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  • richardmitnick 4:51 pm on March 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    A New Look at Music From the Hearts of Space 

    A New Look at Music From the Hearts of Space

    I think that it is time for a new look at Hearts of Space. Hearts of Space, Music From the Hearts of Space, HOS, whatever one calls it, is the creation of Stephen Hill. HOS has been one of the singularities in performing what I see as the mission of Public Radio in music: to motivate the listener to spend money to support the artists and composers whose work we cherish. I thought about that last word, “cherish”, and I think it is the correct word to express how I feel about the music I love.

    Stephen started with Program 001, “First Flight” one January 1, 1983. There are now 903 programs in the Archive. I can listen to any program I want any time I am near one of my computers. I have subscriptions to HOS both at home and at work.

    But, it was not always so. I am going to quote directly from the web site. No one tells the story better than Stephen. I have done some editing to help readability. I hope that Stephen will not mind:

    “HEARTS of SPACE began as a San Francisco late night radio show in 1973, went national on Public Radio in 1983 and to our eternal amazement, grew to almost 300 stations. We started an independent record label in 1984, ultimately releasing almost 150 albums…

    “HEARTS of SPACE grew out of [Stephen’s] fascination with space-creating [Stephen is actually an architect], ambient and contemplative music. Beginning in the early 1970s, [he] hosted a weekly late-night radio program on KPFA-FM in the San Francisco Bay area. What began purely as a labor of love eventually became the most popular contemporary music program on Public Radio. Over the intervening quarter century, Hearts of Space evolved into a multifaceted music and broadcast producer encompassing radio syndication, a record company, and an Internet music service…

    “In January 1983, after ten years evolution as a local program, Hearts of Space began national syndication to 35 non-commercial public radio stations via the NPR satellite system. Hosted by Stephen and original co-producer Anna Turner, within three years the program signed its 200th station and became the most successful new music program in Public Radio history, as well as the most widely syndicated program of ‘spacemusic’ — a tastemaker for the genre…

    “Now in its 26th year of national syndication, a one hour program airs weekly on over 200 NPR affiliate stations, including three of the top five U.S. radio markets and a majority of the top fifty. The program is also heard nationally seven nights a week at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s ‘Spa’ Channel 72…

    “Internet streaming began in 1999 on pioneer webcasters NetRadio and WiredPlanet as well as Public Radio sites, and evolved in 2001 into a full blown subscription service offering on-demand access to the entire Archive, now over [900] programs created since 1983…

    “From the beginning, the program’s success has come from consistently high production quality and sensitive, knowledgeable music programming. The program has defined its own niche — a mix of ambient, electronic, world, new age, classical and experimental music. Artists and record companies around the world recognize Hearts of Space as the original, most widely heard, premiere showcase for ‘contemplative music, broadly defined’…

    “Quality crafting is the keystone of the HOS experience. After a brief intro, each one hour show is an uninterrupted musical journey, designed to create a relaxed but concentrated ambiance. Slow-paced, space-creating music from many cultures — ancient bell meditations, classical adagios, creative space jazz, and the latest electronic and acoustic ambient music are woven into a seamless sequence unified by sound, emotion, and spatial imagery…

    “Old as they are, contemplative sounds continue to evolve. [Stephen] says “What’s now being called Ambient music is the latest chapter in the contemplative music experience. Electronic instruments have created new expressive possibilities, but the coordinates of that expression remain the same. Space-creating sound is the medium. Moving, significant music is the goal…

    “The ancient resonances of drums, bells, and flutes, the exotic tones of gongs and gamelans, the digital sounds of the Ambient frontier; in its third decade, Hearts of Space continues to deliver the best of the contemplative sound experience, with spacemusic from near and far out….”

    O.K., that is the voice of Stephen.

    What has HOS meant for me? First, as indicated by this weblog, music is my passion. Classical music was my father’s gift to me. He thought that he gave me a business, and, yes the business made me more than comfortable. But, the business is now history and my passion for music has not only never ceased, but it has grown. I have ventured farther out than my father ever did or imagined was possible. My particular tastes include a great many late 20th century Classical composers and Jazz. And, what I heard on HOS.

    HOS took me to the cutting edge. I learned about not only “space music”, but also a great many composers in genres with which I was not familiar. Celtic, Asian, Middle Eastern, just to name a few. There are programs designed to fit the seasons of the year. I must interject to be totally accurate that I have also learned a great deal from John Schaefer at WNYC . But John, equally deserving of efforts here, is not the subject of this post.

    If you would like to see the material presented, visit the HOS web site. Along with the archive of programs, there is also a library of complete albums which Stephen has arranged to be available for your listening enjoyment. Check out the play lists for the programs and take a look at the albums.

    So, what is it like to listen to HOS from the web site these days? Well, it is a far cry from days gone by, when on the FM broadcast one might also hear the interference of a jet plane flying overhead. The olden days of the streaming audio were not too shabby. The music was streamed in a Windows Media format, 64kbit for broadband and 32kbit for dial up. I was fortunate that by the time WNYC forced me to the greater pleasures of HOS streaming audio I had broadband. The 64kbit stream was pretty darned good. I always measured the quality of the broadcast on FM by the incredible presence of the short silences between pieces. There was nothing like it anywhere in broadcast radio. The broadband stream was just as clean and bright.

    But, there was no resting on laurels. There is now an incredible flash player. The new web site is beautiful, a work of art filled with works of art. Newly added is an image gallery where one finds images that are appropriate to some of the programs.

    The weekly program is available for free on Sundays. So, if you are interested, give HOS your ear on a Sunday, actually, several Sundays, to try and measure for yourself if this programming and music can be of value to you. If you like what you hear and you want to subscribe, there are several plans at varying prices.

    One warning: if you are ever hooked, you will never go back.

    I hope that you will listen, and then subscribe, and, finally, complete the mission of Hearts of Space – as I define it – by buying the work of the artists and composers you like in whatever format you choose from what ever vendor you choose.

    • Eric 3:18 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to hear you really enjoy Hearts of Space! Have you ever enjoyed any of the music from Hearts of Space Records? We released some of the great programs from the show as well in the “Best of Hearts of Space” Series (http://www.valley-entertainment.com/artists/best-of-hearts-of-space-series.html).

    • richardmitnick 3:50 pm on March 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Nice to make your acquaintance. I have listened to albums from the HOS web site. I have been a “fan” of HOS so long, I go back to probably PGM 15. If you know the folks at HOS, you can ask about me.

    • Leena Rogres 10:53 am on February 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I have every program from #1 to #936. It is pure joy to cycle to the top of the bluff and with my Bose unit (fully charged) watch the mad world below.

    • Septer McNamaste 3:36 pm on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I have every program braodcast.

  • richardmitnick 10:17 am on February 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Recording Jazz Video from You Tube 

    Recording Jazz Video from You Tube

    I just finished recording from You Tube and editing Omnibus – Bernstein on Jazz broadcast October 16, 1955 on CBS television.

    So, here is how to get for yourself some really important video on the subject(s) of Jazz.

    There is an excellent video download tool available for Firefox browser from Mozilla Corporation. You can download as Flash video, or .mp4 video. I suppose that Flash might be a better reproduction, But .mp4 is much more useful. When a video in in .mp4, you can load it into Zune, maybe iPod. One can play it in Windows Media Player, Winamp, VLC, whatever is your player of choice.

    The problem with You Tube is that videos are basically limited to 9 or ten minutes. So, what to do to get a single whole video file?

    Go to AVS4You, pay a nominal price and get AVS Video Converter 6. With this really neat little piece of software you can do all sorts of editing of videos. I use it to merge You Tube videos. I also us it to edit out commercials from programs I record from Cable TV.

    The Bernstein program is in five parts. I downloaded it in .mp4. Then, I took the five files and merged them in the proper order with AVS Video Converter 6. I am watching and listening (peripheral vision) on another computer as I write this post. I have not noticed any discontinuity as the final video goes from section to section .

    I did this procedure and wrote about it previously with The Sound Of Miles Davis from 1959 which I missed on WLIW televison because of an error in a newspaper listing.

    I highly recommend this whole process. There is tons of great Jazz video on You Tube, all in little chunks.
    If you do not have Firefox, it is worth installing it just for this purpose.

  • richardmitnick 2:39 pm on December 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: technology   


    Well, I was not going to do this, but I see that Peter Hum’s Jazzblog.ca did it.

    Probably not for the same reason.

    I need to run a test. I need to see how long this post is going to take to get on my Facebook page. WordPress has not seen fit to give us a simple Facebook application like so many other sites. WordPress has several procedures for the owner of the weblog to put a Facebook thingy on the page. But they are all pretty technical. I write about PubRadio, Classical music, and Jazz. I do not do really technical stuff.

