February 14, 2005

Well This Is Bad News....

To me, at any rate.

WETA Board approves switch to news/talk format.

WETA-FM is the local affliate of NPR. It used to be devoted almost entirely to classical music, but in recent years has been paring that service away in order to make more time for the bloviations of Linda Werthheimer & Co. Now it appears they've decided to heave the entire format overboard and go to round-the-clock yapping.

It strikes me that the NPR crowd are always in the front lines of the debate about the importance of "diversity" in broadcasting. Nonetheless, WETA's move is part of a trend towards a homogenized news/talk format among NPR's own affiliates. WETA is claiming that while it will initially simply pipe in NPR's pre-packaged programming, it also intends to develop some home-grown shows about the arts in the Dee Cee area. Uh, huh. We'll see about that. Also, why should I give up enjoying art in favor of listening to someone gas on about it instead?

This is terrible. I like to have the radio on at the office. The only classical station left in Dee Cee now is WGMS-FM. Unfortunately, it's a commercial station, which is very annoying. Also, it has a rayther large Warhorse Content in its line-up. And worst of all, it has a very bad habit of only playing select movements and snippets, rather than entire pieces.

Unless I want to constantly cycle CD's in and out of work, I guess I'm going to have to get used to it....

Posted by Robert at February 14, 2005 09:16 AM

Or buy an ipod and do your own.

Posted by: ds at February 14, 2005 09:31 AM

Give satellite radio a try and see if that makes your Llama wiggle. XM is a good option with some classical variety; the downside is that there is little comment about the history of the pieces, the conductors, comparisons to other works, etc. Come to think of it, that might be a good thing. The upside is that it is subscription and many channels are without ads. You can stream through your computer as well.

There is a straight line connecting the move to oh-so-earnest breathless pronouncements by the dainty voices on NPR and the recent political events. I doubt if there are any thoughts about serving the audience, or making programming available that is actually heard.

Dan Patterson

Posted by: Dan Patterson at February 14, 2005 09:34 AM

Plenty of classical sites, also, just fire up W Media Player and do a search. Web radio. And most are free.

This is assuming, of course, that your IT department aren't a bunch of bandwidth fascists.

Posted by: The Colossus at February 14, 2005 10:48 AM

I almost panicked yesterday when I turned on the local jazz station (NPR affiliated, but they don't play news / talk / Prairie Home Companion, thanks be to jeebus) and heard a strange-sounding program: a recording of what sounded like kids rehearsing for a musical. They never play anything like this, and Sunday afternoons are usually the American Jazz Countdown.

Damn, I thought; they've abandoned the jazz format and gone straight NPR. So I turned the radio off. Turned it back on a few minutes later, and was relieved to find out that it was only a special on Leonard Bernstein's family life for beg week.

I'd have to put a satellite radio in the car if the station had gone straight-NPR: we've already got two damn NPR stations in the Bay Area. And Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and Fresh Air are fine in small doses, but the Car Talk guys cackle too much at their own jokes, and the voices of Garrison Keillor and Ira Glass just make me want to kill.

Unfortunately, I can't pick up the jazz station on the radio at work due to the high-rises all around me, so I have to listen over the Internet. And when it's beg week, or they're playing some other program that has too much talking (which is too much of a distraction when I'm trying to think), there are a couple dozen other jazz stations around the country, along with WWOZ New Orleans, that I can pick up.

Sounds like for you, net or satellite is your only hope.

Posted by: Alex at February 14, 2005 10:51 AM

Sounds like they're going after the MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) format. We have two stations here in the Cities---one that's all news, all the time and one that's all classical all the time. Both of those stations are repeated by local stations all over the state. It's centralized content---for a fee. And it makes a shitload of money for MPR. Not only are they cutting production costs, they also take the pledge drives statewide---and make an obscene sum as a result. I don't see why they should be getting tax dollar one because they're making enough to cover their costs---and if they weren't non-profit, well, just doing the math, you could actually say they were making a profit. It never hurts, either, when Garrison Keillor talks the MPR head honchos into selling the donor list to the DNC. Hmmph.

On the upside, though, there is the potential that you might just get your very own dedicated classical station as a result. You never know how things will shake out.

Posted by: Kathy at February 14, 2005 11:36 AM

Get the iPod!

Posted by: Any A. Mouse at February 15, 2005 04:42 PM
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