This is Argyn's blog. I comment on topics of my interests such as software, math, finance, and music. Also, I write about local events in Northern Virginia, USA and all things related to Kazakhstan

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Beethoven's Revenge: Ratings Drop at Classical Music-less WETA

When WETA changed formats in February, dropping classical music to become another all-news-and-talk public radio station, music fans, musicians and cultural organizations pummeled station executives with protests. How could the nation's capital have no public classical station? How would young people be exposed to the music?

The most interesting in this article to me is when they list all classical music stations in DC area.

By most measures of success, WETA still lags behind its public radio competitor, WAMU (88.5 FM), which airs much of the same programming, including NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," which the two stations simulcast in morning and evening drive time, respectively.

During that same time, WETA's news/talk rivals, WAMU and all-news WTOP (1500 AM, 107.7 FM) gained audience, while talker WMAL (630 AM) continued a slow decline.

DeVany says he wouldn't have dropped music if the area didn't also have a commercial classical station, WGMS (103.5 FM), and indeed that station's ratings have benefited from WETA's switch. But in WGMS's pops approach, the music is intended largely as background, an accompaniment to work or commuting, not as the active, serious listening that public radio was created to provide.

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