juts  truly beyond any criticism. The programming of the station is so wonderful that is hard to believe! I just wish it would last infinitely. Sure, I am not pleased what we lost Friday LIVE evens but this is whole separate story….

Meanwhile with the new 99.5FM in town for 24 hours I pretty much stopped to use my CD and LPs. I have no interests to talk or to think about the new or old realizes as whatever I am getting from my FM is very nicely serves my interests so far. I even have no motivation to record selected FM events as why do I need it: a next time, as soon I turn the radio on it will be NEW program with NEW interesting material.  You say the golden age of FM is over – you wish! Stop by in Boston and hear how the TRULY high-end shall be.

I just spent a good hour of listening the Janine Jansen playing Benjamin Britten’s violin concerto with London and Paavo Jarvi. I have this Decca CD and I know it very well. The FM sound is MUCH better! Where does this quality comes from? I have no idea!

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-18-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 18
Post ID: 12503
Reply to: 12500
A new WCRB, and a shrinking classical dial
fiogf49gjkf0d

In a city passionate about classical music, a lot of listeners get their fill by catching the Boston Symphony Orchestra and other programming on the radio.

But despite the upbeat promotional spots you may be hearing, the classical radio audience is getting less of what it wants, and deserves, now that WGBH has eliminated classical music on 89.7 and shipped most of its programming up the dial to WCRB-FM (99.5).

WGBH purchased WCRB this fall, and there is now significantly less classical music on the airwaves than before the sale. It’s also audible in a smaller listening range. So ironically, one group that has lost big in this saving of a classical music station is the classical listening audience itself.

Let’s be clear: it could have been much worse. WGBH’s $14 million purchase of WCRB was surely the best of the various realistic outcomes for the all-classical-music, all-the-time WCRB, whose parent company had put it up for sale. For Boston to lose its only 24-hour classical music station would have been a major blow to a region that prides itself on the richness of its musical offerings.

But while WGBH, by purchasing WCRB, has admirably preserved a full-time classical presence on the radio dial, it has also removed all of its classical programming from WGBH-FM 89.7. Most baffling, the cuts will include the Friday BSO broadcast from Symphony Hall, which has been a hallmark at WGBH for almost six decades. The Saturday night WCRB broadcasts will be preserved.

In a recent phone interview, John Voci, general manager of WGBH, discussed the decision to end the Friday afternoon BSO broadcasts. Taken alongside the Saturday night broadcast, Voci said these would have been “duplicative performances’’ - the same program of music potentially broadcast twice in two days - and explained that WCRB would instead be channeling its resources to broadcasting distinct programs at Tanglewood (all three per summer weekend) and the Boston Pops during its season (including broadcasts tomorrow and Dec. 24).

WGBH is presenting this as an expansion of its commitment to the BSO, which it technically is because the old WCRB used to produce much of this coverage. But again this amounts to a net loss for listeners compared to the situation before the sale.

It’s also hard to shake a nagging sense of doubt about whether the Friday cutback was really necessary. The Friday broadcasts have been a cherished aspect of local musical life since their inception in 1951. They also allowed the BSO to maintain a significant on-air presence for its Symphony Hall subscription season, a presence that will now be sliced in half.

In the old schedule, the Friday and Saturday time slots surely appealed to different listening audiences. Going forward, they might have been packaged differently to minimize what some might see as repetition. The decision would be easier to fathom if the BSO had been saddling the station with fees, or if WCRB were excitedly rolling out new innovative programming in the same time slot. But the orchestra does not charge for broadcasting its performances, and there is nothing new being offered on Friday afternoons.

It seems, in short, a pointless loss, and one that risks squandering good will among a devoted and passionate subset of the classical radio audience, whose support the new WCRB will be depending on as it transitions from commercial to public radio.

Overshadowing the larger transition has also been the critical issue of signal strength. WCRB-FM 99.5 has a much weaker signal than WGBH-FM 89.7 does, meaning that some listeners, especially those residing in southern and western parts of Greater Boston as well as in some neighborhoods of the city itself, may find they simply can’t tune in to the new classical music service. That means they are now effectively without any full-time classical radio. The Harvard-run WHRB-FM (95.3) is an essential alternative, with wonderfully adventurous classical programming, but classical is only part of that station’s vigorous multi-genre mix.

WGBH’s suggestions that those who cannot tune in 99.5 consider HD radios or listening online, seem unlikely to satisfy the disenfranchised listeners. In the recent phone interview, Voci added that “we are certainly prepared to look at options to improve coverage, possibly extending to the purchasing of another station.’’

For those who can tune it in, how is the new WCRB sounding? A lot like the old WCRB, with some definite tweaking. Historically, WGBH has had a vision of more curated programming of a wider repertory, while WCRB tended to a smaller playlist of audience favorites, or sometimes individual movements from them, often with the stated goal of listener relaxation. Classical music aficionados frequently dismissed the old WCRB as a purveyor of light background music, though, even with its weaker signal, it commanded a listenership about three times the size of WGBH’s.

