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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Classical radio

In January, I noted the demise of classical music on for-profit radio station WGMS-FM after more than half a century. But I also noted the simultaneous return of classical music to non-commecial WETA-FM (90.9 FM).

In an article in the Business Section of today's Washington Post, Paul Farhi reports that that switch has been very successful for WETA-FM. Since switching away from an all-news/talk format, its ratings have doubled, and it has become the 5th most listened to radio station in a media-saturated D.C-area market.

Right on Beethoven!

WETA-FM is bucking the national trend, Farhi reports, citing a National Endowment for the Arts study. In 2005, there were only 28 commercial stations with classical music formats, a number that is decreasing. And non-commercial stations themselves are reducing the amount of classical music (and jazz and other music) they air, in favor of news/talk programs.

In an ironic twist, the format that the owners of WGMS chose over classical - George 104, classic pop hits - has since been abandoned. That's in less than 5 months! It's now Praise 104 - gospel music - and the station itself may be sold.

Sound of Success: WETA Thrives on Classical Music

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