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Coda for the Classics: Public Radio's Failed Mission

The impending death of Washington's last remaining outlet for classical music is a tragedy primarily because of what happened almost two years ago, when public WETA dropped the classics in favor of a news/talk format almost identical to that of its main competitor, WAMU.

As today's column details, the news last week that the owner of WGMS (104.1 FM), Bonneville Corp., is going to sell the station to Washington Redskins' owner Dan Snyder drives the final nail in the coffin of classical music broadcasting in the D.C. region. WETA (90.9 FM) dropped the classics in February 2005, with station executives arguing that there was a large audience in the Washington area that craved more news and foreign affairs programming.

"People were angry -- still are -- and I understand that," Dan DeVany, general manager of the station and architect of the switch, told me last year at this time. "But there was an audience in the Washington area that was not being served by public radio, and we wanted to reach out to them."

WETA's new format has so far been something of a bust in the ratings. Station managers concede they've been on the receiving end of angry diatribes from ex-listeners ever since the switchover. But WETA has gamely tried to make a go of a station that emphasizes programming from the BBC, along with the same National Public Radio news magazines that have long been heard on WAMU (88.5 FM). WETA this year added its first local news program, an hour of talk at 11 each morning.

Now, with the area losing its commercial classical station--which WETA officials had cited as a major reason it felt free to kill off the classics--will WETA see the error of its ways and return to providing a unique public service rather than a bunch of programs that are already on its competing public station?

Short answer: No.

WETA is committed to the notion that public radio's future is in news and talk, in good part because those listeners tend to donate more money than music listeners.

The city's two major public outlets claim they are each charging ahead with their nearly identical missions without regard to what the other is doing. But some programming changes that go into effect today show that WAMU and WETA are all about their own competition.

WAMU is dropping NPR's "Talk of the Nation" because, station spokesman Kay Summers says, it's one more phone-in talk show coming after the station's two locally-produced shows, the Diane Rehm and Kojo Nnamdi shows, and "it was just too much programming in a row that was too similar." WAMU is replacing "Talk of the Nation" with "Fresh Air," the NPR interview show hosted by Terri Gross, from Philadelphia.

Interestingly, "Fresh Air" will now air at 2 p.m. on WAMU, conveniently just before WETA's 3 p.m. airing of the same show. Similarly, WAMU is adding the BBC news program, "The World," at 7 p.m., ahead of WETA's 9 p.m. broadcast of the same show.

Protests by WAMU and WETA officials that they are trying to serve their audience rather than focus on competing against the other guy just don't add up. NPR spokesman Andi Sporkin notes that Washington was actually one of the markets where "Talk of the Nation" was one of the top 10 rated public radio shows. And Sporkin says WAMU officials told NPR "they had no problem with the show but, instead, were seeking to make some schedule changes as competitive moves to WETA's schedule."

Elsewhere in the country, "Talk of the Nation" is growing, with 285 stations carrying the show now, compared to 244 in early 2004. With this move, Washington becomes the only big city market that has two or more public radio stations but does not provide listeners with "Talk of the Nation."

The duplication of programming between WAMU and WETA reflects one of the main complaints that the National Endowment for the Arts made about public radio in a recent study of the decline of classical music on the nation's radio stations. The tendency of public stations to offer similar menus of news and talk has led to a dramatic drop in classical, jazz and other music programming.

Washington will now become the largest city in the country with no classical music on the radio at all. Listeners will have no choice but to look to pay satellite radio for the classics--or for many other genres of music. XM Satellite Radio quickly sent out press notices touting its three channels of classical music, programmed by several refugees from the old WETA, including Martin Goldsmith, Paul Bachman and Robert Aubrey Davis.

But as excellent as the classical programming is on satellite radio, that doesn't relieve public radio of its obligation to provide programming that--as the Redskins-WGMS deal shows--will not be offered by commercial radio. WETA should swallow its pride and go back to the programming that truly fulfills a public need.

By Marc Fisher |  December 12, 2006; 8:06 AM ET
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Comments

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Yet more confirmation that I was right to give up on radio a few years ago. The real difficulty with classical music programming is that classical musical selections tend to be too long-- classical program can't be interrupted by ads every three minutes-- and running ten minutes of ads every fifteen minutes drives away listeners. Too bad for music lovers.

Posted by: Matt | December 12, 2006 8:16 AM

I have a great idea. Dan Snyder can buy up all the libraries and turn them into video arcades and iPOD listening parlors. The books? I guess just burn them.

Posted by: Bill | December 12, 2006 8:36 AM

Bonneville and Snyder are giving avarice a bad name. It's one thing to pursue wealth at any cost but when that cost includes the loss of a cultural icon, the loss to the community is incalculable. I've stuck with WGMS even after they moved their signal because the only other sources I have, XM Satellite Radio's two classics stations, have no personality.

Phooey to Bonneville and Dan Snyder.

Posted by: Bob | December 12, 2006 8:37 AM

The following are Bonneville International email addresses for voicing comments directly to BIC:

Management@bonnint.com - Comments for BIC's executives

Info@bonnint.com - Questions and Answers

Legal@bonnint.com - Legal Issues and Questions

Engineering@bonnint.com - Engineering and Technical Questions

Acct@bonnint.com - Accounting and Finance Questions

I had to go back six years to find them.

Posted by: Jack S. | December 12, 2006 8:46 AM

I don't think public radio in DC serves its listeners well, with some exceptions (locally produced shows on WAMU and WPFW, for example). For anyone who likes classical music: 91.5 WBJC in Baltimore can be picked up in most of the area, including where I live in Northern Virginia.

Posted by: disappointed | December 12, 2006 9:09 AM

Marc, thank you for writing about the revised programming of WAMU and WETA. I hate the changes. I used to think I was so lucky to have 2 local public radio stations. I always loved the classical music on WETA. I grew to love the bluegrass on WAMU. And the news programs were my number one source of news (along with the Post, of course). But now the music is practically gone except on weekends, and during my commutes my listening choice is between news and news. It is too much. And a lot of the programming isn't all that interesting. The powers that be at the 2 stations are now only trying to keep and enlarge their own jobs (and paychecks). They are not serving the public interest. They should merge their 2 stations and offer the news on 1 channel and music on the other.

Posted by: Becky | December 12, 2006 9:11 AM

My membership to and support of WETA stopped when it dropped classical music.
We have a need to be enriched by classical music, not to be bombarded by more babble from talking heads. Especially when the babble is repeated throughout the day between WAMU and WETA.

If and when WETA brings back classical music to the Washington area, they will again earn my monetary support.

Posted by: Christine | December 12, 2006 9:13 AM

Washington cannot be considered a world-class city if we no longer can look forward to Beethoven on the radio.

The article mentioned the regrettable decision of the public radio station WETA that the best music of Western culture is not important for the public to be exposed to. I have lived outside of Manhattan, New York and Manhattan, Montana; in both locations I enjoyed a balance of news and classical music on my public radio. Only in DC is endless palaver droning on about minutia the norm - after all it is a politician's town.

Mr. Snyder is financially successful but arrogant. His decision to enhance his view at the expense of all the C & O canal visitors is well known. Attending a Redskins game is a chance for him to gouge the fans with overpriced parking, tickets, and food. If he cannot get us in his stadium, he will censor the airwaves and force us to listen to his team and commentaries about it by has-been athletes. Rather than listening to clear winners that have stood the test of time, like Mozart and Bach, we will hear about a losing football team.

Perhaps the situation will be righted when the children of today, raised on "Baby Mozart" to stimulate their intelligence, grow up, revolt, and take back the airwaves.

Posted by: andrew boyd | December 12, 2006 9:15 AM

I gave up on WGMS years ago. As a commercial classical music station, the emphasis appears to be on "commercial", at least during rush hour when I'm most likely to have the radio on.

Years ago, they went from playing entire works of music, to just one movement at a time, and then to playing just bleeding chunks of music: "Here's some music from the finale of..." is a warning that we're going to fade into the piece, and likely fade out as well.

Sorry, I see this as no big loss. Maybe I'll get an HD radio so I can listen to actual music instead of commercials with occasional musical interruptions.

Posted by: Bernie in Alexandria | December 12, 2006 9:22 AM

I'm with Bernie -- I too gave up on WGMS quite a while ago, when actual music was reduced to snippets between ads, and the announcers were just too cutesy-poo for words.

WETA lost my support and membership when it canned classical music; if that weren't enough, the abrupt departure of Bob Edwards from Morning Edition put the final nail in the coffin.

Snyder's impending purchase of WGMS is no great loss in and of itself, but when a person with lots of money and no class kills off the last vestige of classical music, it's a sad spectacle. I guess I'll just have to start listening to WMZQ.