These days, it seems that the current team is trying to split the difference, or in other words, stake out a middle ground between two widely divergent visions of classical radio. The “Blue Danube’’ Waltz and other light classics are still in ready circulation but playlists are also being nudged wider with, for example, some rarities by Franz Liszt or an interesting Shostakovich recording slipped into the mix.

There is also welcome inclusion of some local performances taped either in WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio, or in the area’s various concert halls. It was a pleasant jolt to hear cellist Matt Haimovitz and violinist Andy Simionescu tearing through some arrangements of Bartok duos the other day (in a Fraser recording), or to have a second listen to portions of Gil Shaham’s Jordan Hall Celebrity Series recital from last year.

Taking a step back, crises and opportunities sometimes go hand in hand. This could be a chance for WCRB to set aside old scripts and to envision what an exciting 21st-century classical radio service might look like, with innovative programs that could meet the demands of the existing audience while also helping the station to broaden its reach.

The Web could play a much larger role in these efforts. When the New York public radio station WNYC purchased the all-classical WQXR this year, it also launched a 24-hour online stream called Q2 as a home for more edgy programming, essentially allowing WQXR to program for two different constituencies at once. According to WCRB’s director of programming Jon Solins, the station will consider launching a similar stream.

Solins and others overseeing WGBH’s new classical effort emphasize that it will evolve. Let’s hope that, having laid out the funds to buy the station, WGBH is also prepared to provide a budget sufficient not only for sustaining the old WCRB approach but for reinventing it creatively over time. In the short term, strengthening the signal must be a major priority, so that more of the city’s classical music fans can tune in and judge for themselves.

Ref: http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2009/12/18/a_new_wcrb_and_a_shrinking_classical_dial/

Posted as my reply to the article:

First of all in the Jeremy Eichler’ article has a few of factual errors. Furthermore, I recognize his writing as a weak article as the very main question of the current events was not answered– who was PERSONALLY responsible for the decision to discontinue the Friday broadcasts. Mr. Eichler did not do his research and it was the ONLY thing I was expected from a journalist who care about this subject, not a typist who juts is filing the newspaper space with generalities observable from  own window.

Was is John Voci’s personal decision or he just protecst the decision of his corporate NPR’s bosses? Was it BSO insisting? Was it a problem created by musician union? Was additional cost a consideration, what is the cost? What is the Mr.Levine position on the subject, if he even has any position on the subject? Where is my journalist who is willing to investigate the subject instead of reporting the self-evident and superficial observations?

The new 99.6 is NPR station and it runs partially on donations solicited from public. All the public need to do at this point is to find that corporate person who was PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for the decision to terminate of Live BSO Friday broadcasts, recognize and weigh the rationale behind this decision and if the rationale was weak (and many sources suggest the it was VERY weak) then to demand the firing of this foolish person  and then to reinstate our LIVE broadcasts. 

We, the public, need to put a fight for this and do not let the corporate indifference to destroy one of the few remaining cultural islands of Boston live. It looks this Boston Globe writer is too frail to lead and is too boring to inspire… A commentary vs. Journalism? A drifting with flow vs. having own identity and to act upon it? To demand what is ours vs. giving up the most valuable possession for nothing? Worse, giving it up for the corporate stupidity and management apathy. Your choice, the public…

Romy the Cat.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
12-24-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
scades
Posts 4
Joined on 12-24-2009

Post #: 19
Post ID: 12534
Reply to: 12503
WGBH isn't NPR
fiogf49gjkf0d
I got here via a link from Google alerts. (I've set up "WCRB" as an alert. "Why" is a long story--via the Maine WBACH network and its "top hits" format). I know you know that WGBH isn't NPR. It's WGBH, and not NPR, that changed its format, and it's WGBH, not NPR, that's programming WCRB/99.5 But it's an important distinction for a casual follower of the WCRB transition.--scades
12-24-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,495
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 20
Post ID: 12535
Reply to: 12534
WGBH is a member station of NPR and PRI.
fiogf49gjkf0d

 scades wrote:
I got here via a link from Google alerts. (I've set up "WCRB" as an alert. "Why" is a long story--via the Maine WBACH network and its "top hits" format). I know you know that WGBH isn't NPR. It's WGBH, and not NPR, that changed its format, and it's WGBH, not NPR, that's programming WCRB/99.5 But it's an important distinction for a casual follower of the WCRB transition.
Scads,

It is not truly important if WGBH is under the NPR umbrella of not. However I do not think you are correct. WGBH (as well as WBUR) are Boston's NPR Station – they announce it all time and WGBH is PBS station. I do not even know how to argue it – I think it is too self-evident – you might go to WGBH, PBS or NPR sites and confirm it. I do not know exactly how they share recourses and financing. I know they share human recourses, programs and material. If you know something that I am missing then please educate me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WGBH_(FM)

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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