As Mona asked in a tweet yesterday, “Is there something in the water in Florida?” Though the more appropriate question may be, “Is there something in the water in public radio?” Because another dual-format public radio station, WMFE in Orlando, has dumped classical from its schedule.
Well, not entirely. Like Gainesville’s WUFT, which made a similar move in August, WMFE is moving the classical music to an HD channel. The station’s president says “It’s not like we’re eliminating classical music,” but come on — for what’s no doubt the vast majority of the station’s audience, that not true.
Why did WMFE make the switch? For reasons often cited by other public radio stations. From the Orlando Sentinel:
“We have seen a gradual decrease in the classical music listening audience while the audience for news has been on a substantial increase,” said José Fajardo, president and CEO for WMFE. “With the technology of HD radio, we saw the best of providing both worlds.”
Another reason for the shift: During on-air campaigns, contributions from classical listeners have declined while those from news listeners have increased.
I’m surprised in this instance by how sudden the change was — WMFE only announced it to listeners yesterday, and it goes into effect today. No word so far of a Gainesville-like crusade to save the music — could that explain the short notice?