    WordPress is free. So are all of the other pages where the owners have seen fit to use the power of Facebook to spread their gospels by making it easy for us to get their stuff on our Facebook pages.

    Just today, Innova.mu put a notice in their Google Group that we could link to them so that their news would get out. Previously, when I got news of a release by an Innova artist, I would have to do it myself.

    WBGO also set up a similar thing.

    All kinds of my RSS feeds on news, tech, Jazz, computing, and Classical music have Facebook or “Share” blocks that contain Facebook as a choice.

    Even World Community Grid has come up with a Facebook link.

    This is not a WordPress problem as such. One of the procedures that gave us, putting a feed link into our Settings, does work. But it takes forever.

    So, now let’s see what happens…
    Wordpress could help us out with a real Facebook application.

  • richardmitnick 1:39 pm on December 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Search for Internet Radio Streaming Music 

    Search for Internet Radio Streaming Music

    Public Radio Program Directors Association presents a web site by which you can search for music being streamed on line in a variety of ways: Composer, genre, stations. Check it out.


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  • richardmitnick 3:18 pm on December 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    An Ipod to replace a Zune? I don’t think so. 

    An Ipod to replace a Zune? I don’t think so.

    I maintain four 120 gig Zunes to hold all or most of my music and video. One is for Classical Music and Spoken Word; one is for Jazz; one is for Rock and its offspring; one is for videos.

    So, one Zune dies. I have a contract on it. I take it back to the big box store. Because I have the contract, they give me store credit (it’s beyond their anything goes 30 day return policy) for the Zune AND the contract. They no longer have 120 gig Zunes.

    I consider a 180 gig ipod. No, the last time I installed iTunes it disabled an optical drive with high and low filters that my OEM had to correct. This must be a common problem with iTunes on some Windows machines. The first tech broke my “rule of six” – six calls to get to someone who knows what you are dealing with. He knew exactly what to do. He took over my machine and in two minutes in the Registry got rid of the filters. I immediately had the optical drive back.

    Then, I thought, what the heck? Most ipods are used on Windows machines just because Apple has such a tiny part of the installed market of PC’s.

    So, I pick up a 180 gig and an accessory kit. When I go to pay, the clerk offers me a contract, which I decline. He says, and I paraphrase, you know, when the battery dies in a year, this contract will replace it for free. Die in a year? Yes he says, it is right in the fine print on the box.

    Thanks, but no thanks. I am not going to buy a product where the box tells me it is guaranteed to fail in a year.

    I went home. I went to Amazon where I found 11 new black and 22 red 120 gig Zunes in amazon’s inventory. For cheap. US$209.00 with no shipping charge.

    If they get down to US$169.00, I will probably buy a couple more for insurance,

  • richardmitnick 2:45 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Conundrum – Who is responsible for genres at Amazon on .mp3 albums? 

    Conundrum – Who is responsible for genres at Amazon on .mp3 albums?

    Let me say at the outset, I love Amazon’s .mp3 “store”. My purchases there run something over I think ten pages, artists like Harry Partch, Conlon Nancarrow, and the two discussed below, and everything in between. I am also an Amazon stockholder.

    Some time ago, I purchased an .mp3 album, First Things First by Nadia Sirota, a phenom young violist, on New Amsterdam

    First Things First

    This is solo viola, best classified as Classical. But it was classified as “Alternative Rock”.

    About this error, New Amsterdam said,

    “From: Judd Greenstein [mailto:judd@juddgreenstein.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 3:17 PM
    To: mitrich@optonline.net
    Subject: Re: Nadia Sirota “First Things First”
    Hi Richard,
    We didn’t make that assignment. It should have been listed as classical (obviously).
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention and we’ll see what we can do.

    Now, recently, I purchased another .mp3 album, Monkey King by Barry Schrader, on Innova

    Monkey King

    This album might best have been classified as electronic, maybe ambient. But it was classified as something like DJ Dance.

    About this error, Innova said,

    “From: Chris Campbell [mailto:ccampbell@composersforum.org]
    Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 9:56 AM
    To: Richard Mitnick
    Subject: [Monkey King] [subject edited, was “Re: Naxos]

    Ah man.
    I’ll Iook into the Schrader stuff and thanks for buying it. I hope you dig it.
    Thanks very much Richard.
    Best to you,
    Chris Campbell
    Operations Manager
    innova recordings

    In an email to another artist, I commented about the problem with Nadia’s album, laying the blame at the door of New Amsterdam. This artist came back and said,

    “dear richard mitnick –
    as someone who has had many running (and never resolved) problems with amazon I wouldn’t be too hard on new amsterdam….”

    So, I went to Amazon with the question, who is responsible for genre classifications?

    Their first reply was insufficient:


    Thanks for letting us know about the error in the genres listed in the detail page for “Monkey King”, “First Things First.” We use many sources to build our website information, and we really appreciate knowing about any errors which find their way into our catalog. I’ll notify our catalog team about this and will ask them to correct the error….”

    So I went back:

    CUSTOMER: Richard Mitnick
    COMM ID:yguaderg3479643228
    EMAIL: mitrich@optonline.net
    COMMENTS: I received an inadequate reply to a complaint.

    “Here, again, is my question:
    Your Name:Richard S. Mitnick
    Comments:I purchased mp3 albums by two artists. In both cases, the genres were very incorrect. I contacted the artists, who said they had no input in naming the genre. I contacted the producers of the music, who again said, not their call. That leaves, I believe, only Amazon.
    The artists and albums were:
    Nadia Sirota, “First Things First”, New Amsterdam, the genre given on the download was alt rock. The correct genre is classical.
    Barry Schrader, “Monkey King”, The genre given was something like “DJ Dance”. The correct genre would have been either electronic or ambient.
    A third composer, when I mentioned the New Amsterdam thing to him, commented that he had “Had trouble in this area with Amazon in the past”, but did not give me specifics of his problem.
    I have purchased a fair amount of mp3 downloads from Amazon. I have had very little trouble. But this kind of thing should not be happening.
    I will be discussing this situation in my weblog “Whither Public Radio and serious music” at https://richardmitnick.wordpress.com. I will be writing by the end of the week. I certainly could not accuse Amazon of any impropriety, and I would not – hey, I am a stockholder. But I certainly will raise the question.
    So, I would like a response from Amazon on this two specific albums and this whole question of assigning genres.

    And, finally their just received reply:

    The content available in our Amazon MP3 Store is provided by record labels and their distributors. The agreements to provide this content were arranged with these companies. Any questions you have regarding content should be directed to the record label or distributor.
    Thank you for your interest in Amazon MP3 Music Downloads.
    Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:..”

    So, what are we to think? It would seem to me that certainly the information should come from the record label. But I have the highest respect for the artist who said that I should not be too hard on New Amsterdam. I mean, you know, I have a great deal of respect for all of these organizations. New Amsterdam is an important part of the ‘New Music” scene, Innova is a huge resource for young artists and composers, and Amazon has been a wonderful provider of .mp3 albums, everything from the Partch and Nancarrow to Nadia and Barry.

    I think that the only conclusion I can reach is to not take at face value what I see listed as a genre on a download, regardless of the source. Maybe the best thing would be to make this a really big problem by buying lots of new and wonderful music from New Music composers, especially on the Innova, New Amsterdam and Bang On A Can labels. Especially are they bringing to the public what will hopefully become the Classical Music of tomorrow.

    • moontraxx 7:27 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Incorrect information being distributed has been one of our worst nightmares as a small label. So I thought it was very interesting to read your post. It is indeed the ditributor or the so called aggregator who can mess things up, like the wrong spelling of an artists’ name or the wrong classification. We’ve experienced it all and it is one of the most frustrating issues in the world of distrbuting and selling digital music. It is not the artist or seldomly the label – we know in which genre our music belongs. The stores like Amazon or iTunes will seldomly correct these issues.

    • richardmitnick 9:42 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks. But, I want to be sure I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that there is another party, a “…distributor or the so called aggregator…”, or is that in these two cases Amazon?


    • richardmitnick 10:54 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I want to make it perfectly clear that my intention here is not to make any accusation, lay blame, or cast stones at any person or organization. I mean only to raise the question of genre classifications for new music. It is very important especially for composers of new music that their work be understood the way they intend it to be understood.

  • richardmitnick 5:19 pm on October 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    MyYahoo! a great RSS feed reader is shooting itself in the foot. 

    10.17.09 MyYahoo! a great RSS feed reader is shooting itself in the foot.

    I have been using MyYahoo! as an RSS feed reader for quite some time.
    I have seven subscriptions, six of which have as many as 20-30 feeds.