Posted by: AJs in Arlington | December 12, 2006 9:35 AM

This won't help anybody who listens to radio only while driving, but there are so many stations online that one can easily find music or programming that is better than what the DC area's radio stations, PBS or commercial, have to offer.

Posted by: HenryK | December 12, 2006 9:36 AM

Why pick on Snyder? Commercial radio is forced to adjust to listener preferences by the market, and unnecessary duplication is punished by the market as well. Public radio isn't subject to the same forces.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2006 9:46 AM

WGMS was about to launch two HD stations so that longer pieces could be played. That will not happen if the sale goes through. Some classical music is better than none.

Telephone numbers of interest:
Joel Oxley, Bonneville Manager in DC: 202-895-5000 - just ask for him and they put me through - voicemail picked up.

Bonneville corporate offices: 801-575-7500. (Bonneville styles itself as
a "Values driven company" - I think the LDS Church does not want to be known for greed as a value, especially given that WGMS is a profitable venture).

FCC Audio Division: 202-418-2700.

Posted by: CC | December 12, 2006 9:55 AM

If Snyder suceeds in this, in my view he will be Washington's #1 villain. What a _____! He's the ultimate example of the crass I-can-afford-it-so-it's-right mentality. I hardly care much about the Redskins now, given their performance of the last decade. If WGMS goes, I will hate the team forever. Go Cowboys! Go Giants! Go Eagles!

Posted by: Dan | December 12, 2006 9:55 AM

I'm a regular poster on the Redskins Insider blog, and a Redskins fan since I was a kid, but Dan Snyder has gone too far! I like WGMS, I like to listen to classical music from time to time, and it upset me when they were moved from 103.5 to 104.1 in the first place (104.1 is hit and miss where I live). Now they want to axe it altogether? Why??? Why doesn't Snyder focus on fixing the problems with the Redskins instead of trying to buy up all the stations in the market to broadcast their mediocre games? I for one don't really like to listen to Sonny and Sam sit there and bash the Redskins for 3 hours.

Posted by: bandwagon blues | December 12, 2006 9:56 AM

I hate WETA. Hate hate hate. They have given up all their responsibility to the community. You listening, WETA? I grew up on you. I woke up to Bill Cerri every morning. I'm now a young person who likes my NPR. But I like my classical music even more, and I hate you. It just ain't right.

Posted by: h3 | December 12, 2006 10:02 AM

I used to be a Redskins fan, but no more. I will be happy if they remain in the NFC East cellar for years to come. It will be what Dan Snyder has coming to him. What a jerk!

Posted by: Al | December 12, 2006 10:03 AM

I agree with the comments mourning the likely loss of classical music on the radio, but the Post is a fine one to complain -- it did a major disservice to classical fans years ago when it cancelled Tim Page's biweekly Live Online chats. Being able to pick the brain of such a knowledgeable yet accessible writer was a delight, and is still missed by some of us.

Posted by: No, I'm Not Tim Page | December 12, 2006 10:05 AM

I am greatly distressed with the impending loss of classical music on the FM dial, especially in those times in which I am driving. There is nothing like serene classical music to get one through a major traffic stoppage.

I put it to management at Bonnefile, thanks to the email addresses contributed by another poster, that losing classical music on the Washington area FM dial would be somewhat equivalent to Salt Lake City losing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir - an irreparable loss. As Bonneville is located in Utah, perhaps they will listen.

I was and continue to be furious at WETA's poaching the format of WAMU. Since it did so, it has gone into a serious decline. Dan DeVany's misjudgment on what the Washington area needs in an NPR format is costing thousands of us the last link to classical music civilization on our radios. Shame upon him - he listens no better than Bush! If WETA ever gets rid of Mary Cliff, I will never give WETA another penny.

I don't blame Snyder much, (he is who he is) but I do wonder if Bonneville might be open to an offer made by the WGMS audience itself ...do you think that might be possible?I As one who has always been ready to support WGMS advertisers , I wonder if a private/public combination offer might work? Let's work to find a decent solution. Bring on the lawyers1

Posted by: Susan Meehan | December 12, 2006 10:06 AM

If our tax dollars can fund a stadium, they can fund a classical music station.

Posted by: Tomcat | December 12, 2006 10:07 AM

I applaud your article in todays Post. Other than initially reporting the impending demise of WGMS, the Washington Post has been silent regarding this matter. No Letters to the Editor, no editorial comment, no related articles. I realize that money talks, particularly in this town, but the proposed acquisition of WGMS by Daniel Snyder from Bonneville for the reasons intended, is a shameful display of lack of corporate conscience.

Posted by: Milt Margolis | December 12, 2006 10:13 AM

I agree with you and those of your readers who rightly condemn the greed of Snyder and Bonneville and the short-sightedness of WETA management. The additional Brit accents aren't really an inducement to listen. I suppose continued audience erosion, no matter how rationalized, may eventually turn around WETA. I also hope, somehow, that this Snyder-Bonneville deal is called off. Perhaps someone local with deep pockets could buy WGMS and save it from the Boneheaded Bonnevilles.

Posted by: Eric Levin | December 12, 2006 10:28 AM

Dan Snyder has done us all a favor by replacing this "classical" music which no one really wants to listen to (why do you think there are so few stations?) with some lively sports talk, which actually attracts listeners.

Thanks, Mr. Snyder!

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 10:30 AM

Classical music lovers:

Listen up! Way up -- XM Satellite Radio and Sirius.

Stop bashing Dan Snyder, and solve your own problems.

Posted by: Two Suggestions | December 12, 2006 10:35 AM

To not have classical music in the nation's capitol is abhorrent! Bonneville and Dan Snyder should be ashamed of themselves - Bonneville for being so greedy and Dan for being so self-centered. This is a travesty to lose WGMS!

Posted by: sbf | December 12, 2006 10:37 AM

The impending sale and loss of WGMS as a classical music broadcaster only strengthens the point that WETA and, to a lesser extent, WAMU, are not serving underserved markets - which is supposed to be their mission. Those stations provide nothing diffent than what the private sector, in the form of WTOP, Washington Post Radio and WMAL and other news/talk radios provide, at no public expense.

The comment about Bill Cerri made me feel nostalgic. He was a great radio personality. For those who don't remember, Bill Cerri died with his boots on, broadcasting classical music, during his am show.

Posted by: Annandale VA | December 12, 2006 10:38 AM

This is a travesty, not only because we will no longer hear classical music on Washington radio, but also because it will impact all of the performing arts. WGMS is the primary outlet for advertising concerts and other cultural events in DC. They also run numerous arts and education programs to enrich the community. Their absence will leave a huge gap in the cultural landscape of DC.

I've just lost my last reason to listen to commercial radio and would gladly subscribe to an online version of WGMS. Mr. Snyder, however, has seen his last penny from me.

Posted by: Christine | December 12, 2006 10:41 AM

I agree that the villain here is WETA, not Synder, whom I loathe, or Bonneville. After all, they are just in business. But WETA is a public station that callously betrayed not only long-time listeners and supporters but the arts. What I miss is the programming that combined classical concerts and commentary, like Performance Today and Symphony Cast, which were entertaining and educational. If you want to hear what great arts radio can be, listen to BBC3 on the web.

Posted by: peter | December 12, 2006 10:47 AM

This crap about it all being a matter of dwindling listenership and market is crap. Anyone who reads the financial page knows that companies are driven as much by perceived market as by real demand. There are plenty of classical listeners around. The problem is that classical radio appeals to educated, older listeners, who (despite the fact that they DO buy things) aren't a "sexy" demographic.

Posted by: market, schmarket | December 12, 2006 10:52 AM

The admonition to "just get XM or Sirius" is missing the point. If there is no classical music on the FREE airwaves, people whose lives could be enriched by the classics -- but who don't have much money -- will have no access, no thrill of serendipitous discovery when they turn the radio dial.

Yeah, I have XM in my car, but I find myself listening to it for rock rather than classical. (Honestly, I like all types of music except for some of the country-western stuff.)

I too gave up sending money to WETA after the changeover, but I feel rather guilty because I still enjoy Mary Cliff's excellent "Traditions" show on Saturday night. I wish there was a way to support just that one show.

Posted by: Greenbelt Gal | December 12, 2006 11:13 AM

I, too, am sorry to see the probable demise of the classical music offered by WGMS in favor of Dan Snyder's desire to boost his presence in our lives a bit further. If, as Marc Fisher's article says, the audiences for professional sports and the performing arts are remarkably similar, why are we facing this either/or choice of football or classical music in the first place? Why can't we get both? Surely the executives in the Bonneville and Snyder organizations are smart enough to figure out how to do that.

