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Classical goes down on Orlando’s WMFE

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?

2 Responses to Classical goes down on Orlando’s WMFE

  1. Richard Mitnick November 20, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    Hey-

    You know, if WQXR hangs on as anything more than a money sucking charitable contribution, it is only going to be because there are so many people in the NYC metropolitan area that a wee percentage is still a lot of folks.

    Look what they have done to us: 600 watts; the 105.9 web stream is 32kbit mono, while there is a perfectly good 128kbit stream previously expensed for Evening Music and Overnight Music at 93.9 WNYC.

    Fortunately for those of us who prefer more adventurous faire, there is still wnyc2, re-named Q2, on HD radio or on the internet.

    It is sad that one can no longer look to New York as a paragon for anything.

    What we are going to have left is a few stations like WCNY, Syracuse, and WCPE, Winston-Salem. The rest are going to be not just internet and HD; but they are going to be rented or purchased canned streams the likes of Classical 24 or some such product.

    >>RSM

  2. j roberts November 30, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Thank goodness for CDs. Now if I want classical music I just put on enough to last most of the day. Not too long ago WMFE was my favorite FM station. No longer! Its on the bottom of the list now.I will no longer listen to it at all. I can remember when WMFE returned to the airways. I was so happy we now had a source of decent music once again. Too bad someone there does not share the same joy of listening to classical music as a lot of other central Floridians.
    .

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