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WHOA: WGBH buys WCRB

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Comments

Haven't we been reading breathy stories in the Globe about the
dire financial circumstances at 'GBH? Staff givebacks and
urgent pleas for donations?

And now they're BUYING another radio station?

Celtic Women me no more...if you can afford to buy another
station, you don't need my donation. And you don't need to
be shoving wage reductions down your employee's throats.

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Given that WCRB itself has been on the verge of closure for years, I seriously doubt WGBH paid top-shelf prices for the station. Add in the region's classical music culture and the general goodwill and prestige GBH will receive for saving a local cultural institution, it sounds like a pretty smart purchase to me.

And in my experience, people who breathlessly proclaim "I'll never support public radio again!" 99.9999% of the time aren't supporting public radio now.

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My main hope is that WGBH would revitalize the programming a bit, steering away from the all warhorses, all the time mindset. I'm not asking for much, just a little Ives or Hindemith mixed in with all the Bach and Beethoven.

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...that the station would broadcast something like the all classical Internet station WGBH currently disseminates.

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I am by no means an expert on classical music. I hardly listen to that station, but once shared an office with someone who always tuned the radio WCRB. I recognized a good proportion of the melodies and composers played on that station. and if *I* can 'name that tune' on a classical station, then they are playing nothing but 'warhorses' as Stewart says.

By all means chuck some obscure stuff in there. It shouldn't be a 'top 40' of classical radio fer cripes sake.

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who and the what now?

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For years, they would not only play mostly just warhorses, they would play just the familiar movements of the warhorses! (My late in-laws also had WCRB on all day.) Talk about Top 40!

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Agreed, that's what I meant to say. Agree 100%. And I thought they'd have maximum listeners with that programming strategy. Guess not!

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who and the what now?

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...Jupiter Bringer of Jollity and the Candide overture. WCRB had those on endless loop for awhile.

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I stopped listening to WCRB two years ago when they began playing the same music day in and day out. They used to have a variety of classical music and arrangements by different groups. Listening to 'so sheep may safely graze in the fields' played four times a day every day doesn't cut it.

At some point they ceased playing opera too. How can one be a classical station without opera?!

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I've rarely seen a news story provoke so many intelligent comments on the various sites that are talking about this sale. As many have said, WCRB could stand an improvement in its playlist and signal strength. We'll see what we get.

On Greater Boston, Dan Kennedy just blamed the Internet for decline in classical music listening, but the cause is much much deeper than that. There's a decline in interest in classical music across the US which has been goig on for years, and public radio may be the only way to keep it on the air.

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So where to people get actual classical music?? Newbury Comics on Newbury st seems to have the only 'classical' section, staffed by people who know a thing or two about classical music. I know we all get our music on line, but classical was always the section where it was nice to have someone knowledgeable to help you out and answer questions. If classical CD sales continue to slump, I'm sure this will go away.

Does the 'classical community' still buy CDs? Or is a lot of that mp3s on line now? discuss. :)

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....which I visited to shop for presents on occasion. It was in a separate room altogether within their hvd square store.

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who and the what now?

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I agree it's hard to find a decent classical record shop. In my area Tower Records in San Francisco had its own classical building separated from the pop and jazz, but that closed down. So did Virgin Records in Union Square which had its own classical floor with knowledgeable employees. There was also a Mom 'n Pop place my parents went to when I was a kid, I can't remember the name, but it doesn't matter because that too no longer exist.

Honestly, I just go onto my local classical station's website (KDFC in San Francisco)under "what was that piece" and order CD's or purchase it through itunes. Of course you don't have to be from California to order. This might be a better thread for another post. I apologize if we digressed.

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I suspect that this is pretty much what the new channel will broadcast:

http://www.wgbh.org/listen/index.cfm

It should be a huge improvement.

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Dan Kennedy ponders what happens when WGBH-FM tries to beef up its news and public-affairs programming:

... I do have one piece of advice for WGBH: add a daily, two-hour local interview and talk show to the mix - something WBUR, good as it is, lacks. Yes, "Radio Boston" is excellent, but one hour a week? Local talk shows are a staple of public radio, from small stations all the way up to WNYC in New York. Boston should have one, too. .../blockquote>

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The Connection was the show he's describing, and Christopher Lydon is having a better time with his new podcast. Every time BUR developed something like this, they took it national and then couldn't pay for it.

Probaly they will have more and more talk, and send their classical people over to CRB to replace whoever's left there. I never listened to it except when I visited my dad in The Home. All the ads were for funeral homes.

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We had the radio on while we were cooking dinner, and WGBH said that they're not just increasing their news and talk, they're increasing their jazz shows. Which is great, because I'm still pissed that they stole an hour from Eric Jackson every night.

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I'm delighted if this means that Ted Jones dream of keeping Classical Alive will be fulfilled under the auspices of WGBH.

I am HOPING that WGBH will restore Ted's vison by:

1) Keeping WCRB classical 24/7.