Posted by: Dick Riegel | December 12, 2006 11:23 AM

Public radio stations used to be about excellence in the arts as well as excellence in the news. Personally, I'm an almost-24-hour-a-day listener to WAMU, except on weekends when I listen to Prairie Home, Mary Cliff, and Bob Edwards' Weekend, all on WETA.

WETA ought to balance WAMU's public affairs preeminence with a reorientation to the Arts, meaning classical music on weekdays, as well as other types of cultural programming on weekends.

WAMU ought to consider going back to its original approach to airing All Things Considered later in the afternoon; that would give it time to air The World, Talk of the Nation, and Fresh Air (and let WETA air ATC earlier in the afternoon, just as it did 20 or so years ago).

This isn't really about Dan Snyder, it's about the public airwaves that WE are supposed to own, and how they ought to be used for our benefit.

Posted by: Rocco | December 12, 2006 11:27 AM

Greenbelt Gal,

Come on, honey, do you really think that the world is entitled to "free classical music" on the radio? If so, why aren't enough people listening to it so that it can turn a profit off advertising?

As for your notion that it should be there for "people whose lives could be enriched by the classics -- but who don't have much money" don't you understand market schmarket's point that "There are plenty of classical listeners around. The problem is that classical radio appeals to educated, older listeners"? Classical music is, and always has been, for affluent people, not the homeless poor who would be uplifted by more Bach.

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 11:28 AM

The abandonment of music by WAMU (bluegrass and Americana) and WETA (classical) parallels the almost complete abandonment of musical and cultural programming by NPR itself, which discontinued Performance Today and has quietly axed other original arts programming in the past few years. It's a source of great sadness to tmany of the folks who work at NPR, but at least American Public Radio is still putting out some original stuff.

What's interesting here is that, if a commercial station that changed format found that the change caused a drop in their Arbitron numbers and advertising dollars, the station management would go, "Whoops!" and find a new, or bring back the old, format. Only on listener supported radio like WETA can station management afford to be so pigheaded.

Posted by: Jack | December 12, 2006 11:31 AM

Isn't there someway that we can retain classical music in the DC area?

There might be a subscription approach, or some who could underwrite this important service.

Fisher's article points out the problems and that is fine.

Can anybody think of solutions?

Posted by: Len | December 12, 2006 11:32 AM

Marc, you're right. And so are the readers who put the blame on public radio. Washington was blessed with a commercial classical station (which has survived as long as it has through a combination of good luck and a desire for community image--plus the fact that a former owner, RKO, was in such deep hot water with the FCC), but commercial pressures are such that it is unrealistic not to expect a station owner to go where the money and attractive demos are. The villains are WAMU (puh-lease: putting your bluegrass on streaming audio and second HD channel is pretty lame) and WETA (I've got a great programming idea: let's duplicate everything our competitor is doing), but also NPR, which has no limit on the number of stations that can carry its programming in the same market.

BTW, my mourning the loss of Bob Edwards on NPR is tempered by the fact that he clearly had lost interest in his work and was merely "phoning it in" for the final few years. When he interviewed someone, you could tell he was reading someone else's notes off a page.

Posted by: Arlington | December 12, 2006 11:34 AM

Len,

Yes, we can retain classical music in DC by subscription. It's called Satellite Radio. You pay a monthly fee and you can listen all you want, commercial free! Give it a try and you'll realize what you've been missing.

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 11:35 AM

A few thoughts here:

1) Now Dan Snyder has messed up two icons of the Washington area.

2) more importantly, broadcast radio has been lamenting that they're bleeding listeners to iPods, streaming radio (which is excellent), satellite radio, and a host of other alternatives.

So what is their alternative? They're going to all go to talk and put lots of commercials on. Then they'll sit around and say "we're only giving the people what they want".

Here's a clue for any of you radio "executives": the smart/rich people have all left you guys. The people who are left are the ones who are either too old or too poor to afford an alternative.

So that's what you'll have to sell to your advertisers: Too Old and Too Dumb.

But it's your fault. You did your best to drive listeners away. In the last 10 years, you've forced your listeners to go away with all the commercials, talk, and corporate blandness.

And to the owners of WGMS... when you pass from this earth some day, I'm sure you'll mention to St. Peter that you were proud of the way you made a few bucks by turning WGMS into a sports talker. You sicken me.

Posted by: Bunkley | December 12, 2006 11:36 AM

Buy an IPOD listen to what you want.

Posted by: VWAllen | December 12, 2006 11:39 AM

Here's an idea: 1. Find a good public radio station in another city that plays classical music (WCPE in Wake Forest, NC as an example - www theclassicalstation dot org.) 2. Enjoy their live online streaming radio. 3. When their pledge time rolls around, send them a check, and thank them for their commitment to classical music. Let them know that you are a web-based listener from DC who cannot get classical music here, and that's why you are supporting them. 4. cc the management at WETA your support letter for the out-of-town station.

Posted by: ML | December 12, 2006 11:43 AM

An interesting bunch of comments from musical Washingtonians. Frankly, I've never found the place all that culturally sophisticated -- most Washingtonians are interested in one thing: politics.

WGMS is already as good as dead. This is its own fault (or that of its parent company). When you present such a mediocre selection of watered-down art, good luck staying viable. In many ways, I think Snyder should be applauded for ripping the band-aid off and getting this whole maudlin process over with.

One fight that should be continued, I think, is bluegrass programing on WAMU. This was something truly unique and actually reflected some of our area's history, rather than appealing to the broad base of temporary residents that flood in and out of DC with the swaying tide of each election.

Posted by: WHUTKE | December 12, 2006 11:45 AM

The Public Radio situation in Washington is to some degree the result of voters/taxpayers electing people who feel that there should be a private sector solution to everything. Taxpayer support of public broadcasting hasn't kept pace and in return the FCC has eased restrictions on the commercial nature of the enterprise, throwing stations into the market where they increasingly have to manage by the rules of that marketplace. They program what people will support financially.

This whining about the state of public radio is akin to folks wanting property tax cuts and then being "shocked" by the shorter hours at recreational facilities, less frequent trash pickups etc.

Posted by: CW | December 12, 2006 11:48 AM

A big problem in the DC area is the lack of a *real* college radio station. In most locales, college stations view training as a part of their mandate, and in exchange allow more adventurous programming. In DC the college stations seem to be run as professional operations, and are out to make a buck just like the big guys.

Posted by: JM | December 12, 2006 11:59 AM

I am so happy to read the WETA's ratings have dropped since they dropped classical. I have decided to never give them another dime of money. Not just because of what they did to radio, but because of the continuing decline of their TV station. I am a big fan of the show As Time Goes By. I can't tell you how many times their idiot announcer cuts off the last line or lines of dialog to tell you what's coming up next! I thought public tv was supposed to be classy, caring about the art, the viewer? Hogwash. They prove this isn't so everyday. I am also angry at the way the take off programs randomly. To the Manor Born comes and goes with no warning. Why start to watch something and have it disappear? So, farewell public radio and TV... you are doing a good job of serving NO ONE!

Posted by: DCLO | December 12, 2006 12:04 PM

KK, you don't get outside of your affluent demographic much, do you? Since when do people have to be rich to enjoy classical music? Or is that poor people have to restrict themselves to hip-hop and Britney Spears? Oh, the stereotypes.

(Hint hint: Even people from "affluent" families can find themselves on a tight budget when they're in graduate school, or if they choose a worthwhile profession like schoolteaching.)

For the record, I come from quite the blue-collar family, first to go to college and all that, and in high school I drove my parents equally batty with Mozart and the Who. And I certainly didn't learn about Mozart from my classmates. No, it was from radio dial-surfing.

Posted by: Greenbelt Gal | December 12, 2006 12:05 PM

While Snyder's purchase of WGMS is a shame, I don't resent him nearly as much as I loathe Dan Devany and his ilk, who represent the worst tendencies of public radio managers. I don't understand why Devany is in public radio at all - his market-driven approach seems far more suited to commercial media than public radio. I migrated from WGMS to WETA when I got tired of listening to 10 minutes of commercials for every full-length symphony. And I thought that was exactly the mission of public radio - to broadcast the music that wasn't commercially viable. The similarities between the market-driven approaches of Dan S and Dan D are striking, though of course the ratings now show that Dan D is not only a donation-grubbing worm but also a fool - his commercial gamble didn't pay off for WETA.

Dan Devany and Dan Snyder have a lot in common besides their first names. At least Dan S doesn't pretend to serve the public good.

Posted by: Cameron | December 12, 2006 12:10 PM

WGMS is the only consistently good radio station in DC. I can always count on them when every other radio station is either gabbing or playing pop-crap. If this goes through, I will be very disappointed. WBJC is iffy in Northern VA, but it will be all we have left. Poor Beethoven, Bach, Brahms and the rest.