    For me, the most important subscription I have deals with exactly the subject(s) of my weblog, Public Radio and serious music, Classical and Jazz. I have feeds from many “bloggers” (I despise that shortened form of the word and try to never use it.), e.g. Sequenza 21, Scanning The Dial, and Arts Journal/music and many critics, e.g. Greg Sandow , Alex Ross, and Alan Rich I also have feeds from NPR/music for concerts, especially from WBGO, Jazz 88, Newark, NJ and Jazz weblogs and critics, eg Jazzblog.ca, Peter Hum’s baby, and one of the very best, and Howard Mandel’s Jazz Beyond Jazz, another great source of knowledge (Hey Howard, if you are reading me, how are you?).

    This feed reader could be great. It is configurable for the number of days of feed, for what one sees prior to clicking on a feed, for moving feeds around and organizing one subscription by the use of tabs.

    But, alas, in my case it is broken, and often all I see is “Oops – There was a problem loading this content. Please check back later.”
    Boy, that took forever, it sucks, sorry, but it shows what happens. In this pictograph, just two, but often as many as 20-30, the whole thing. Not good. If I cannot get my feeds, of what use is MyYahoo!?

    I took this to them and they said that I needed to cut down my demand, use no “short summaries”, put the feeds into tabs, use an older template (which just reduced the color palette). I tried what they said with the tabs and only got 50% satisfaction. I got all of the music and none of the critics.

    This is nonsense. Yahoo should make their tools work. What happened to the “cloud”?

    So, I migrated the whole thing, all seven subscriptions to Google Reader. It works. It just plain works. Too plain. Too many days, no limit of days. If I have not looked at a subscription for three days, then I am not interested in those last three days, even so far as to mark them read. But, I am getting my content, my critics, news of music, concerts and the like.

    I hope that Yahoo, now advertising their whole big new self all over at least cable television, I hope that they can straighten this mess out. Believe me, if I am having this trouble, so are many others. MyYaoo! has been by far the most popular feed reader because when it has worked it is so very very good.

    I hope that some of these people I have mentioned, Peter Hum, Howard Mandel, Steve Janssen, Marty Ronish, Mona Seghatoleslami, Alex Ross, Alan Rich, and Greg Sandow, I hope that they have alerts set for their names (Google does that also). I really respect their work. From Peter, you can get links to a whole bevy of other bloggers and critics, the same and way more from Alex Ross.

    By the by, I am now working in an unsung but superb web browser, SeaMonkey, the latest iteration of the internet suite that began as Netscape, oh so many years ago. It is “feature complete” with browser, email, a composer. I use only the browser, but it is fantastic. You know, like that old television commercial said, “try it, you’ll like it”.

    10.21.09 Here is the latest from MyYahoo!
    A wee bit harder to read, take it from me, they all read “Oops”.



    Oops is still going on at MyYahoo:

    Too bad, too bad.

    • Michael 10:53 pm on November 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, thanks for the kind words about My Yahoo! and for pointing out an obvious bug that we were experiencing on the site. We believe we have fixed the majority of cases that cause the Oops error and invite you back to My Yahoo! again to try it out.

    • richardmitnick 1:07 am on November 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Incredible! The power of the press. Make no mistake about it, weblogs are now a well established part of the public’s access to the press.

      This is the second time that we have experienced this phenomenon. The first time was when I received a telephone call from a fellow at WNET when they saw my comments about the Miles Davis video that was aired on their WLIW outlet and no one knew about it. I appreciated their explanation and rejoined both stations.

      I very much appreciate the response from a representative of Yahoo. MyYahoo! is still the best of all possible RSS readers – when it works.

      So, what to do now. I went to one of my subscriptions at MyYahoo!. It only had two Oops.
      Maybe, depending on time, I will stay with Google Reader, but monitor MyYahoo for a while.
      If things have in fact improved, I will probably gravitate back to it. But, I take nothing for granted. Time will be a test.

    • richardmitnick 7:24 pm on November 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      So, this is an update. I am not sure who will see it.

      I want to take Yahoo! (http://www.myyahoo.com) at their word, that they are solving the ‘Ooops” problem. But this needs to be tested. What to do to test this?

      First, on one computer, I went into MyYahoo!, just one subscription, the worst one which happens to be also the most important one. On a second computer I opened that same subscription in the Google Reader (http://www.google.com/reader). I harmonized them, made sure that they each had the same RSS feeds. Where either one was missing a feed that the other one had, I put it on the one which was missing the feed.

      Next, since I have Google Reader configured to only show me one dya’s feeds, I went through the MyYahoo subscription and changed each and every feed to 24 hours. That is a lot of work. One must do each feed separately.

      So, now I am sort of at ground zero. The one thing I cannot configure identically is that MyYahoo has a limit of ten items per feed. Google Reader has no limit. But, since I know who has lots of items, in MyYahoo I can just click on the link and go directly to the webn page involved. So, all is not lost for MyYahoo. I mean, Google Reader can easily overwhelm the user. They think thnat they are doing us a favor to let us choose 1 day, 1 week, two weeks. Here, MyYahoo does a better job, 24 hours, one day, two days…seven days. Way better.

      So, now we will see. On this one subscription I will go to the trouble to read both Google Reader and MyYahoo and report back.

    • GrermaVep 5:53 pm on January 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Phat post, good looking website, added it to my favorites!

    • anon 1:20 am on June 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Yahoo is lying about “having the problem fixed”. I rarely get all of my feeds (about a dozen) to work correctly, so am moving to Google (which “Just Works”)!

    • richardmitnick 10:26 am on June 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your note. Google Reader was my choice. It is not as configurable, you cannot limit what show up to the last day, or week, etc., or how many from one source. But, it all shows up. I just hope that it keeps up.

    • Cherokee 8:01 pm on July 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      well, for about a week now My Yahoo has been doing this with the local news for Salisbury, NC and Charlotte, NC. I rely on those but Yahoo seems to be saying, you don’t need those. I’m about to move to Google myself because they work there.

  • richardmitnick 3:35 pm on August 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Jazz at Newport 2009 Comes to Highland Park 

    Jazz at Newport 2009 Comes to Highland Park

    Well, not really. However, since I am slightly agoraphobic, but mostly lazy and cheap, I just could not get myself to the Newport Jazz Festival. So, courtesy of NPR/music, and WBGO I was able to bring a touch of Newport to Highland Park.

    You could listen, download or record
    Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition

    You could listen or record
    Claudia Acuna

    The Bad Plus with Wendy Lewis

    Steven Bernstein’s Millenial Territory Orchestra

    Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band

    Dave Brubeck Quartet

    Michel Camilo Trio

    James Carter Organ Trio

    Joe Lovano UsFive

    Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition

    Cedar Walton All-Stars with Lew Tabackin & Curtis

    There are some others that you might enjoy. Take a look.

    And, by the way, did you happen to see Terry Teachout’s eulogy for Jazz in the Wall Street Journal? Well, read Howard Mandel’s answer at his weblog, Jazz Beyond Jazz.

  • richardmitnick 7:49 pm on August 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Nadia;Terry Riley;Amazon 

    Nadia>Terry Riley>Amazon

    So, here is how (Public) Radio is supposed to work:

    Nadia Sirota pulls an air shift for the vacationing David Garland. I am in the car when Nadia plays a wee piece of Terry Riley from the Salome Dances For Peace. Hmmm. I have a bit of Terry Riley. Let’s see,
    I have

    A Rainbow in Curved Air
    A Rainbow in Curved Air

    In C by Bang On A Can
    In C Bang On a Can

    Songs For the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets
    Songs For the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets


    Requiem For Adam
    Requiem For Adam

    So, what else can I find, in .mp3, at Amazon?

    Shri Camel

    Shri Camel

    Church of Anthrax
    Church of Anthrax

    The Harp of New Albion
    Harp of New Albion

    Reed Streams
    Reed Streams

    Persian Surgery Dervishes
    Persian Surgery Dervishes

    In C:The 25th Anniversary
    In C: 25th Anniversary

    The Salome Dances For Peace
    Salome Dances For Peace

    The Book of Abbeyozzud
    The Book of Abbeyozzud

    I guess that is enough for now. I really like Terry Riley. Maybe next month or so I will buy some more.

  • richardmitnick 2:11 pm on July 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    WNYC buys WQXR – What Of IT??? 

    WNYC buys WQXR – What Of IT???

    So, WNYC is purchasing everything there is to purchase of WQXR.

    So what does this mean?

