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WCRB 99.5FM to go sporting?

In what the local arts groups will see as burying the lede, the Herald's Inside Track nonchalantly reported that WCRB 99.5 would move from its classical music to an all-sports format while reporting a rumor about the Dennis & Callahan lock-out. Full disclosure, I work at a non-profit and buy advertising from WCRB. As such, though, I can tell you that area groups are already fretting over the rumor. After all of the turmoil with WCRB's sale last year, this certainly feels like déjà vu to a lot of us.

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While WCRB is still a co-sponsor of the Wednesday night classical concerts at the Hatch Shell, they seem to be taking a back seat to the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. The series is now called the Landmarks Festival rather than the WCRB Festival.

The station did not have their usual June lunchtime concert series at Copley Square this year, and I don't think they plan to have the September one either.

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WCRB staffers are pushing back hard against the rumor, for whatever that's worth.

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Dennis & Callahan seems awfully dissonant to WCRB. They are kinda political, and right-wing. They are definitely the least "sporty" of the EEI lineup.

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Dan in the Morning?

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I don't think WCRB as it's currently programmed is the best way to reach consumers of the arts. With the demise of Washington, DC's WGMS-FM, WCRB is definitely the worst so-called classical station in a major market in the U.S. The type of person who goes out of his or home especially in a New England winter to take in a play, concert, opera or museum exhibit (someone like me) has no use for the namby-pamby training wheels "classical favorites" incessantly repeated (sometime twice in one day). I think some of the arts organizations to which you refer actually get it, because they advertise quite often on WBZ-AM, at rates that may be on the high side but for spots that are actually heard by their intended listenership.

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I mean seriously, they play "Skaters Waltz" at least once a day on that station. Why?!

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[VARiable expression] @ http://www.mvarmazis.com

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I thought 106.7 was the station played in dentist's offices?

And yeah, how is it that Boston doesn't have a 24/7 actual classical station? We certainly have a large number of professional and semi-professional classical performing groups here, so you'd think there'd be a demand for classical radio.

http://1smootshort.blogspot.com

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89.7 is the only other station I can think of that comes close, though they're kind of an NPR/classical mix.

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[VARiable expression] @ http://www.mvarmazis.com

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and they are technically a commercial station, but they don't run many ads. WHRB website

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Its also the highest rated classical station in the country. Granted it may be a "crossover" style presentation of classical music, but there is clearly an audience for it. I'd suggest that the type of person who wants more from their classical music experience is also the kind of savvy arts consumer who can be reached in a lot of different ways. Ultimately, though, the arts needs to branch past that group and into the kind of people who may be initially casual listeners of classical music but who can ultimately be nurtured into a more savvy audience member such as yourself.

The audience will never be filled with only connoisseurs. Not even because Boston lacks for them, because it really doesn't. But Boston does have an abundance of high-quality arts events for consumers to consider. Even the savvy can't make them all, so you need to also reach out to people developing an appreciation for fine arts and performing arts as well. Its a balance all arts groups have to strive for, and that ultimately means promotion in venues that may cater to one or the other side of that balance.

I don't disagree with the complaints about WCRB's programing and I love that Boston has so many people who want more from their classical music listening experience. All the same, believe me the even someone who likes the WCRB product is still a very good prospect for arts attendance. Just a different kind of prospect than you may be.

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WCRB is really the highest-rated classical station in the country? Is this by, like, people who've spent a lot of time listening to classical in other cities, or does it just mean it gets the most play or something? Because, sure, I turn it on since it's better than nothing, but I can't say I'm loving the overabundance of Haydzart divertinades.

The board members and musical director of one of the classical groups with which I perform blatently state that we have to include one Classical Top 40 selection in each concert "because we need the ticket sales from the blue-hair crowd." And it's true. Most of our audience are people who enjoy coming for their own reasons even if they know little about music.

http://1smootshort.blogspot.com

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I assume this refers literally to radio ratings -- that is, numbers of listeners.
If so, it surprises me, given the much higher population of other cities with classical stations (NYC, Chicago, LA).

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There may be less choices for classical music lovers in this market, thus a higher concentration of listeners to 'CRB. Also, it may not be raw numbers being referred to, but market share - the percentage of available listeners tuned to the station at a specific time.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Well, this is odd. WCRB has now been partly sold to WEEI making it the suggestion that it would snag WEEI's talent a moot point. And the regional sports network WCRB's owners were rumored to be wanting to create has now been created but with WEEI as the centerpiece instead of a sports-format WCRB. Which leaves Dennis and Callahan pretty well screwed and arts groups breathing a sigh of relief again over 'CRB's fate.

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A friend in New York claims that there are rumors afoot there that WQXR-FM, one of the nation's oldest and best-known classical-music stations, will be sold (perhaps to Citadel?) within days and that it's format would be switched to country-music (of all things!) around Labor Day.

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