2) Boosting the power of(or relocating) the transmitter. When WCRB was sold a few years ago, the new owners switched them from a transmitter in Waltham (102.5) to one in Haverhill (99.5). As a result, many WCRB listeners no longer get a clear signal.

3) Restoring variety to the playlist, since in recent years WCRB had generally resorted constantly replying the "Top 40 Classical Hits.

By the way, to those commenter who say "WGBH can afford to buy a station, but they are laying off people, so I'm never donating again. GIVE ME A BREAK! They can't cancel their donations, since they never gave in the first place. Also, if they were familiar with the status of classical radio and/or used their brains, they would know that WGBH bought WCRB for a song (figuratively), that WGBH has many subscribers who will INCREASE they're contributions to assure 24/7 classical broadcasts, and that WCRB will be funded by a special capital campaign.

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...suggests that WGBH wants to purge all music from its main station (classical, folk and jazz) and become yet another all-talk station. Unless WCRB picks up the folk and jazz programming now on WGBH, WGBH's musical diversity will actually decrease if it acquires WCRB.

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Yet another reason to hate WGBH. Like we don't have enough NPR talk radio in Boston already with WBUR. I was a regular contributor to WGBH, but no more.

Blues and folk radio programs may be dropped
Blues fans may get the blues when they hear WGBH’s plans for programming changes. ’GBH spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins confirmed to us yesterday that if the FCC approves the station’s purchase of WCRB-FM, a classical station based in Waltham, the station will cancel “Folk on WGBH’’ and “Blues on WGBH,’’ which air on Saturday afternoon and Saturday night, respectively. The blues show is hosted by Brendan Hogan, while folk is hosted by Naomi Arenberg and Brad Paul. Hopkins explained that WGBH wants to carry classical music on one station (WCRB’s 99.5) and news and information on the other (WGBH’s 89.7). She said that blues and folk fans have other ways to find their genres of choice in Boston, and that ’GBH wants to keep its programming unique. “We’ve carried both of these for many years and we’ve been proud do it. We’re very proud of the contributions,’’ she said. Hopkins said there will be no programming changes until the deal goes through.

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WGBH ALL TALK,
What a shame.
It would be a shame for young families that would
like an alternative radio station.
I honestly believe that my 15 year old son has played his
Irish whistle and uilleann pipes in sessions and competed
from New York to Ireland because the culture that WGBH
has made available on its weekend music programing.
Talk is cheap.
Or maybe that is the reason for the roomers.
If that big building was not bought this kind of cop-out
would not have to taake place.

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So...I get laid off from 'GBH and the station goes out and buys WCRB for 14 million dollars. What does this say? The staff are all taking furloughs (some have been asked to take a second one) and they have had salary freezes as well. The morale is at an all time low.

Shouldn't 'GBH be supporting their staff and trying to secure jobs and not spending money on a fairly low-wattage dying classical station?

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If they had kept the 14 million in salary just to keep you from getting laid off and prevent the furloughs, I'm imagining it would have lasted them...maybe a year, tops.

Instead, they go out and get another asset that may appreciate in value and earn them profits over a much longer period of time. Long term planning requires them to improve their portfolio or die trying. If they clam up and try to keep everything status quo, like your job, then they'd bleed out money too fast and fold up shop instead of limp on until they can beat the current economic climate.

There's a lot of assumption there, but often people don't get why a company would make a big move at the cost of some people or salary...but it's often their best chance at surviving as a whole.

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For those of us in southeastern Massachusetts and northern Rhode Island, your new WCRB signal might as well be being broadcast from the dark side of the Moon. You've successfully deprived us of the last vestige of classical music on the airwaves. Congratulations.

And your suggestion that we should adjust our antennas, listen online, or buy an internet radio (currently listing at $599.99 - $6.99.99, financing available), here's a suggestion: take the deluxe model internet radio (largest size), and shove it where you keep your decision-making organs. Then wait for the donations to pour in. I'll be writing a check Real Soon Now - as soon as I can get that WCRB signal.

Oh, and smart move killing off blues and folk programming. I'd appreciate your suggestion on alternate radio stations for that sort of programming if I could RECEIVE any one of those stations.

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Even in Roslindale (at our house, at least), WCRB's signal is too poor to be useful. So, at WGBH's suggestion, I began exploring Internet radio. I hooked up a laptop to my stereo -- and re-discovered the joys of Chicago's WFMT -- catching a rebroadcast of Studs Terkel's interview of John Jacob Niles (composer of I Wonder As I Wander) -- from 1957! I also started exploring folk music internet radio stations around the world -- finding some real treasures in Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and Norway (among others) -- all of which sounded better than WGBH's internet streams. Net result -- after WGBH's farewell to folk yesterday, I've listened to 0 (zero) minutes of WGBH (other than sampling its online streams briefly).

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Wow, I thought I was the only person left in the world who remembered John Jacob Niles!

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His sone (John Edward Niles) was a long-ago online correspondent of mine (back when I used to frequent the Opera-L mailing list).

I assume Boston MUST still have a fair number of folkies who still remember John Jacob Niles. ;~}

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We've got several of his LPs, and I believe my wife's parents knew the man himself.

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