    The only thing that is important for WNYC music listeners is that we keep the kind of music programming we have now enjoyed for the last couple of years. George Preston and Brad Cresswell did tremendous work in the creation of wnyc2. This effort rubbed off on and re-invigorated Evening Music. With the advent of Terrance McKnight, with Bach next to Bessie Smith, Dvorak next to Duke Ellington, Evening Music has never been better.

    That is what is important and that is all that is important. The switch to a low power transmitter is probably not a big deal. While the WQXR geniuses were running their web stream through America On Line, the Reo of the internet, WNYC’s internet savvy staff built up one of the best net infrastructures in Radio.

    I suspect that the majority of the WQXR listenership is still bound to terrestrial radio. I suspect that the WNYC audience is much more tending to listening via wnyc.org, either in the station’s own player, or via Winamp or Windows Media Player.

    WQXR was, in its last decades, a mass of mediocrity. Garbage. Ca-ca, as the British would say.

    There has been no statement from Laura Walker about the content of the music programming. We really could use a statement from her about music.

    Visit WNYC’s web site, find your way through the labrynth of music sites to see the comments that have been posted on the station’s various music Comments pages, what passes for a weblog at WNYC, the one thing that has been poorly implemented, instead of as true forum.

    This is all over the weblogosphere, see especially Scanning the Dial
    at Inside the Arts, Current, and, of course, on WNYC’s site and Evening Music. I have asked Greg Sandow if he plans to comment in his weblog. I hope that Greg will give us his thoughts. Greg is the clearest and deepest thinker on these matters on the web today.

    Let me know what you think.

    Update: I went to Sequenza 21 to see if there had been any comments on this subject. I found nothing, so, I asked if they would be having anything to say. Sequenza 21 is probably the most important weblog for New Music anywhere on the internet. WNYC has been the most important radio outlet for New Music anywhere. I am pleased to say that they responded positively. I hope that they will stay with this as it unfolds. No one in his or her right mind wants to see the WQXR culture at WNYC, except maybe for the Lincoln Center crowd.

    • Doug 9:24 am on July 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Upfront, I really do think this is great for listeners. Tweak the wnyc2 feeds some so there is an apparent live music selector in the room, introduce program grants for the station, and make sure you are FCC compatible with announcing your call letters and other requirements, and you have a really strong radio station.

      I am worried they’ll be able to survive financially though, as the extra costs may not be met by more listener support. This would be a good time for NYC’s president to earn her very large salary and grow the public radio market in some tough times. Still, I can’t wait to listen.

    • richardmitnick 10:08 am on July 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply


      The managers of wnyc2 have at times introduced a “plausibly live” host, apparently recording what are called “tips and tails”. But they have never really stuck with it. In my position as self-appointed WNYC Music Fanatic, I really do not mind the lack of a voice. I was very involved with George Preston and Brad Cresswell, trying to influence the musical programming, as wnyc2 was being developed, and I am very happy.

      I have been screaming for grant announcements and some polite pitching on wnyc2.

      Call letters are announced, not a lot, but probably enough.

      You are correct about Ms Walker’s salary. WNYC has been pleading poverty in the face of her huge allotment of station resources. At the back of all this, even with staff cuts, I think that WNYC has gobs and gobs of money, mostly from supporters like the Jerome L Greene entity, Billy Tisch, and the like.

      I don’t know who you are or where you are, but I can tell you that WNYC’s music programming has gone through a revolution is the past couple of years. While we do not have music on FM during the day, what we have 7:00PM-5:00AM on FM and at 128kbit on the web, and also wnyc2, qualitatively, things have never been better. If you are far away, you can get it all on the internet.

      Thanks so much for your comment. Please check out the rest of the weblog. I need dialogue and I welcome intelligent folks.


    • richardmitnick 10:56 pm on July 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      This post on WNYC buying WQXR was picked up in its entirety by something called Classisima. I tried to figure out what it is, I am still not sure. Maybe I should consider it a compliment, maybe not. Perhaps someone can enlighten me. If you know of Classisima, please fill me in.


    • Ed Townesend 3:00 pm on July 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve seen your posts on several sites; perhaps, you’ve seen mine, which take a much dimmer view of all this. (We have some common ground, I should add, but that makes for dull reading, of course.)

      The reasons I think that this in-progress game of musical chairs is a disaster for anyone who cares about classical music are these:

      1) $15 MM (yes, half of it comes from very rich people, but I’d like to think that even THAT money could have and would have been better spent in the absence of this lunacy…. see what follows) is a very large amount of money and while WNYC has “deep pockets,” I have to think that the listener $ are not going to be coming in at 2004’s rate, say, in these tough times.

      So, that means even more – is it possible?! – underwriting interruptions. I find them odious in and around mostly talk. Surely, classical music lovers are going to “gag” on “save a tree” interruptions – the same pathetic “humor” – every hour or 2…. And when do they go to 5 or 6 pledge drives per year? – soon, I’ll bet! Again, while WQXR had its problems in terms of “paying the piper,” what do you want to bet that the “new WQXR” alienates 9/10 of its old listeners in a hurry – even if it’s not at all rational to prefer commercials to WNYC’s over-abundance of promos and the like?!

      I know you have VERY little use for the current programming on WQXR – and I understand your arguments…. But this (classical music) is a pretty small pie – no matter how you slice it – and “kissing off” half or more of the audience is going to have some negative consequences…. Do the math, as they say!

      2) The (lack of) physical power of the 105.9 frequency makes this deal dumber than dirt (and please, all, have no illusions that Laura is an F.O.B. or that that matters – anybody, remember those letters? – ’cause the FCC is simply not in a position to adjust upwards ANYBODY’s output atop the Empire State Building…. If you need confirmation, ask yourself why a for-profit company would pay $34 million so just to “get louder.”)

      Simply put, if you lose 10-30% of the audience to an “I don’t listen, because it doesn’t show up on my receiver” and another 10-30% to folks who kinda like their classical music to sound CLEAR, and you move anything non-talk-y on the current 93.9 to that same flawed 105.9 “space,” you actually have the perverse effect of REDUCING the number of classical music listener-hours WNYC will provide to those not getting them over the internet.

      … And if you – and here, I’m more than a little sympathetic – want to write off those dedicated receivers/radios as buggy whips, you certainly have a defensible position, … but then WHY SPEND $15 MM for an “empty box?!”

      We certainly feel about as differently as one can about “Terrance” – I’ll grant you that his musical choices are interesting – but here’s the way I see this playing out:

      in a nutshell, like Time’s acquisition of AOL!

      That is, this is just bad, bad, bad – and it gets worse. When the WNYC Board in 2012, say, asks how come they’re each being asked for $3 MM to paper over the deficit in operating costs, they’re gonna have to look for someone to walk the plank. … Laura, of course. … But they’ll also ask tough questions about where the money is going (and has gone) and what can be learned about the people who supply the money coming in.

      SURPRISE! They’re going to conclude – as EVERYbody in public radio has concluded for the last 20 years that ALL of the classical music lovers account for 2% or so of the listeners – and truly sadly, listeners up there in years not replaced 1-for-1 by younger people as they pass away. I encourage you to look up the word “public,” as in “public radio!” … So they’ll chop down the classical music tree called WQXR – if it still exists – and if you think that leaves you in a better place than you were a month ago, I have to think you’re out of your ever-loving mind.

      Sometimes the status quo is better than any VIABLE alternative. This is just such a case!

      • richardmitnick 5:29 pm on July 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply


        Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming in here with some solid points of argument, in the best sense of the word.

        First, I should say that The WNYC audience has left me feeling very lonely. I know that lots of people read the same sites that I do, yet there is little support evidenced by WNYC members and listeners.

        I am not a bit worried about WNYC and the money. They will get it, some from trustees, some from big donors who are friends of trustees, some little people like me. I will do it because for me it is the right thing to do, maybe US$500.00 over five years, predicated on the music. That is what I did when the licenses were acquired. I interrupted my payments when Ms Walker killed daytime music. But I made good on the pledge when wnyc2 lauinched.

        The Jerome L Greene Performance Space is another good example of the sustaining presence of music at WNYC. That space was built to present highly quality music performances. Much more money was spent than would have been necessary to put Brian and Lenny in a window box for street view. And, there have been musical videocasts. To me – I am 68 years old – this is way cool, as kids would say.

        Underwriting interruptions? Sure, a pain in the butt. I respectfully doubt 5 or 6 pledge drives a year.

        I think that it is quite the case that WQXR members will not be happy if what I want happens in the music programming, which is exactly what we have now. I believe that Evening Music and Overnight Music have both been brought up to date by the influences which yielded up wnyc2. That is, do something no one else in PubRadio is doing. From what I know, wnyc2 is doing very well, based upon its programming.

