Classical Webcasters Who Have Ceased Operation – The dearth of classical programming on FM and the availability of online webcasters (as well as satellite radio) has changed the face of classical music on the air. Nevertheless, the new more expensive royalty regulations for webcasters have often been the cause of a number of online stations ceasing operation. According to one of them it was “due to exorbitant copyright royalties.” Here is a list of webcasters who are no more:
WTMI, CT; CJRT, Toronto; MPR, MN; KDB, Santa Barbara; KRTS, Houston; KVOD, Denver; KXTR, Kansas City, MO; MTM, Montreal; WBOQ, North Beverly, MA; WCRB, Boston; WFMR, Milkaukee; WGMS, Washington D.C.; WNIB, Chicago; WQXR, NYC; WUNC, Chapel Hill, NC; WYUR, Dearborn, MI
Changing Classical Broadcasting Picture – In 1992 there were 48 commercial classical stations in the U.S. By 2002 it had been reduced to 34 and today there are 19. Decades ago many major cities had classical commercial stations, but that’s rapidly changing due to the FCC allowance of consolidation among broadcasters and a drive for bigger profits, which are gained more easily with a rock format. New ownership of many stations meant going after a bigger and younger audience than classical programming delivers. Many leading public radio stations have turned away from the classical format as well, to embrace news and talk, which brings bigger audiences, more donations and attracts more corporate underwriters. Even New York City’s public FM station WNYC converted its entire daytime schedule to news and talk and thus enlarged their daytime audience by 38%.
Now a new trend is being seen. Due partly to the prices for stations plunging recently, some public radio stations have been able to purchase struggling commercial classical outlets. This happened with WGBH in Boston buying commercial WCRB and now WNYC has bought longtime New York Times commercial classical station WQXR. Often such changes involve new frequencies for the stations. Although WQXR had to move to a frequency with poorer coverage, it has thrived under the new ownership. Washington, D.C. News and classical public radio station WETA dropped classical music back in 2005, but when local commercial classical station WGMS dropped the format, WETA switched to all-classical and their fund-raising has grown considerably. KDFC in San Francisco – which was commercial, the only classical station in that city and once the most-listened-to of all stations (including rock and news outlets) there – was just purchased by the University of Southern California (who run public classical station KUSC there). It moves up to the non-commercial frequencies at the beginning of the FM dial (broadcasting on two frequencies) while their old 102.1 FM spot becomes a San Jose rock outlet. One of the leading remaining commercial classical outlets – KING-FM in Seattle – is currently converting all by itself from an advertising-supported commercial station to listener support. Classical audiences have an average age of 63 – which is not at all at good demographic for most advertisers. But for a public broadcaster, it is a great demographic for membership – a passionate group with disposable income and a disposition to contribute.
Eight Track Museum Opens – From Edison’s wax cylinders to Steve Jobs’ iPod – all the consumer recording formats that ever existed are being represented in a permanent museum setting in Dallas, Texas. The Eight Track Museum’s inaugural exhibit is titled “Conceived in Cars,” and the main display is of 2000 8-track tapes assembled by museum founder Bucks Burnett But other formats are included: such as 4-track tape, reel-to-reel, cassettes, and all the quadraphonic formats. Their motto is: “No Track Left Behind.”