Posted by: Vince | December 12, 2006 12:17 PM

Greenbelt Gal--

I don't get out of my demographic much, and no one in it listens to classical music. No one. Bluegrass, yes. Rock, yes. Oldies, yes. But classical? No one. And that seems to be the problem for classical stations, doesn't it?

So, I rely on others in the affluent group, like market schmarket to tell me about it. And they tell me it's educated affluent geezer types.

And you don't seem to know much about what constitutes affluent. You don't think school teachers or college students are affluent? Where do you draw the line then? They certainly make enough to pay for satellite radio.

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 12:17 PM

Arlington makes a salient point about duplication. It was WETA who started breaking with the collegiality with WAMU when it started broadcasting Morning Edition.

Since then, it seems to me, there is now a duplication of effort in a spirit of competition instead of serving the public. And there's no more intense competition that will be coming along than at 11 a.m. Saturdays when Wait Wait Don't Tell Me goes up against This American Life ... and WAMU programs TAL at the noon hour, just after Wait Wait.

Do we really need Terry Gross twice a day? Farai Chideya twice a day? What about other voices that we no longer hear, such as Weekend America? Am I going to have to go north of Columbia Mall to be able to hear Michael Feldman?

And why hasn't anybody brought The Annoying Music Show here to the area?

To me, the WAMU shakeup is partially Rehm-centered --- to be able to get the second Diane Rehm Show hour on Fridays to be rebroadcast in the evening. Olney gets shifted to the afternoon.

I predict, however, that Terry Gross in the 2 o'clock hour will get subsumed by Farai and/or Michele Martin's new show. Why? There's always Terry at 3 ...

Posted by: Some thoughts here. | December 12, 2006 12:19 PM

NOOOOO!!!!

Where am I supposed to go to avoid glurgy, irritating, synth-pop Christmas "music" next year??

(I know, I know... I guess it's XM or Sirius. But shouldn't there be ONE place on the radio that plays Christmas music involving real instruments and trained singers??)

Posted by: Aimily | December 12, 2006 12:34 PM

Also, for the people who are angry at WETA (and I include myself), I don't actually think Dan DeVany is the one to direct your anger at. I believe this all came from Sharon Percy Rockefeller, the president/CEO, and her board of yes-persons. Marc, is that right? Dan DeVany is stuck implementing it, because he's the manager, but I don't think it would have been his first choice.

I'm kind of guessing here, though, so someone with actual reporting (Marc?) should chime in.

Posted by: h3 | December 12, 2006 12:45 PM

So there are many problems with this situation with WGMS, WETA, WAMU, etc... dare I say WHFS... but who among you have not seen this coming. Through the wonders of media consolidation (both locally and US-wide) and greed we have lost much of our journalistic huzpah, radio has turned into repeaters for whatever 10 songs industry stays is popular, variety is on the downswing and commercials are on the up....and everyones answer is 'buy' XM/Sirius or an IPOD??

Sure, ok. Lets give up ownership of our 'public' airwaves, all become insular beings tied to our white ear-bud leashes (and I like IPODs) or tied monetarily to companies that will likely be just as greedy as the 'public' airwave companies we all disparrage now.

Is there an answer? Yes. But you must turn off your TV every so often (or permanently), participate in society by voting and paying attention to your surroundings, use the critical thinking part of our brains, and hold individuals, government and industry accountable for their actions. Do we have it in us as a nation?

To quote M.Ghandi, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world."

Posted by: c | December 12, 2006 12:49 PM

I recently reurned to the boondocks after spending 16 years in Washington, DC. I was a regular listener to WUDC, the area's only jazz station (not that Kenny-G stuff offered down the dial) and WGMS. WUDC went off the air in aboutr 1994. Now it's WGMS.

But here is the surprise...I moved to St. Louis, Missouri this year(although not back to 5133 Kensington Avenue,next door to Esther Smith at 5133). Here in the outlands of the Midwest we have a fulltime jazz station (WSIE) and a fulltime commericial classical station (KFUO). We are able to have these fine statons despite there being three sports talk stations. Apparently when it comes to radio, us rubes out here have it better that you guys!

Posted by: John Truett | December 12, 2006 12:53 PM

I grew up in Cleveland, attending performances of one of the world's great orchestras and listening to WCLV-FM, a commercial radio station with some of the best classical music programming in the country. Now I find myself in the nation's capital, with no first-rate orchestra of its own and now no classical music station either. D.C. may consider itself to be a major city and a cosmopolitan center of world civilization, but in the world of classical music, it is fast becoming nothing but a pathetic, provincial backwater.

Posted by: lydgate | December 12, 2006 12:59 PM

To c--

Okay, I don't like what they play on WAMU. I liked the bluegrass stuff better. So, what's your solution?

"You must turn off your TV every so often (or permanently), participate in society by voting and paying attention to your surroundings, use the critical thinking part of our brains, and hold individuals, government and industry accountable for their actions."

Doesn't it just seem easier to listen to XM radio? What are you doing out there in the boondocks that caused you to become untethered from reality?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2006 1:03 PM

Lots of good points here, but as someone who's not a classical music fan, I'm not that broken up.
But I think it's appalling that WAMU is dropping TOTN.
Neal Conan is a lively, intelligent interviewer, who gets some pretty influential DC folk on the show. Always fun to hear him AND callers ask questions.
Too bad no one will be able to hear them in town.

Posted by: seaton | December 12, 2006 1:20 PM

The so-called demise of classical music is just like the demise of good television -- The masses vote with their radio dials (or TV remotes) and the programming execs respond. No one owes the public anything.

Posted by: GDR | December 12, 2006 1:34 PM

As a lister of WGMS in its current format, I am saddened by the news of its purchase by Snyder. I think Mr. Fisher's article is right on the money. Bonneville isn't "losing" money on WGMS, but actually is turning a profit. Arguments that there is no market for classical music are bogus. Like with free agents, Snyder is offering them so much money that they have to at least think long and hard about selling.
I plan to hit, in my own humble way, them where it hurts. I won't listen to yet another sports talk radio show and will continue to boycott going to Skins games. Yes, it isn't much, but what else can I do. If enough people stop making Snyder rich off his football team, then he might have to rethink his position in the community and responsibilities to the fans to not overcharge us with a mediocre product.

Posted by: WFN | December 12, 2006 1:42 PM

It is a tragedy that WGMS is going off the air. Yes, one can get more complete performances on XM Radio (to which I subscribe as I travel a lot) and Sirius. However, they are not LOCAL stations, with all the community work, advertising, services, and connections that that term implies. While WGMS is not what is was when I came here to college 25-30 years ago (alas), it sure beats having nothing at all. Shame on Snyder and Bonneville for not trying to work out something reasonable that could accommodate both sides.

Posted by: Kevin | December 12, 2006 1:44 PM

WFN,

Wow, you're going to ruin Snyder! You're really not going to go to the Redskins games? Does that mean you're (1) giving up your season tickets, (2) selling the tickets to others for a handsome profit, or (3) taking your name off the 20,000 person waiting list for season tickets?

And you're not going to listen to his radio station? Considering that you listen now to classical music, how will it hurt him if you don't switch to sports talk?

I think you've really got him where it hurts, you shrewd business-wrecker! Why don't you also boycott Six Flags, or haven't you been going there either?

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 1:53 PM

Whoops! That reminds me. My XM Radio subscription includes online access and during the month of December there are several stations dedicated to commercial-free X-mas music! Gotta go!

Posted by: jaredd | December 12, 2006 1:53 PM

Kevin,

A tragedy is like Hamlet or Oedipus. WHFS going off the air is not a tragedy. It's progress.

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 2:02 PM

I guess I am naive and believed that public radio and television stations were to provide arts, education and entertainment that was off the commercially beaten path. I won't give a cent to WETA-FM for changing their format to duplicate what is on WAMU. I still can't understand how De Vany feels that duplicating programming on another station will boost ratings, and I thought that ratings were not the most important thing with public broadcasting. If we pay for classical music or alternative programming, why can't we have it. WPFW listeners get what they pay for. Dump De Vany!

As for Snyder, well money talksj and peopole like Bonneville will listen. If he is willing to over pay for players and coaches, well he will over pay for a radio station to broadcast is underachieving team. It could be in five years, Skin's games will no longer be sellouts so local blackout rules will apply. When Jack Kent Cooke owned the team he made lots of money on the Skins without the over-saturation that Snyder wants. Dump Snyder!

