Monday, June 25, 2007

A Message From The National Coalition To Prevent Classical Music Abuse: 1000 Classical American CDs Found Gagged And Buried In N. Virginia Farmland

... "Still, the classical audience is an old one. Two-thirds of WETA listeners are 55 and older, according to ratings ...

[Classical WETA Lite's Vice President Dan] DeVany says he's not worried about the older audience, which would cause panic at commercial stations. The jump in listener donations -- from 3,000 during the last pledge drive under the news-talk format to 6,150 pledges during the first classical fundraiser -- more than makes up for concern about aging listeners.

Although DeVany says his plan is "to stay the course," he also promises that WETA will become a more locally oriented station, adding broadcasts of area concerts this fall. The station also is considering picking up some of public radio's excellent nationally distributed classical programming, though any such changes are likely to be limited....

Most other public stations that play classical are sticking with the format WETA used for many years before its 2005 switch to news: Those stations use classical music as a bridge between National Public Radio's cash cows, "Morning Edition" -- the nation's most popular morning show since Howard Stern's move to Sirius satellite radio -- and its afternoon drive-time progenitor, "All Things Considered." Stations that mix those shows with classical often choose musical pieces that, according to research, are least offensive to listener-donors whose first allegiance is to public radio's news coverage.

That approach tends to appall serious fans of the music. "That's really a horrible way to look at your programming," says Paul Bachmann, senior program director for classical music at XM satellite radio and a former programming manager at WGMS and several public stations. Bachmann believes public radio's mandate is to fill a niche, not to maximize audience.

Bachmann suggests that WETA take the classical niche seriously and live up to the traditional public radio mission by providing programming that commercial radio can't or won't offer. "Be the arts center of Washington," he urges. "Washington is a vibrant arts community, second only to New York on the East Coast, and WETA should be its cultural home."

DeVany agrees WETA should emphasize its role as a center of culture in the region, promoting local concerts and performing groups." ...

Washington Post Writer "A Classical Gas, for Now" Washington Post June 24, 2007

Ruins of Stone Bridge, Bull Run, Virginia, March 1862. Photographed by George N. Barnard and James F. Gibson.

Photo source: U.S. National Archives via


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