        If you stayed with any of the early Evening Music “blogs” – not really blogs, not forums, just comment boxes- when Terrance came on board, he caught a lot of flack for not only what he was playing, like Bessie Smith and Duke Ellington, but also for talking over the music. I must say, I just ate it up, the whole thing. And, he seems to have survived well.

        Regarding WQXR’s programming, I know two exceptional PubRadio stations which I joined when day time music left WNYC. WCNY, Syracuse, and WCPE, Winston-Salem both do a great job with live hosted Classical music from the same periods that WQXR programs. I am in New Jersey, and so I listened to them on the computer. They both have very good solid streams. Any WQXR listener would like what they do. Also KUSC, Los Angeles, airs and streams great Classical music. I belonged also to that station. I was not fond of the “plausibly live” music from a hard drive delivered by Classical Public Radio Network, and my inability to interact, even with email, with the on-air hosts. Also, I did 24 hour studies of KUSC and WCPE, from their playlists: drive-time pieces are always short. Pieces were longer in the middle of the day, the evening, and overnight.

        I think that the power thing is bad, just plain bad, but it is a cost, so to speak, of getting the deal done. David Garland has been, previous to this, suggesting that people get the web stream, even in The City, because of interference with the FM signal from big buildings. I think that WNYC listeners, on the whole, will be able to access anything they want on the internet. I don’t know about the WQXR listeners, who I see as a more terrestrial bunch.

        “Why spend 15 MM for an ’empty box?'” First, I think it is closer to 11 MM, but, hey, that’s still real money. I think that she just had to do it. Whatever we get, Ms Walker, known in my house prior to wnyc2 as the Dragon Lady and the Wicked Witch of the East River, has made good on her “promise” to get a third station onto which she can toss Classical music.

        I do not think that Ms Walker, as she is now known in my house, has ever had any intention of doing away with serious music. I think it is just not her field. Ms Walker is a Peabody award wining journalist, ex-NPR. She has left music to others to care for. I think the evidence for this is the advent of wnyc2, and the big big changes in Evening Music and Overnight Music. They have spent a ton of money doing this stuff, re-doing the web site, and keeping up with remote concert broadcasts, live or “on tape”. The John Cage project was tremendous, as was the Tristan and Isolde project. Admittedly, George and Brad were around for these things and they are gone. Brad was mostly responsible for what happened with wnyc2. I had a lot of email interaction with both of them. But, if what is now happening on all of the programming I have mentioned is any measure, there is no diminution or change of direction in what is happening.

        What do you think of Terrance and David? How about Nadia Sirota and Helga Davis on the overnight? I am high on Terrance, way high on Nadia, I have always respected David. Helga? I don’t know, she gets it done, but I think she is reading. I liked James David Jacobs when he was on the overnight.

        You did not say what kinds of music you like. Clearly, you are internet savvy. For other really good Classical music, check out WPRB, Princeton (www.wprb.com) Monday-Friday 6:00AM-11:00AM.

        Thanks again, and, please come back. Take a look over previous posts, I would welcome any comments you would make.

        I have been hoping with this weblog to get some dialogue going on some of the subjects.


        • Eli Mitnick 4:43 pm on January 3, 2010 Permalink

          I totally agree! We must be related somehow!

    • Ed Townesend 6:11 pm on July 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      WOW – maybe even “make that a double!”

      Seriously, you (we’re in the same decade of life) went the old fashioned – “You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers” route, and your answers are mostly plausible to virtually forcing me to “say uncle” – on certain points, let me be perfectly clear.

      FOR EXAMPLE (in the “now wait a darn minute” category), I remain concerned about the money, and even if we take my strongly held (shared by many) feelings about Ms. Walker and her style out of the equation, I think this “deal” is just plain indisputable OVER-REACHING. When 20-50 WNYC staffers are sent packing because of “belt tightening” late this year or sometime next, I think that the entire “WNYC family” (I’m including both of us, of course) will

      a) be able to connect the dots between this purchase and that outcome; and
      b) be unable to escape the conclusion that this “grand statement” in terms of classical music broadcasting brought on way too much collateral damage.

      I actually listened to a little archived “Terrance,” and I summarize my stance as follows:

      He’s rock solid on all things musical – certainly, I’ll never catch him on anything worth worrying about – but he continues to do himself and most of the listeners a great disservice by straying from matters musical in the relatively little he interjects by way of “commentary” most evenings. I’m sure he’s more literate/educated than most folks his age, but (again, apart from his music creds.), that’s not saying much.

      I’m not being snobbish here – at least, I think I have a valid point to be made in this connection – and it will certainly make him a bitter pill for the small number of WQXR “refugees” who give him a chance – they certainly skew older (and in some ways wiser) than WNYC’s listeners.

      It was one show in June, I believe – look, I *do* have a life, so this is not the subject of paintstaking research…. He cogitated on-air, the night that Mr. Madoff’s sentence was announced, that this was material for an opera and invited listener “input.” (Not just a bad joke, in my opinion – rather, it’s representative of what happens when he goes beyond interesting juxtapositions musically to trying to relate music to “life.” … It must be tough to be as marginal in the WNYC “world” as the music people are, but if folks like Brian don’t make the mistake of “offering their two cents” on classical music.)

      One last rejoinder/recapitulation – I think that you and I and almost anyone who gives it 2 minutes of enlightened thought would agree that whatever future classical music enjoys with earphones or speakers and “someone else’s choice” of music DOES NOT REST with anything on an existing FM radio or station…. Of course, I’m suggesting that there’s a viable present and future with “streams” – I can’t guess whether they will evolve or be revolutionized in the next 10 or more years. And you’re 100% right that WNYC2 shows that WNYC wants to be a “player” in all this. I won’t bring up cost again – tempting though that is…. RATHER, does WNYC (and its personnel – musical and other) need the “tsuris” of the WQXR “merger?” … NOW?! (Among other things, it is bound to be a terrible distraction, every which way!)

      I feel I simply have to copy/paste just one paragraph from my earlier screed – I hope that means what I think it does:

      >> Simply put, if you lose 10-30% of the audience to an “I don’t listen, because it doesn’t show up on my receiver” and another 10-30% to folks who kinda like their classical music to sound CLEAR, and you move anything non-talk-y on the current 93.9 to that same flawed 105.9 “space,” you actually have the perverse effect of REDUCING the number of classical music listener-hours WNYC will provide to those not getting them over the internet. <<

      Again, Richard, can one view this (if you accept it) with anything like optimism and approval?!

      Finally, as I've said elsewhere, maybe this will turn out (in matters large and small) WAY WAY BETTER than I think it will. I hope so, but you're not the only one (by far) who looks back 10, 20 and 30 years and says, "Classical music on the radio was better at each of those milestones than it is today." Has a corner been turned in the last 1-3 years?! Can the WQXR deal be a "game changer?!" … I'll go with "I don't know" on the first question – and "No way in tarnation" on the second.

      BTW, I think I bought my HD radio all or mostly because of its supposedly better sound. It *HAS* delivered on that…. But when I found 3 or 4 "alternatives" to 93.9 on "adjacent frequencies," I smiled like the Cheshire cat! Your milage may vary – as might 10 random classical music lovers who now listen to WNYC-FM, but if you find a receiver for $75-100 and know that you can easily return it if not fully satisfied, you darn near OWE IT TO YOURSELF to give it a try. Certainly, if "the internet" just plain isn't your cup of tea when it comes to classical music, this purchase that I propose you make is simply an acid test as to whether you (here, I don't mean the owner-operator of this blog, of course) want to whine about the state of the dial or want to do something about it!

      • richardmitnick 9:58 pm on August 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply


        Sorry, I have not been too attentive, I did not intend to leave you hanging here, I just now saw your reply.

        It is not hard to answer your points as they come, I am reading your note on one computer and answering on another, so do not give me too much credit on the blow-by-blow.

        I don’t remember figures like 20-50 staff being axed, I think I did hear 11, and, sure, I question it. But, I understand budgets, operating expenses, capital expenses, etc, so I do not really think that the two issues mix.

        Terrance: Yep-. The WQXR folk are going to gag. But, you know? So what? Terrance is bringing a unique focus to the programming. That is part of what has not been happening at WQXR for a very long time. When I think of WQXR, I picture a guy in his mid fifties, in his living room, rading the New Yok Times, and WQXR is on the FM. He is not really listening, the music is little more than ambiance. That is why it should just die. I mean, that’s my view.

        That Madoff thing: I think that one thing that really “sucks” at WNYC is the “blog” concept. Those are not blogs on those programs, they are just comment boxes. If I write a comment and want to see if anyone answers, I need to come back, refresh, etc. No reply notify, no RSS, nothing like a decent weblog.