I listen to classical on the Internet at home and work but it is nice to have news, weather and traffic every now and then, which WETA-FM filled the bill on. I can't listen to Internet radio in my car. I will not by Sirrus or XM just to have classical radio, I just resent having to shell out cash for hardware and a subscription to listen to classical/jazz/arts programming.

Check out Frostburg State University radio at www.wfwm.org for that good old time public radio station that plays music.

Posted by: cardied | December 12, 2006 2:11 PM

"No one owes the public anything." About WGMS, I agree. They're a commercial station, and if it's not working out for them, fine, sell. But WETA and WAMU? They owe the public a LOT.

Posted by: h3 | December 12, 2006 2:13 PM

Art Music on the radio in US has been in dire need of updating for decades. In Europe, public funding comes with certain stipulations regarding content, which in turn encourages new music and art to be constantly aired. I gave up listening to the same handful of Baroque/Classical composers on the radio years ago, ironically primarily due to great WAMU programming like Talk of the Nation. Oh, well.

Posted by: twomblyk | December 12, 2006 2:15 PM

ah yes... the internet, where one can anonymously accuse another of becoming 'untethered from reality.'

S/He does have a point though. I was purposefully writing from an idealistic point of view, one where people participate in their democracy and can acheive their goals and positively affect their lives, one facet of which is having diverse radio programming on their 'public airwaves'. I did neglect to incorporate the ideals of those who would rather just purchase XM and react to the world acting upon them. If the latter is the choice you make, it might be useful to know that in order to further your goals (of say returning Bluegrass to WAMU), contacting the management at WAMU, or possibly your congressman, might make the difference. If it doesn't, sorry.. you tried, but the effort was likely more effective than posting about it on a blog.

Posted by: c | December 12, 2006 2:24 PM

I used to donate regularly to WETA, both TV and radio, beginning when I moved to this area in late 1973. I have not given one red cent since the terrible decision was made to not broadcast regularly scheduled classical music programs on the FM station. And I won't contribute again, unless and until that programming decision is nullified. I refuse to even listen to the station (except occasionally to "Car Talk"). You would think loss of donations and listeners would mean something. Perhaps not.

Posted by: David Kurjan | December 12, 2006 2:31 PM

When I got XM Radio and realized that I could get MUSIC - all kinds, any time I want it, and little talk, I gave up on Public Radio and its talk, talk, talk. I haven't tuned to "commercial radio" since. Where I live in the Shenandoah Valley we have two PBS stations - West Va. and D.C. and the programming is identical morn and night. Now I get all the music I can handle AND Bob Edwards on XM in the car. And at home I get Sirius satellite radio on Dish Network.

Posted by: Jim | December 12, 2006 2:34 PM

c--

Do you honestly believe that the reason WAMU programming has gone the way it has is because too few people have "contacted the management" or "possibly their congressmen"?

I think the more effective solution is, as I wrote earlier, to listen to XM.

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 2:35 PM

Not to make this a discussion about Snyder, but the previous poster who mentioned Redskins over-saturation had it exactly right. Say what you will about Cooke, but he understood something Snyder can't seem to get through his head--running a football team is not like running a movie studio or other entertainment company.

Cooke recognized that the key to being a profitable football club is to nurture the fan base, to make sure that the team is part of the city's identity. The way you do that is put a quality team on the field and work to build ties with the fans and the city in ways that go beyond the usual corporate, packaged blather.

To be fair, the NFL has changed a great deal since Cooke's salad days, and Snyder is only doing what all the other owners (with a few exceptions) and the League itself are doing. But no matter how much coverage there is, the key is the play of the team and its ties to the city. That Snyder is squandering what is probably the greatest fan support in all of football is the real shame.

Posted by: Claudius | December 12, 2006 2:45 PM

I wroe Paul Farhi, staff writer, December 11 lamenting the demise of WGMS. Mr. Fisher, please ask him to share my letter with you.

I can get the address of WGMS, but I would also lkke that of Dan Snyder, if either of you can provide. I am at jbjessup@atlanticbb.net. Thank you.

Pehpas we are all overlooking Baltimore and Salisbury, with good stations at WBJC and WSCL(?. We receive both well here in St. Michaels.

Posted by: john jessup | December 12, 2006 2:47 PM

My difficulty is I can see and understand almost all sides.

I understand that Bluegrass and other shows were taken off the air because of a limited audience; I also was, apparently, under the misconception that public radio's purpose was to offer alternative programming, offering what wasn't already available on commercial radio. Especially in the D.C. metropolitan area, we have an abundance of talk radio (granted the quality and content is variable and questionable).

I also know that there's a sports market. The problem I have with Redskins radio (as well as with WTEM) is that despite all the sports in the region, all the teams, there's still limited coverage of local sports. Much or most of the sports programming is national, not local; that would be like listening to WTOP radio traffic and weather on the eights, and getting the traffic and weather for Cincinnati or Denver; it might be great coverage but it's irrelevant most of the time.

The loss, however, of classical music in Washington affects not just the bottom line of a station that's making a profit, but will affect the community and the arts as a whole. It would be wonderful if WGMS ownership had the attitude of "we can survive even if we just break even", but they're making a profit. Still, I can't criticize them for not taking an offer that's 50 percent more than the station is worth. They're in business, not in charity, not in good will, not in part of the community in which they broadcast over the public airways. They're in business to make money, and the sale of WGMS will make money.

And, I understand the purpose of Snyder radio; advertising aside, it's to promote the Redskins image and attitude on a year round basis. We can, or should, expect to see considerable Six Flags advertising. After all, why shouldn't the station promote what station ownership owns.

Is classical music owed to the community? No, of course not. If there's a market for it (and there is, or else WGMS wouldn't be making a profit), I would hope another station switches format and brings classical music to Washington. To think that the nation's capital, not just any country's capital, but this nation), that a metro area of this size won't have classical music to listen to, and that people will essentially be limited to tightly programmed rock, rap, or country over the public (yes, commercial) airways is disturbing. Even if this was not the nation's capital, it's still hard to comprehend how the most listened to classical station can be eliminated; not because of declining audience, but by outright purchase.

Is there that big a sports audience that the Washington DC area needs two full time sports stations (both of which do considerable non-local shows) but there's not a market for classical?

Maybe the solution is for Redskins radio to continue to broadcast classical music on WGMS except during the hours it's doing local sports (currently only three hours a day - the John Riggins Show, from 4 to 7 weekdays) and on game day.

Then, Mr. Snyder will have done well by all.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2006 2:48 PM

My difficulty is I can see and understand almost all sides.

I understand that Bluegrass and other shows were taken off the air because of a limited audience; I also was, apparently, under the misconception that public radio's purpose was to offer alternative programming, offering what wasn't already available on commercial radio. Especially in the D.C. metropolitan area, we have an abundance of talk radio (granted the quality and content is variable and questionable).

I also know that there's a sports market. The problem I have with Redskins radio (as well as with WTEM) is that despite all the sports in the region, all the teams, there's still limited coverage of local sports. Much or most of the sports programming is national, not local; that would be like listening to WTOP radio traffic and weather on the eights, and getting the traffic and weather for Cincinnati or Denver; it might be great coverage but it's irrelevant most of the time.

The loss, however, of classical music in Washington affects not just the bottom line of a station that's making a profit, but will affect the community and the arts as a whole. It would be wonderful if WGMS ownership had the attitude of "we can survive even if we just break even", but they're making a profit. Still, I can't criticize them for not taking an offer that's 50 percent more than the station is worth. They're in business, not in charity, not in good will, not in part of the community in which they broadcast over the public airways. They're in business to make money, and the sale of WGMS will make money.

And, I understand the purpose of Snyder radio; advertising aside, it's to promote the Redskins image and attitude on a year round basis. We can, or should, expect to see considerable Six Flags advertising. After all, why shouldn't the station promote what station ownership owns.

Is classical music owed to the community? No, of course not. If there's a market for it (and there is, or else WGMS wouldn't be making a profit), I would hope another station switches format and brings classical music to Washington. To think that the nation's capital, not just any country's capital, but this nation), that a metro area of this size won't have classical music to listen to, and that people will essentially be limited to tightly programmed rock, rap, or country over the public (yes, commercial) airways is disturbing. Even if this was not the nation's capital, it's still hard to comprehend how the most listened to classical station can be eliminated; not because of declining audience, but by outright purchase.

Is there that big a sports audience that the Washington DC area needs two full time sports stations (both of which do considerable non-local shows) but there's not a market for classical?

Maybe the solution is for Redskins radio to continue to broadcast classical music on WGMS except during the hours it's doing local sports (currently only three hours a day - the John Riggins Show, from 4 to 7 weekdays) and on game day.

Then, Mr. Snyder will have done well by all.

