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Comparing Classical Stations

A brief but fun article about driving cross-country and comparing classical stations:

Buffalo’s own WNED FM, Classical 94.5, rates pretty well in comparison with their peers.

For one thing, it usually plays entire pieces. Getting into the Midwest, I was surprised to find that was a rarity. The stations we picked up in Ohio and Indiana played a movement of this, a movement of that. It was a “shuffle” effect.

They will also hit you with something heavy, like Mozart’s G Minor Symphony, in the middle of the day, when no one has time for it – and then at night, when you can more often give the music your attention, you get that 18th century Muzak (i.e., formulaic symphonies by some forgotten contemporary of Haydn). WNED is sometimes guilty of that too.

If Mozart’s G Minor is heavy, I guess these stations aren’t playing whole Brahms string quintets or Bruckner symphonies.  Sigh.


5 Responses to Comparing Classical Stations

  1. Brad Cresswell June 25, 2014 at 11:17 am #

    Nothing wrong with the “shuffle” effect. In fact, we often play 15-20 min blocks of short pieces that we actually call “shuffles,” and we get lots of great comments from listeners. We also play entire Bruckner symphonies from time to time. I call it “having your cake and eating it too.” 🙂

    • Marty Ronish June 25, 2014 at 11:41 am #

      I agree wholeheartedly, Brad. I remember being shocked when my home station started playing single movements of string quartets during morning drive, and then I totally came around. It’s sometimes refreshing to just hear a cheerful movement of something, without having to listen through all 45 minutes of sturm und drang. So much great music out there; so little time.

  2. Dorron Katzin June 25, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    I live in Chicago. WFMT plays movements and short pieces during morning and evening drive and full pieces most of the rest of the time.

    When I am at work, I often listen to BBC Radio 3, which programs similarly.

  3. Thom August 23, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    At WTJU-FM (a community radio station in Charlottesville, VA), classical announcers are required to play whole works (especially if they’re from the common practice era), unless there is a compelling case to do otherwise.

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