        Whwen Brad asked me what I wanted on the new web site, I said a forum, not thing thing. I know, a forum needs to be moderated, so I was asking for the moon.

        So, anything to try to motivate those Upper West Side people who like to write to hear themselves think.

        I agree with you about Classical music on FM radio. I do believe that web streams are a valid alternative. I would like to see them hosted. Every once in a while, we would hear someone actually “hosting” a section of wnyc2. Most recently it was Nadia Sirota. Of course, she is not really there, or listening to the music which she introduces. They do what George Preston called ‘tips and tails”, intros, and wrap ups. Streams are not expensive to run.

        Look at what goes on at http://www.live365.com. These are little people with little money doing something they love for financial contributions. I pay about US$5.00/month for all of the streams I can bookmark into Winamp.

        And, at http://www.shoutcast.com , they are free.

        So, I think that Streams will be around, and more of them from more stations. The only question is will they stream something to which I want to listen.

        The tsuris of the merger? Laura Walker sees it as her job to keep music at 160 Varick Street and get it off of 93.9. She has all of the talk supporters, the big money, delighted with this move, getting music out of the way.

        “Has a corner been turned in the last 1-3 years…” yes, for me, for people who listen on a computer, absolutely.

        On my computers, wnyc2 is waging the fight against WPRB, Public Radio in Princeton, NJ, to which I also belong, with superb Classical Music from 6:00AM-11:00AM weekdays, and fantastic Jazz from 11:00AM-1:00PM weekdays. You can find them at http://www.wprb.com . The .com is because they were a commercial. Then, there is live365 ( http://www.live365.com ), to which I subscribe, twice actually, at home and at work. At Live365. I have bookmarked five streams from http://innova.mu , the American Composers’ Forum, St Paul, MN; Counterstream, from American Music Center, New York; Iridian, and Kyle Gann’s PostClassic. So, that is a lot of choice at the click of a mouse. Top that off with two subscriptions to Music From the Hearts of Space, San Fransisco, http://www.hos.com. Just to be complete, I also belong to and use and listen to WBGO, Jazz 88.3, Newark, NJ, and http://www.wbgo.org

        Lots and lots and lots of streams.

        Regarding HD radios. I would do it if I needed to. With four computers, I just don’t need to do it. To back up my statement, when WNYC aired Hearts of Space at 1:00AM and 2:00AM, I bought a Hi-Fi stereo VCR for US$400.00 and taped the broadcast to hear it when I was awake. The owner of the program knew I was doing it. So, I would spend the money if I needed to. I just do not.

        Again, my regrets for not having sxeen your post sooner. Please stay in the game.

        BTW, the next comment is about the power and reception. Take a look at it.

        • richardmitnick 10:23 pm on August 3, 2009 Permalink


          I have to pull back on my apology. Your note just showed up tonight. As I reflect, I do need to check, frequently, which I have been doing, to see if there is any spam in replies. WordPress gives us something called a Dashboard, where we can see all of our statistics. Two of the items that show up are pending replies and pending spam. Nothing showed up until tonight. And, I do not understand their algorithms, you last reply, even though you had a previous comment, showed up as possible spam!!

          I will be lodging a protest at WordPress.

    • IA Jaffe 8:32 pm on August 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      try listening NOW to FM 105.9. The audio is terrible and the stereo signal drops out. Too little power. This the way WQXR will sound when moved to 105.9 with the associated transmitter of 105.9. Thousands of listners will suffer the loss.Contact the FCC in Washington.

      • richardmitnick 10:07 pm on August 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Dear IA Jaffe-

        Thank you so much for commenting, I appreciate it very much.

        First, you do not tell me where you are located. I have friends here in Central New Jersey who cannot hear WQXR even now. And, even now, David Garland tells NYC dwellers they might be better off listening to the web stream because of all of the buildings.

        According to the station people, the 600 watts of 105.9 will cover 86% of the geographic area covered by the 6000 watts of 96.3. I understand this, because of the height. This is the same thing that got a New Jersey college station, WFMU, in trouble: because of the height of their antenna, their signal went much farther than they were allowed, and interfered with other stations.

        I do not expect thousands of listeners to suffer. I do not think that there are thousands of listeners to WQXR out here or in other suburbs. I also think that the WNYC listeners will be much more prone to listen on their computers, as do I.

        The FCC? Surely you jest. When is the last time you got anywhere writing to or calling or mailing, or whatever, any governmental representative or body.

        Thanks for expressing your opinion. Please stay in the game.

    • Ed Townesend 7:05 am on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I think – as I see how prolific you are on the web – that you may be a little light when it comes to “empathy.” That is, you must know you’re atypical, but not how very much…. I’m not giving you free “psych” – this is a preamble to – you appear to have overlooked automobiles!!

      I’ve read WAY too much about the WQXR/WNYC “affair,” but one hears a surprising (to me) amount of “Now what will I listen to in the car?” from disgruntled WQXR-ites. Also, and related, I think you’re starting to believe what you’ve written about WQXR’s listenership being in the single digits – well, I’m exaggerating your exaggerations. The NY Times has been a for profit operation forever, and while you may feel that they ran classical music into the ground – or a great deal lower than that – years ago, common sense says that they had – as a guess – 100,000 occasionals every week and maybe 50,000 regulars. That could/would do WNYC a lot of good (if they transitioned) – their loss (especially in these not-so-great times) would be/will be a painful one.

      Again, thanks for some more tips as to venues. In return, I’d suggest that your blog isn’t indexed by Google (I’m not 100% sure, but I *am* sure you do well to double-check) as well as many other less interesting blogs. Maybe, registering the domain name richardmitnick.com and “redirecting” would be $8 spent to enormous advantage.

      • richardmitnick 1:21 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply


        On the question of “empathy”, I assume you mean my lack of empathy for the WQXR listeners. I have to say that on the subject of WNYC, this is the way I am: I am just a listener, I have no formal connection to the station. But, yes, I am a fanatic, a zealot. Here, WNYC as in no other place in my life. WNYC is where I wrap uip all of the fan feelings other might place in the Giants, Jets, Mets, Yankees, Rangers, Islanders, and Devils, and Flyers (I watch sports on TV, but not as a fan. I gave up being a sports fan after the 1985 NCAA basketball tournament, when my team, the Villanova Wildcats won and then turned up “dirty”).

        The car is a fair question. I have a frfiend who thinks *all* radio is a car phenomenon. He loves what WQXR used to be, and has switched to satellite radio. In the car, I will listen to WPRB or WBGO.

        Sure, you are right about the size of the WQXR listenership. I don’t think it is in single digits. And, my friend and I both see the possibility of Evening Music going to straight up Classical music, along with the day time music. To me, this will be a big disappointment.

        When I recounted this discussion to my firend, all of the other “Venues”, he said, “Well, so why do you need WNYC?” It is a fair question. I do not ever need WNYC, but I love it to death, and I have a lot of time invested in what it has become musically.

        Thanks, and thanks for staying within the weblog with your comments. It would not be hard to find my email address and email me; but, as an old forum warrior, I believe that discussions pertinent to the subject at hand belong in the weblog, and not in “PM’s”, private messages.

    • Ed Townesend 10:12 am on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Just “discovered” Arbitron – turns out that not that long ago WQXR had a listenership (I know there’s lots of controversy about these numbers, but I doubt that they’re meaningless) approximately 50% LARGER than WNYC’s. Nothing wrong with a snake (poor metaphor ?) swallowing a raccoon or something even larger, but this makes me realize that the stakes are much higher than I had thought.

      Richard – you wrote in your last post on this thread that you understand budgets and the like – I’m not disputing that, but you have to wonder how WNYC could “best” (no, I won’t define that) transition the WQXR crowd to a station that WILL have a very different “spectrum” in terms of programming, style, etc.

      I guess it revives the cute topic the Times itself put up on its site when the deal was announced – “What would YOU do?”

      Not surprisingly, as I recollect it, many posters really have grown attached to this or that WQXR personality. I have no idea whether the 2 entities (old WQXR and current WNYC) pay comparably, but I’m going to guess that most of the WQXR on-air people do NOT “make the cut,” although I assume almost all will “reapply” for their jobs.

      Beyond that, I hope your “friends” (from what you’ve written, you certainly know them) who will be influential in programming decisions do NOT opt for a sink-or-swim policy. I’m going to guess on this one that they DO bring some measure of pragmatism to the process, because the Greene Foundation will not be pleased at an 80% “drop out” rate – or anything even close to that.

      But the signal – reach, clarity, etc. – issues loom larger and larger, it seems to me. On the one hand 105.9 as a Spanish station had an Arbitron rating comparable to WNYC at 93.9 – on the other hand, the only other Spanish station rated came in at #3 (vs. WCAA’s #21 or so), with well more than double WCAA (=105.9)’s listeners.