Posted by: Jeff | December 12, 2006 2:49 PM

The solution should not have to be "buy an i-Pod and play classical" or buy satellite. Someone in the DC market area should realize that classical is a viable alternative to much of the musical and talk pap currently on the air. And if the nations educated and cultured population can listen to jock radio/sports talk all day on two stations, surely they'll listen occasionally to some good music. Even if it's only during drive time and interrupted by talk-over traffic reports.

Posted by: Rockville | December 12, 2006 2:52 PM

Claudius

I don't see how you think Snyder doesn't know what he's doing "nurturing the fan base" and all that.

Cooke did a mediocre job of running the Redskins as a profit-making organization while Snyder has maxed out its value. Snyder picked it up on the cheap from Cooke's estate and has transformed it into the most valuable sports franchise, according to Forbes magazine's estimates. Snyder enlarged the stadium, sold more tickets, and still has a longer waiting list for season tickets that the Squire had. "Oversaturation"? Hardly.

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 2:56 PM

Anyone for a Snyder boycott? Yeah, fat chance of that.

Anyway, it's not just classical music that's gone. Jazz--real jazz--has almost disappeared, occupying only a few hours a week in the middle of a lot of commercial R&B garbage and, yes, talk. Incessant, insipid talk. I gave up broadcast radio in disgust a year or so ago for satellite--XM in my case, nothing against Sirius--and haven't regretted it for a minute. I hear more than enough talk, of better quality, without radio. As for WETA, their begging letters now go unopened into the trash.

Posted by: jazzyndn | December 12, 2006 3:06 PM

WFN, I agree with your boycott of the Snyder affiliation. It may take some time, but Snyder's empire can't last forever. Over time, more people will grow weary of Snyder's greed and he will fall.

Posted by: slm | December 12, 2006 3:09 PM

WFN and SLM,

Can you two explain exactly what your Snyder boycott consists of? What are you now doing differently that will bring the man to his knees, financially?

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 3:15 PM

A dozen years ago, DC-area listeners had access to classical music on 4 stations (WGMS, WETA, the Columbia Union station in Takoma Park, and WBJC if you could get the signal) and one serious jazz station (WUDC). Now it's all gone or going except for WBJC--and that's in Baltimore (and America's most important majority-black city has no station devoted to black America's greatest contribution to world music).

Yes, WGMS's programming has worsened markedly in recent years: there's nothing adventurous about it, and the music it does play is treated as snippets for ambient consumption instead of works of integrity to be respected and encountered on their own terms.

But WGMS is all Washington has, so I've stayed loyal. Yes, I have XM, and I enjoy it immensely (thanks, Robert Aubry Davis and Martin Goldsmith!). But being able to hear some of the world's greatest music without a subscription and extra contraptions is an irreplaceable good.

Listening to commercial classical radio such as WGMS is how I learned to love and understand and seek out classical music. It has contributed hugely to my quality of life.

And now it's disappearing.

The long moment of mournful silence it deserves will last forever.

Posted by: J. in Arlington | December 12, 2006 3:31 PM

Snyder can do what he wants with his team, his radio stations, adn his money. He sure knows how to leverage a franchise to maximize profit. He knows nothing how to nurture a quality team. Note to Dan-O: NFL does not stand for National Fantasy League.

The demise of calssical music, along with the miles-long waiting list for $3000 pairs of season tickets to see a bunch of LOSERS run by the reincarnation of Napoleon is proof that the lowest common denominator rules in the DC metro area. Goobers.

Too bad the NFL won't permit strippers at halftime shows. I'll bet Dan-O could make several hundred millions more if strippers were permitted.

That doesn't mean there isn't sex allowed at Redskin games. At every game, approximately 90,000 fans get screwed in person, and another several hundred thousand viewers and listeners get screwed virtually by wasting their time and money on an inferior product.

If Redskin fans want to get scammed and screwed by a billionaire l'enfant terible, who are we to protest?

Posted by: Mister CH4 | December 12, 2006 3:38 PM

Snyder can do what he wants with his team, his radio stations, adn his money. He sure knows how to leverage a franchise to maximize profit. He knows nothing how to nurture a quality team. Note to Dan-O: NFL does not stand for National Fantasy League.

The demise of calssical music, along with the miles-long waiting list for $3000 pairs of season tickets to see a bunch of LOSERS run by the reincarnation of Napoleon is proof that the lowest common denominator rules in the DC metro area. Goobers.

Too bad the NFL won't permit strippers at halftime shows. I'll bet Dan-O could make several hundred millions more if strippers were permitted.

That doesn't mean there isn't sex allowed at Redskin games. At every game, approximately 90,000 fans get screwed in person, and another several hundred thousand viewers and listeners get screwed virtually by wasting their time and money on an inferior product.

If Redskin fans want to get scammed and screwed by a billionaire l'enfant terible, who are we to protest?

Posted by: CH4 | December 12, 2006 3:39 PM

Snyder can do what he wants with his team, his radio stations, adn his money. He sure knows how to leverage a franchise to maximize profit. He knows nothing how to nurture a quality team. Note to Dan-O: NFL does not stand for National Fantasy League.

The demise of classical music, along with the miles-long waiting list for $3000 pairs of season tickets to see a bunch of LOSERS run by the reincarnation of Napoleon is proof that the lowest common denominator rules in the DC metro area. Goobers.

Too bad the NFL won't permit strippers at halftime shows. I'll bet Dan-O could make several hundred millions more if strippers were permitted.

That doesn't mean there isn't sex allowed at Redskin games. At every game, approximately 90,000 fans get screwed in person, and another several hundred thousand viewers and listeners get screwed virtually by wasting their time and money on an inferior product.

If Redskin fans want to get scammed and screwed by a billionaire l'enfant terible, who are we to protest?

Posted by: CH4 | December 12, 2006 3:39 PM

Dan-O can do what he wants with his team, his radio stations, adn his money. He sure knows how to leverage a franchise to maximize profit. He knows nothing how to nurture a quality team. Note to Dan-O: NFL does not stand for National Fantasy League.

The demise of classical music, along with the miles-long waiting list for $3000 pairs of season tickets to see a bunch of LOSERS run by the reincarnation of Napoleon is proof that the lowest common denominator rules in the DC metro area. Goobers.

Too bad the NFL won't permit strippers at halftime shows. I'll bet Dan-O could make several hundred millions more if strippers were permitted.

That doesn't mean there isn't sex allowed at Redskin games. At every game, approximately 90,000 fans get screwed in person, and another several hundred thousand viewers and listeners get screwed virtually by wasting their time and money on an inferior product.

If Redskin fans want to get scammed and screwed by a billionaire l'enfant terible, who are we to protest?

Posted by: CH4 | December 12, 2006 3:40 PM

CH4

Should we read all four of your posts? They seem a bit repetitive. Are you saying you're not a Redskins fan any more?

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 4:00 PM

From my persepective, WAMU hasn't abandoned music enough - nearly all of Sunday is turned over to bluegrass, definitely a niche interest. I'm a member of WAMU, and I'd increase my contribution if they'd air Morning Edition Sunday. And no, I'm not from this area originally, but I'm planning to live here for quite a few years.

Posted by: C in DC | December 12, 2006 4:29 PM

C in DC

Well, now there you have it. WAMU used to be bluegrass three hours a day during the week and all day on weekends. Now it's down to what? Three hours on weekends? And you think that's too much.

Many of us who used to support the station gradually dropped out as its bluegrass programming dwindled to next to nothing, and I guess you and your ilk (and I mean that in the kindest sense of "ilk") have been giving more to get us all the way out of the programming.

That's the dilemma of public radio -- who's the "public" when we're all different? And that's why XM and Sirius are the solution -- they actually do serve the entire public except maybe those who would like to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir 100% of the time.

Posted by: KK | December 12, 2006 4:52 PM

"Someone in the DC market area should realize that classical is a viable alternative to much of the musical and talk pap currently on the air."

The evidence to date would strongly suggest that it is not, in fact, a viable format in this market. It stinks to find that your tastes have gone out of fashion - but it happens sometimes. Viewed positively, it can be seen as a challenge to go out and take a second look at some of the "pap" we may have blown off in the past. Sure - there's going to be some bad music out there (but honestly, do we really believe that all the music created in the baroque period was good?). There's also going to be some truly creative and beautiful music to enjoy.

Posted by: Demos | December 12, 2006 5:12 PM

I can't let the potshot at the NSO slip unnoticed. Have you been the KC in a while? Slatkin and Nurit have been doing wonders. If we get Fischer, it'll be even better -- the orchestra REALLY liked him.

