Boston and New York

Boston and New York

Recently in Boston, WGBH took over the operations of WCRB, a commercial Classical Music station and shipped off to this outlet all of its musical programming.

At first blush, this looks like a repeat of what has recently happened in New York City. WNYC purchased the operations of WQXR. To recap events in New York City, while certain music related programming like Soundcheck and New Sounds have remained at WNYC 93.9 FM and the 93.9 web stream, music qua music is aired at WQXR FM 105.9 and the 105.9 128kbit web stream. WNYC2, the 24/7 music web stream, has become Q2, streaming at 128kbit stereo, and has remained as eclectic as was WNYC2.

Back to Boston. First, I cannot even find a link for WCRB, everything I try, including a search, brings me back to WGBH. Maybe someone can correct me on this, and give me a link to WCRB.

Second, while we at WNYC/WQXR are able to express our opinions in comment pages provided by parent WNYC, I found no such facilitiy at the WBGH web site. Searching for comments on the changes in Boston, I wound up at boston.com, a service of the Boston Globe newspaper. I found nothing at WGBH. Maybe someone can point out the error in my search.

At another weblog, someone wrote that the citizenry in Boston appeared to be less irritated than the citizenry of New York City. But that is not how the comments at the Boston.com article seemed to me. They were in the main negative, but, I must admit, without the vitriol of the comments I have read at WQXR.

What needs to be understood is that these two situations are but the tip of the iceberg, examples in cities big enough to draw a crowd. This shipping off of Classical music programming to HD radio (for cars?) and the internet (generally the same stream as HD radio) is going on all over the country because of reduced listenership at commercial stations, reduced membership at PubRadio outlets, just an overall diminution of availability for a variety of reasons. A great place to read about this is in the archives at a great weblog, Scanning the Dial. There is nothing new in the Boston or New York situations.

I am a Public Radio zealot, WNYC fanatic, and now a WQXR cheerleader. I think that we in New York City, and I have to say also, the Classical music listeners in Boston, are fortunate that our local institutions, WNYC and WBGH, have found ways to keep Classical music on FM. This is the hard choice, the choice which may or may not pay for itself. The easy choice, taken by so many of the outlets discussed over the passed year at Scanning the Dial, is the internet, with its obvious limitations of tethering to the house or office.

I think that WQXR will be okay, and I certainly hope the same is true for WCRB.

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