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Catching up on the News

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged here.  My apologies!  I’ve been away from my desk for a couple of months, including two fascinating weeks in Indonesia.

Here are some tidbits that came across the transom during that time:

Edmond OK, from edmondsun.com:

Classical Radio KCSC 90.1 FM has adopted new call letters, KUCO, to better reflect the partnership between the radio station and the University of Central Oklahoma, its licensee. KCSC was named for Central State College, the university’s official name when the station was created.

“We have always felt that the radio station represented an important outreach to the community, and we are truly pleased that the call letter change will tie the station even more closely to UCO,” said Pam Washington, dean of UCO’s College of Fine Arts and Design, which includes the station under its umbrella.

Broadcasting from UCO’s campus since 1966, KUCO 90.1 FM is the only locally programmed classical music station in the state of Oklahoma. No changes to the content of the station are currently planned.

Canadian Broadcasting Company: The CBC’s announcement of 657 job losses and $130 million cut to its budget has been a shocker.  What does that mean for classical? From The Huffington Post:

According to tweets posted by CBC’s Dave Seglins earlier this afternoon, Chris Boyce, executive director of Radio and Audio CBC English Services, revealed that there will be cuts to “recorded concerts” as well as cuts to 12 regional music producers, hosts and engineers. No names were given as to who would be let go but Boyce also stated that CBC Radio 2 program “In Tune” will be cancelled.

The “In Tune” classical music program is hosted by Katherine Duncan. Seglins also tweeted that CBC Radio One’s scheduled would see no programs nixed but three network jobs would be eliminated.

Amherst MA: It’s not easy replacing John Montanari who retired recently from WFCR/New England Public Radio.  The baton is being passed to John Nowacki, who returns to classical announcing after a nine-year hiatus.  You can read more about him here.

In Guatemala. Faro Radio TBWA saved itself in dramatic fashion by threatening to kill off Beethoven a 2nd time:

In Guatemala, when a person passes away, you express condolences in obituaries over the TV, newspaper and on the radio. They decided to stage a mass media campaign, announcing that Ludwig van Beethoven would die for the second time, unless the people of Guatemala tune in to 104.5 FM. The campaign reached as far as Guatemala’s Minister of Culture, who provided funding to save the Faro Radio.

Atlanta: Georgia Public Broadcasting broadcasts all over the state of Georgia except in the major market, Atlanta.  Now that’s going to change.  GPB will carry some NPR programming on 88.1/WRAS-FM, challenging dual-format public station WABE, which switches to classical from 9 am to 3 pm on weekdays.  Now it looks like both stations will be airing Morning Edition and All Things Considered in the Atlanta market.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if one of them would just decide to air classical all day?

Teya Ryan, CEO of GPB, said in an exclusive interview that the organization has tried to buy or partner with stations over the years without any luck until this deal came through. She said she’s excited to offer public radio shows that have never been heard on Atlanta’s FM dial before such as John Hockenberry’s “Takeaway” program. A specific schedule has not been finalized yet.

She also said she has nothing but respect for rival WABE: “They have a very healthy audience. I’m a classical music lover. We just want to offer something different. Having two strong services in Atlanta is a positive.”

Ha-ha.  We shall see.

Nashville: It only took three years:

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) officially owns what was formerly Vanderbilt University’s student-run station, now called WFCL Classical 91 One. The $3.35 million deal was announced three years ago and closed today, according to Nashville Public Radio. It was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in March. The purchase of the second frequency, formerly WRVU, allowed Nashville Public Radio to dedicate 90.3 entirely to news and 91.1 to classical music programming. Fans of WRVU, now broadcast online, unsuccessfully sought to block the deal by petitioning the FCC.

Kentucky:

Murray State’s listener supported public radio service for the region. 91.3 WKMS, has added a third FM signal featuring all classical music to its array. Friday, May 23, 2014, 99.5 FM Murray signed on the air, joining 92.5 FM Paducah and 105.1 FM Madisonville, in transmitting the all classical service 91.3, WKMS-HD2.

The technology necessary for the original second channel of WKMS dedicated to all classical music was made possible with funding assistance from Murray State. It has drawn many listeners online at wkms.org, in addition to the Paducah and Madisonville FM signals. The new 99.5 FM, Murray was funded by individuals and underwriters, led by a 5-thousand dollar contribution by a Murray listener.

Vermont: Vermont’s only commercial classical station changes formats.

For the past 17 years WCVT has broadcast classical music to listeners in Chittenden County and central Vermont, but the station’s owners say the format will change in July.   WCVT is owned by the Radio Vermont Group whose flagship station is WDEV in Waterbury, which signed on the air in 1931.  …

Radio Vermont Group General Manager Eric Michaels says the format change is primarily due to the fact that WCVT’s market is now covered by Vermont Public Radio’s classical service. VPR went on the air in 1977 and aired a mixture of classical music and news on a single network until 2007, when it split them into two distinct networks of transmitters.  Initially, VPR Classical covered only some parts of the state but since then it has expanded to include most areas.

Speaking of VPR, morning host and producer Kari Anderson has been named VPR’s new Managing Director.  Read more here.

England: The problem with government-supported arts orgs is that they are too easy to cut.  BBC is making drastic cuts — again.

BBC Radio is to cut a further 65 posts and reorganise its stations around two “hubs” – pop music and classical music and speech – as part of the corporation’s ongoing Delivering Quality First cost-cutting drive. The BBC said on Tuesday that the latest job losses were part of a target of cutting about 200 posts between 2012 and 2017 – roughly 15% of the division’s 1,300 staff – under the DQF efficiency savings process.

Management of the BBC’s national stations is to be reorganised into two hubs that will share some management and support services. But each station will retain a dedicated controller, the BBC said. The pop music hub will encompass Radio 1, Radio 2, 1Xtra, 6 Music and the Asian Network; classical music and speech will comprise Radio 3, Radio 4, 4 Extra, BBC Proms, orchestras and other performing groups.

Spotsylvania PA is losing its classical station (I think) to simulcast WAMU:

WAMU, the leading National Public Radio station in Washington, is poised to purchase Spotsylvania County’s classical music station WWED.  According to the asset purchase agreement, WWED 89.5 FM will transfer its tower, building and all FCC licenses to WAMU for $375,000.  The station is owned the by Educational Media Corp., a nonprofit Christian ministry based in Spotsylvania.

Nantucket’s classical station is going to stop simulcasting WCRB and will generate its own content.

… and launching a local Classical and News-Talk NPR affiliate on WNCK/NANTUCKET.  “NANTUCKET’S NPR STATION, 89.5 WNCK” will air NPR’s “MORNING EDITION” and “ALL THINGS CONSIDERED plus Classical music the rest of the day.

PD JUSTIN TYLER said, “The NPR branding is superior and offers extremely compelling content with both talk elements and news.  We have had a ten year relationship with BOSTON’s Classical Station, WCRB (a service of WGBH) as they have been simulcast partners on our 89.5 frequency. However, we felt this was the right time to offer Island residents a blend of NPR programming and classical music while focusing on community issues, events and happenings that are important for Nantucketers.”

Nantucketers, indeed.

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