WGMS: I kind of agree with the complaints of them chopping up pieces, and I despise Dave Johnson interrupting with stories designed to sell you a mattress, but at least it's there. I don't know how many I've heard something that sparked my interest and wound up in my CD collection. It still happens.

I like the idea of new WGMS running Riggo 4-7 and classical the rest of the time. Doubt it'll happen, but who knows?

Posted by: Georgetowner | December 12, 2006 5:14 PM

I can't let the potshot at the NSO slip unnoticed. Have you been the KC in a while? Slatkin and Nurit have been doing wonders. If we get Fischer, it'll be even better -- the orchestra REALLY liked him.

Mind you they're not the Concetgebouw, but I think arguably superior to the NYPO.

WGMS: I kind of agree with the complaints of them chopping up pieces, and I despise Dave Johnson interrupting with stories designed to sell you a mattress, but at least it's there. I don't know how many I've heard something that sparked my interest and wound up in my CD collection. It still happens.

I like the idea of new WGMS running Riggo 4-7 and classical the rest of the time. Doubt it'll happen, but who knows?

Posted by: Georgetowner | December 12, 2006 5:14 PM

(How'd that double post? I think this thing is a bit buggy today.)

Posted by: Georgetowner | December 12, 2006 5:15 PM

I actually never listen to the radio because I would rather choose the music instead of letting someone else do it (and slam me with commercials while they're at it). But for me the best solution is my MP3 player, not satellite. I have hours and hours of my favorite music to choose from with no interruptions, and I can listen in the car, at my desk, at the gym, or anywhere else. Plus unlike satellite there's no monthly fee. So that would be my solution if I were a regular listener of WGMS.

Posted by: no dog in this fight | December 12, 2006 5:25 PM

Grew up rising with Bill Cerri's "Sleepers Awake" and went to bed to the late night classical offering. Even contributed.

But times changed. In fact, access to classic music became more democratic. Technology - CDs, iPods, internet radio made music more accessible as our culture moved towards on-demand programming. And gone are the days when I have to suffer an atrocious (to my ears) Bartok piece just so that I can hear the upcoming die Moldau.

When I want WETA like programming, I listen to classical cds and lps. nothing like hearing the gentle scratching on vinyl as Glenn Gould belts out a Bach Prelude. And no ads. And you can hit pause when you've got to take a phone call or hit the loo.

So in the immortal paraphrased words of the buggles, technology killed the radio star.

Posted by: former WETA-phile | December 12, 2006 5:42 PM

Try http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/ and listen live or to previous shows

Posted by: TonyR | December 12, 2006 5:49 PM

What are the chances that WBJC-Baltimore could find a frequency to establish a translator or a satellite station to boost their signal in DC and Northern Virginia? Maybe they could buy a small, money-losing DC FM station for a bargain price and run their own signal on it. Adding the additional listeners to their pool of financial supporters might be worth the purchase price. I've found WBJC's programming to be excellent, when I can pick it up from Springfield.

Posted by: Scott | December 12, 2006 6:17 PM

Could Bonneville pull the plug on the WTWP "Washington Post Radio" simulcast on 1500 AM and 107.7 FM, and move WGMS there?

It would put WGMS on AM in much of the market, but if it's the only way to keep classical music alive in Washington, maybe Bonneville might do it.

Posted by: Joseph | December 12, 2006 7:05 PM

former WETA-phile,

I bet you are the person who wiped out all the good classical cds at Tower before I could get to them! But, then again, I did make a dent in the world music section.....

Posted by: G'burg | December 12, 2006 7:24 PM

Scott has some good idea about WBJC. It IS a world-class classical station, equal to WQXR is NYC, which I grew up listening to on AM. Fiddle with your antenna, folks, or try it on your car radio. With finagling, I can get them, on 91.5, here in Arlington, though they're sandwiched between WETA and WGTS blasting out from a tower only three blocks away from my house.
Trust me, they're worth it!

Posted by: charlie | December 12, 2006 9:53 PM

Scott has some good idea about WBJC. It IS a world-class classical station, equal to WQXR is NYC, which I grew up listening to on AM. Fiddle with your antenna, folks, or try it on your car radio. With finagling, I can get them, on 91.5, here in Arlington, though they're sandwiched between WETA and WGTS blasting out from a tower only three blocks away from my house.
Trust me, they're worth it!

Posted by: charlie | December 12, 2006 9:53 PM

I wasn't born listening to classical music. In fact, rock n'roll was my first discovery and love on the radio. But, when I came to DC to attend college I discovered first, WETA, and then WGMS. It was the height of disco, which I hated, and so I listened to various stations to find out what I did like. To my surprise, I liked classical. Imagine - a 19 year old broadening her musical tastes! Now, the choice for music on radio in the DC area is so limited. I feel sorry for younger people who won't ever have the joy of an accidental discovery just by turning a radio dial.

WGMS died for me when they switched to 104.1 since I can't receive it in North Arlington and I stopped listening (and contributing) to WETA when they switched formats. I agree that WGMS is a shadow of what it was so probably it's not such a loss. It's just sad that a metropolitan area of this size can't support at least one decent classical radio station. Even in my hometown of Buffalo we have more than one - thanks to the proximity of Toronto and Rochester.

Posted by: lucy, arlington | December 12, 2006 9:58 PM

Marc: I was going to say your column was repulsive, short, classless and a reminder of those who were failures at sports and endlessly overcompensate for such. But then I realized I was thinking of Dan Snyder.

Posted by: Gordon Gartrelle | December 12, 2006 10:05 PM

No surprise that this opinion piece lets Bonneville off the hook while blasting other stations. Just what we would expect now that the Post is a business partner with Bonneville. Remember that the reason for moving WGMS to its current signal was for WTOP and the Washington Post to grow the news audience in DC and that WTWP, on which Mr. Fisher appears, has the stated goal of stealing audience from NPR. So of course Fisher is going to write about public radio's failed mission. It serves the dual purpose of deflecting attention from the Post's role in all of this and casts its new competitor in a negative light. Also note the absence of disclosure that the Post is in a radio partnership with Bonneville. Talk about failings. The Post attacks its competition without revealing its conflict of interest. You should be ashamed.

Posted by: Z in MD | December 12, 2006 11:38 PM

I am very angry and shocked to hear that WGMS will probably go dark. I have listened to WGMS at work for years and had to give that up when they switched to 104.1. I am very saddened that that jerk and idiot Dan Synder feels that he has to have yet another station (I'm not sure why) on which to broadcast the Deadskins game and etc. I am not interested in football; but I guess the score is Redskins 1, WGMS 0. Very sad about the entire mess.

I am beginning to feel that the Washington area is rapidly being homogenized and pasturized and that we're being sent down a chute (like cattle) and the chute is getting smaller and smaller in that icons that have defined Washington have been axed. Woodies, Hechinger's, The Hecht Company, and now WGMS. It is so sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 13, 2006 1:35 AM

I wish an endowment could be set up to protect the classical radio format in DC as a non-profit organization. The more exposure our kids have to the arts and our heritage, the better.

My opinion about Dan Snyder's family has taken a nosedive. The media is right on about this guy. His values lean toward intrusive, self-serving interests rather than helping the community.

Posted by: Ken in Northern Virginia | December 13, 2006 8:29 AM

FAX your complaints to Bonneville HQ, they are not giving out any e-mails.
FAX Bonneville 801-575-7534, Dan Snyder FAX 703-726-7086

Posted by: ak1 | December 13, 2006 8:43 AM

Bonneville Corporation claims to be a "values based" corporation, but now we know what they value most- the bottom line. On Bonneville's website, they describe WGMS as providing excellent programming to the community and state that it is currently the MOST LISTENED TO CLASSICAL MUSIC STATION IN THE COUNTRY! Since the switch of WGMS to 104.1, the station comes in loud and clear in St. Mary's County, Maryland, where I live. Even though I hate the long commercial breaks, I will really miss the classical music and the classy DJ's, if the deal with Snyder goes through.

Posted by: Amy H. | December 13, 2006 9:41 AM

WGMS EARNED $10 MILLION IN ADVERTISING LAST YEAR! I'd hardly call that a losing venture.

Posted by: AH | December 13, 2006 9:53 AM

Marc,
Thanks for devoting a column to this. I didn't grow up with classical music, but I discovered WGMS years ago and through it, a whole new world of arts and culture opened up to me. I am deeply saddened that others in our community will not have this same opportunity.

It is becoming more evident that money takes precedence over cultural refinement, public service, and promotion of the arts. Whether or not one personally likes classical music, it sad that many listeners who cannot afford satellite or internet radio will never have the chance to be exposed to the masters of classical music.