      I know your focus is on music, but whatever strong feelings Terrance may have aroused in his first year and a half are as nothing to what I read in connection with WNYC’s newish news program “The Takeaway.” … The ratio of negative to positive comments is “scary” high, and it’s still on the air.

      I recognize that giving a program a chance to find an audience (arguably, a younger one than the station as a whole enjoys) could be viewed as a good (“courageous”) thing, but I’m afraid that I chalk it up more to arrogance. I only hope that the very different priority (lower, to be sure) and people on WNYC’s music side make a serious effort to make their new listeners feel a little at home for – roughly – a year or 2. Even if the hosts are mostly new, they had better not port the WNYC2 “stream” to on-air to a significant extent to 105.9 – that is, they should make sure that “Coke Classic” is served up side by side (AND ON AIR) with “new Coke.”

      • richardmitnick 1:27 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        I think that the WNYC people will pay great attention to the Arbitron ratings in making their decisions.

        I am very surprised that “The Takeaway” ias not a huge success. I hear it on my way to work, and I really enjoy it. I understand the budget for it is huge, wither US$2 or 7 million.

        WNYC2 will not go on FM. And, the WQXR stream will continue.

        I suspect that a lot of what i want in the new FM programming will not happen, that WQXR’s influence will be strong.

    • Ed Townesend 4:22 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Last little thing –

      I wonder what makes you think that WQXR (I’m assuming it’s what I listened to a week or 2 ago via the ‘net – and listened to in a state of near terror, given an awfulness re the commercials that makes WNYC’s worst promos sound soothing) will continue to stream. Can you reference a source for that “promise” (or threat).

      It simply isn’t logical – non-compete clauses are very common when X buys all or part of Y. And it certainly sounded to me like the NY Times Co. wanted to kiss WQXR goodbye – treating its listeners with quite a bit more decency (for whatever reason) than, say, WNCN’s owners did when they “cashed out.” (Or maybe, WNYC’s participation netted them $1-5 extra millions, and that was enough to “save the day.”)

      I wonder if you (or Doc Searls or someone else) can do more/better than guess at traffic on various (classical) internet streams and broadcasts…. The first time I listened to WGBH’s classical stream (somehow, I think you may NOT have included it in your “master list”), I was VERY impressed. A week later, they had introduced intrusive promos. The piper must always be paid, it seems, … and as soon as the traffic is “respectable,” the temptation to monetize it somehow seems impossible to resist.

      Oh yes, have you “sized up” the on-air people on the current (has a cut-over date been finalized ?) WQXR – any of them have a personality or musical knowledge/taste that makes you want to see them survive the regime change?

    • Ed Townesend 4:32 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Feel free to NOT post this, but I think you might do well to (a) use a spell/grammar checker; or (b) read your stuff before or after posting; or (c) both.

      I actually wish I knew what this meant:
      “Whwen Brad asked me what I wanted on the new web site, I said a forum, not thing thing. I know, a forum needs to be moderated, so I was asking for the moon.”

      YOUR PASSION is so, so very much appreciated – your comparison to sports was another example of excellent writing – and, to its credit, that writing is almost always a little “unpredictable.” [Even this comment box has the smarts to flag typos as obvious as “whwen.”]

      And you reminded me of something – you said that a good blog has an auto-notify. Does yours? Am I blind, because I wish it did and think it doesn’t.

    • richardmitnick 4:44 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply


      I did see in print that a “WQXR” stream would continue. Of course it will be programmed by WNYC Music people. I cannot any longer remember just where I saw it. I don’t understand the non-compete thing. WQXR will be out of it, WNYC will do it. They will keep wnyc2 and do the WQXR stream. Hey, they could do ten streams if they so desired.

      I cannot say anything about traffic on streams. I did see at http://prpd.org (Public Radio Program Directors weblog) a figure of 140 million. But who knows how accurate, who knows what audiences it includes? There were no explanations.

      I tried the WGBH stream, the music was, as you might guess, not to my taste.

      I have zero knowledge about WQXR personnel. Laura Walker says they will be granted interviews. I hope that with day time music running for 14 hours from 5:00AM-7:00PM week days, and more than that on week-ends, I hope that if there are any really good people who can get with a programming regimen at WNYC, she does keep them.

    • richardmitnick 5:21 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply


      You are right about my typing. And, there is in WordPress a built in spell check.

      Brad Cresswell was one of the poeple at WNYC to whom I would send my nudgy emails. In some of them, i complained about features of the web site. When Brad was assigned to re-vamp the site, he sent me an email asking me to get everything I wanted together in one document. I labored over it as a Word document for four days, writing, re-writing and refining. I got it down to four web related and two non-web related requests.

      Here is the full exchange:

      “Hi Richard-

      Brad Cresswell from WNYC here. As we draw closer to our move to a new facility, we’re also doing some major upgrades and revisions to our technical capabilities in regards to the website (including a real blog for Evening Music). I know you’ve been pretty vocal about what needs to be upgraded on the site, and I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind sending me your personal gripe list all in one email. I’d like to push for those changes over the next few months as we move forward.

      Thanks and regards,


      Let me reiterate my appreciation of the fact that you would come to me with your question. While I am no longer a $40.00 per year member, having moved up to $120.00, I realize that my financial contribution to WNYC is peanuts.

      You asked about the web site. I want to take this opportunity to let you know everything I have to say and have said, from the standpoint of a
      music listener, about everything at WNYC. Then I will make six suggestions, two relating to non-web site subjects and four relating to the web site.

      First, I will certainly have no criticism of the music programming. What has happened with not only WNYC2 but also with the Monday-Thursday Evening
      Music is absolutely revolutionary. It has come to me that you are no small part of this success. The twin expressions of “non generic classical music” and
      “five hundred years of new music” are accurate for both music services. I am not leaving out David Garland. He is one of the towering giants of music
      on Public Radio. There is just nothing else I can say about what he does. I am not a fan of Spinning On Air, or the Ear-to-Ear programming, but I am sure that those segments have devoted listeners. David has always been aware of New Music. The orientation to more late twentieth century and current music on the regular music each evening is in my view good for the listener and it should be good for the station, especially the internet listeners. No other station is programming people like Osvaldo Golijov or Sir John
      Tavener. This means that in the internet market place, WNYC has no competitors. I never lose sight of the sociological dictum that the first responsibility of any institution is to survive. For WNYC that means
      member dollars, and a large enough membership to leverage for outside funding.

      Admittedly, my taste runs to Aaron Copland and later, Gorecki, Messiaen, Arvo Part, Mark O’Connor, both John Adams’. I believe that the global nature of the internet makes it a fertile place to look for member dollars. The New York Times reported a few months ago that KCRW’s second largest market is, you guessed it, New York City!!

      When WNYC cut out daytime music on FM after 9/11, we music listeners were forced out on our own. One could watch the Resonating Chamber shrink day by day. http://www.publicradiofan was a good source of information. In those days, Windows Media Player, Real Player, and Music Match all had links to a fair amount of music via links to various PubRadio and commercial stations. I found my way to and joined three stations: KUSC, WCNY, and WCPE. I developed good relationships at each of these stations. The programming was not really to my taste. I did try as a member to influence the music programming on these stations. Mostly, I failed. I believe that I was at least partially responsible for Alan Chapman’s Modern Masterpieces on KUSC. I believe I also influenced WCNY to get their bit rate up and to stream stereo. Once WNYC2 was up and running, I resigned those three memberships and diverted the
      money to WNYC.

      George Preston has been absolutely generous with his time in dealing with my crankitude. When we started, I owed $300.00 on my pledge of $500.00 over five years from when we bought the licenses from the city. That pledge was predicated upon my appreciation of the music. When the daytime music died after 9/11, I suspended payments on that pledge. I told George that we needed to see on the web site what was playing on WNYC2. We need to learn what the music is so that we can buy it and support the artists. If we
      have to wait for days for a playlist, our interest wanes. So, we got What’s Playing and I sent in some of the money. Then, I said we needed a crawl
      displayed in the players. When we got the crawl I finished off the payments.

      I must add in here that Sound Check is an absolute delight. I believe that John spends too much time with music that is not serious, but hey, it’s his call. I love the program.

      So, I believe that I have given quite a prelude to my suggestions.

      So, here are some of my suggestions. Everything I say is aimed at improving the listener/member experience, while at the same time driving toward making listeners into members. I believe that membership privileges the member to be crank, so, Here we go.

      First, the non-web site suggestions, just two:

      Bring back Hearts of Space at 11:00PM or mid-night on FM on Friday or Saturday night. Internet users can access http://www.hos.com for this source, so I am not suggesting it for WNYC2, although with some of the modularity you guys have done, like “New Sounds Undead”, you certainly make it fit. I have a long and good relationship with Stephen Hill. I have for myself two paid subscriptions to H.O.S., one at home and one at work. But H.O.S was one of the jewels in the “old” WNYC program line-up. For some time, we had it
      twice in a week- the current week program and the past week program. Then it was cut down to once a week and actually at one point shifted to 2:00AM Saturday morning. John S had been describing how WNYC recorded live concerts on betamax machines. So, I got the idea to buy a Hi-FI stereo VCR with Dolby, because VCR’s could be programmed to start and stop on a clock and one could record at line level from a stereo receiver. I was not going to stay up in the middle of the night to hear this music when I could time shift it. I
      told Stephen Hill what I was doing. I believe that WNYC needs H.O.S. to again embellish its offerings.

      During pledge drives, there is really no pitching for music. The music folks pitch for the talk shows, but no one pitches for music. I have complained about this in email and on the telephone. There is no pitching on WNYC2. This has been because it was ostensibly “experimental”. I hope that the experimental phase is over. I would like to hear pitching of some sort
      for WNYC2 on an ongoing basis in the station announcements, like “.this is WNYC2 from listener supported WNYC2. Please visit our web site and join or
      make a contribution….” And, I absolutely need to hear pitching for music on FM during pledge drives. From Brian, Lenny, Amy, Soterios, whoever is on.
      We need to remember the dictum that public radio is public, but it is not free. Also, Mary Daley’s use of the acronym WNYC=We Need Your Cash.

      Now, the web site suggestions, four in number:

      We need to have email addresses for on-air music hosts. At WPRB, in Princeton, listeners can telephone the on-air “d.j.” I do it all the time. I am not saying that we need this or should have this at WNYC. The stations are hardly the same. But we absolutely should be able to get email addresses for every music host. I have had a twenty-five year or so relationship
      with John Schaefer. When I recently reminded him of the broadcast premier of Reich’s Desert Music on a week-end show, he was amazed that I remembered
      it. But I had then taped the interview and just now recently digitized it and wanted to let him know. When I reminded him that on the Sound Check show
      celebrating the twentieth anniversary of New Sounds the Turtle Island guys had said basically, no New Sounds, no Turtle Island, he replied, “.You
      rock!!” I was able to email Lauren Rico during her brief duty, and Will Berger. But I could not get anything to Marsha Young. WNYC has always
      been as much a community as a PubRadio service. John sent me a copy of the Billboard newsprint when New Sounds was in their top ten musical events
      of the year. David Garland mailed me a page from a dictionary of Slavic pronunciations when I asked about the pronunciation of Gorecki. We need
      to be able to communicate with current technology. The last two things I mentioned were done via USPS. Today, it’s all digital. We need email
      addresses for on-air hosts.

      We need a proper forum, not just for music, but for the whole of WNYC. Every program, Brian, Lenny, John’s two programs Evening Music, all could be
      individual topics. There are forums all over the internet for all sorts of material. They enable all of us and embellish their subject. There is tons of forum software. Most of it is similar, allowing for a profile, a signature, notification of responses, etc. I had spoken to Alan in Listener Services about this. He had said, quite some time ago, that he thought
      something was in the works. But nothing has happened. That response thing that Terrance is using is fine for some programming, but it does not properly allow for interaction among the listeners. And, I must say,
      calling it a blog is just off the wall.

      WNYC FM 32kbit and 128kbit and WNYC2 had previously been up on Shoutcast. I think that is no longer the case. Also, all three need to be on iTunes,
      and in the list at Real Player. WMP is out. Previously, as I stated above, lots of PubRadio could be found on media players of all sorts. Slowly, this
      dropped away. But, the ones noted here do have links to the streams. WNYC needs to be on all of them. The least important is iTunes. There is just a link to a stream, no link to the web site. So, there is no direct chance of making the web site a destination. But, WNYC needs to be on iTunes in all three streams because everyone else important in PubRadio is there. At Shoutcast, and maybe you know this, the user gets a link to the web site. BTW, Shoutcast is a bit screwed up, Classical is for some reason under the Jazz heading. Real Player still has a sizeable if jumbled up list of PubRadio services. All streams need to be on all of these players and Shoutcast.

      The playlists for Evening Music should be able to update immediately upon the current selection finishing. We have this for WNYC2, we even have an
      RSS feed updating for WNYC2. KUSC has the immediate updating for their music programming. There is no technical reason for our not being able to have
      immediate access, delaying only to the end of the piece to comply fully with DRM rules. I don’t believe that you need it, but the fellow at KUSC
      currently covering such stuff is Jamie Paisley, email jpaisley@kusc.org.

      So, that’s pretty much it. I did this over a number of hours, saving the document and then coming back and reviewing, hoping for more clarity and
      trying to be complete.

      We have
      -Pitching for music on FM during pledge drives and pitching on WNYC2
      pledge drives and at least some station announcements.
      -Email the host.
      -A proper forum.
      -Make sure WNYC’s three music streams are on Shoutcast and in the players’ lists.
      -Playlists for FM that update immediately after the piece plays.

      Not a big list.

      Thanks so much for giving me this opportunity to try to make a contribution to the effort. I know that you will put this stuff into the mix of ideas and that you, all of you, will do a good job on the web site.


      Hi Richard-

      Thanks for this, very helpful. As you’re well aware, things do progress
      slowly – but hopefully, they’ll progress surely.

      -Brad ”

      Egad!! What an ego.

      Regarding the “notify”, I don’t think so. I thought that there was an RSS button for responses, but I do not see one. I don’t know what is on your end. Do you have to enter an email address to respond? Do you get an email notification if I reply to you? My guess is that you do not get an email.

    • Ed Townesend 7:33 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I’m going to guess that you are printing that “dialog” for the first time. It’s an eye-opener on several levels.

      I think it’s funny that you recently derided (gently, perhaps) some poster who said, “We’ve got to write to the FCC” with a “Why waste the energy?!” … But I thought that WNYC was even more isolated and un-listening. You almost demonstrate that this is false. (This next deals with the snide-sounding “almost.”)

      I wonder if you could (a) supply a date – WHEN you gave them your excellent input; and (b) [I do not know the answer, I hasten to say] indicate whether any of your requests have gotten action.

      And with that, I’ll go back to “lurk” status, being sure to wish you all good things. Except to note the irony that YOU asked for pitching on WNYC2, and I think that they should follow the Amazon approach – even 5 years of sacrificing revenue for habituation makes sense if you then have enough lifetime customers – and ones who’ll recruit their friends.

    • richardmitnick 8:57 pm on August 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply


      My email to Brad was on 3.27.08. Did I get any of what I wanted?
      Hearts of Space – no, not yet.

      Pitching for music on FM- I have to say yes. It is better. Am I delighted with it? No. I want Brian and Lenny pitching for Evening Music and Overnight Music. But, I will keep plugging, keep the message positive.

      Pitching on wnyc2 – only during pledge drives, which is ridiculous. I like Krista Tippett’s “Speaking of Faith”. I get mp3 downloads manually if I want the week’s program. She pitches for support at the beginning of every download. That is what I want on wnyc2, basically, ” it costs money to provide this service, you use the service, you should support it “, obviously in professional phraseology, and at the beginning of each and every time me or anyone else links up to listen.

      On air music hosts do have email addresses now. That probably has little to do with me.

      Forums – no, we had the comment boxes they call a “blog”, all we got that was new was the little message to refresh the comments page after a bit to see your comment or others that follow. Sucks.

      Shoutcast – yes. This is important, because at Shoutcast, the streamers have a link to their websites. I think in iTunes they do not. Also,WGBH, WETA, and KCRW, all big time PubRadio stations are there.

      [A little extra vignette: When WNYC cut out day time music on FM, and before wnyc2, I used http://www.publicradiofan.com to find new outlets. I joined three stations. At one station, I got really “friendly” with the president. When wnyc2 went on line, I moved all of my member dollars to WNYC. But, I still corresponded with this president. Somewhere along the line, I tried iTunes, which I very soon quit. But, they did have a huge radio section. Just links to players, I think. Every important PubRadio outlet was there, but not this station. I wrote to the president and said, hey, you need to be on iTunes, not because I think it is good, which I do not, no link to the station web site; but because all of your peers are there. Well, they were on iTunes in less than 48 hours.]

      Evening Music playlists – no, and there is no reason for this. WPRB and KUSC update as soon as a piece is finished.

      Thanks, you said you are done, I hope that if you think of anything more to add to the mix that you will bring it on to the Comments.

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