Posted by: classical music convert | December 13, 2006 9:55 AM

Hey Marc: Milt Margolis (BLOG Dec 12) asks a good question. Why has the Post been so silent on this - no editorial - not one letter to the editor? Can you tell us how many letters the Post has received and how many printed on this topic? Does Snyder own the Post too?

Posted by: Bill | December 13, 2006 10:05 AM

To Z in MD:
Sorry to prick a hole in your lovely conspiracy theory about me protecting Bonneville because of the Post's interest ion Washington Post Radio, but actually, I devoted all of Tuesday's column to the Bonneville piece of this situation, and I specifically criticized Bonneville for jettisoning classical to grab a big pile of Snyder's moola. You can find the column by clicking the Newspaper Columns link on the top left of this page.

Posted by: Fisher | December 13, 2006 10:15 AM

The comments by Z in MD (12/12 11:38 PM) regarding the Washington Post/Bonneville business connection was revealing. Perhaps this explains the absense of Letters to the Editor regarding the matter. Media Filtering??

Posted by: Milt in VA | December 13, 2006 10:34 AM

I think Milt and Z are spot on. WTWP's ratings are somewhere about, what, 0.8? That's worse than the Women's United Soccer Association -- with Mia Hamm, no less. Nobody listens to it, and nobody will because you're not going to get what you need to know in 30 minutes. You'd have to listen to four hours' worth of show to get the complete picture, plus you don't get Lisa Baden every 10 minutes.

And there is one other poster who is spot-on about the lack of local sports coverage. In Pennsylvania and the deep South, Friday night football is all over the dial. Not so here.

I also could care less about Michael Strahan's radio interviews, the height of Reggie Bush's and other fluff-n-stuff sports happenings out of town.

And it's true about the lack of independent college radio broadcasting, including the arrant censorship of liberal views on the Georgetown campus in closing that station.

Posted by: Stuff to add here | December 13, 2006 10:59 AM

Interesting that with the denigration of classical music culture that's been occurring in this country over the decades, other countries like Venezuela (see the story in today's Post) have been using its potential to help young people in poverty stricken areas find a different outlet in their lives than drugs or violence.

But then of course, Venezuela is the new member of the Axis of Evil, so I'm sure it won't be long before Beethoven is considered a subversive part of our culture (not that he already wasn't considered that in early 1800s Vienna!).

Hail to the Redskins.

Posted by: Bill | December 13, 2006 11:07 AM

I stopped donating to public radio when WAMU broadcast political ads by that smarmy Terry Lierman during his campaign against our beloved Connie Morella several years ago. Political ads on public radio! Shame, shame.

Posted by: Gaithersburg | December 13, 2006 11:19 AM

I was one of perhaps many who wrote the Post encouraging people to listen to WBJC. It was never printed. I've only once read, in a letter to the editor, ANY mention at all of that non-commercial classical station. But, hey, if we get behind a perhaps now Democratic-influenced FCC, maybe they can give WBJC a exception, and let them increase their power from 50KW to the 90KW that the now virtually-useless WETA blasts out. After all, Mozart lovers are now an underserved minority!

Posted by: charlie | December 13, 2006 11:32 AM

Hey classical fans: as someone who likes standards, oldies and (real) jazz, all of which have also disappeared from the D.C. radio market, welcome to the club.

Posted by: Vincent | December 13, 2006 12:50 PM

No, KK, you need read my posts but once to get the idea. I do not know what my posts are replicated 2-3 times on the web site.

I am someone who was a Redskins fan....until I got a life. You may wish to consider doing the same. It's a big wonderful world out there beyond the confines of Fed-Ex and Red Zebra.

Posted by: CH4 | December 13, 2006 12:52 PM

Double thanks for writing about WGMS. A grevious loss. Also agree with Charlie. Why not write a column about WGMS? Excellent programming by an excellent staff which clearly must have public service and community as a key core value. I switched my financial support, meager as it is, from WETA to WBJC because of that.

Tragic that Baltimore is now the cultural city of choice in this megalopolis--by default. It seems that few of the power brokers in this town care.

Posted by: Jake | December 13, 2006 1:13 PM

Oh, whine, Republican racists, about your precious Dead White European Culture music going away. After all, it is the same music supported by Adolf Hitler and Joe Stalin, while they banned jazz, blues and rock and roll, music that reflects America more than music played by starched shirts in tuxedos being told how to play by a baton-wielding white supremacist fascist. And of course, you want to escape to your fascist music instead of listening to programming that deals with what's going on with your community and your world, because you want to retreat to your white supremacist wonderlands instead of being part of your community and making a difference. And of course, you want to keep hip-hop off the air, because of the truths it reveals about white oppression of the African-American community.

Oh yes, racists--what's your opinion of Latinos, Asian-Americans, women, gays and lesbians--as if we didn't already know?

Posted by: Democracy Now! | December 13, 2006 1:19 PM

To KK-- The end of WGMS IS in the category of Hamlet and Othello. Not just that it was the last station playing classical music (with some degree of its old class despite the limits of the new format) in the Nation's Capitol, but because of what it has done over the years. The station was the main non-print advertiser for dance, music, and visual arts events--both the big and the local. The station promoted other Washington institutions--like the NSO and Washington opera--through their old fundraisers and interviews with guest artists and leaders of the institution. They even talked up the Redskins as part of their chatting about local events back in the Jack Kent Cooke days. And don't forget the years of btroadcasting the Sunday evening concerts from the West Building of the National Gellery of Art. More recently WGMS sponsored arts near Rockville and around town. There were reviews of events, and encouragement of young artists by respected people like Paul Hume and Jeanne Batty Lewis (to name only two). And WGMS has had some of the most knowledgeable announcers in the business which had enhanced listener knowledge. These announcers also did things outside the station as emcees and hosts. WGMS has been more than just a radio station, and thus I stay that it's loss is a tragedy.

I also wish to be associated with J's post on WBJC, WGMS, and XM Radio.

Posted by: Kevin | December 13, 2006 1:27 PM

Kevin,

Well put. Thanks for that perspective. I'll reconsider.

Posted by: KK | December 13, 2006 3:42 PM

I called Bonneville in Utah. A very nice receptionist is taking messages and relaying our opinions to her boss. Maybe if enough people voice their opinions we can turn the tide of this deal.
Call 801-575-7500 and tell them you want to leave a message about the sale of WGMS.

Posted by: AH | December 13, 2006 4:53 PM

Do Snyder and the Mormon Church, current owners of WGMS, realize what kind of negative PR they are creating?! This is like the Valdez oil spill. Exxon might wish that it could have avoided the PR disaster and clean-up costs--but Snyder and the church owners of the station are wading right in.

What kind of "community programming" is it to wipe out the the only Washington area station that offers classical music--one that has the largest audience of any kind in the nation? We may like the Redskins but frankly many of us count the 12 months of the year when we can turn on WGMS at any time more important than listening to one more talk radio station and louder radio coverage of Redskins games.

Posted by: DP of Falls Church | December 13, 2006 5:05 PM

I viewed the Values video on Bonneville's web site and have just emailed the management (hope that address is still good) about it. I recommended their executives and Board view the video one more time then assess how well their impending sale lives up to the promise of their video. IMHO, it fails and borders on hypocrisy. The sale is antithetical to our community.

Posted by: Bob in Herndon | December 13, 2006 5:11 PM

While we're citing Snyder's rapaciousness, Bonneville's bottom-line fixation, and WETA's incomprehensible programming strategy, let us not forget the FCC. They're the ones who opened up the ownership rules so huge corporations could gobble up multiple stations in a single market. Bonneville also owns WTOP, WFED, WTWP and the two transmitters comprising WGMS. That's how they pulled off that frequency switcheroo earlier this year to boost their WTOP ad sales. If Snyder were held to owning one DC station, we wouldn't be thrashing our breasts over the WGMS deal.

As for you who recommended switching to satellite radio or the Web, you can't listen to satellite throughout your house as we do at home with our intercom radio all day long, and you can't drag a wire behind your car to get the Web. We need classical over the air. My best hope is for WBJC to build a relay transmitter site in DC, or WETA to back-peddle. WGMS is apparently sunk.

Posted by: John in Alexandria | December 13, 2006 6:08 PM

Here is a good compromise:

Have Snyder buy time from WGMS on Sundays and give the revenue to WGMS--and keep classical music on WGMS the rest of the time. --possibly through generous donations to WGMS.

From Snyder's public-relations point of view, he could say he has heard the voice of fans all over the area--fans of the Redskins and fans of classical music--and is responding. Some of these are the same people, who happen to like both football and classical music.

From the public relations point of view of the LDS Church, they would come out ahead, as would Bonneville International, the church-owned corporation that owns WGMS.

Everyone comes out ahead....

Posted by: James from McLean | December 13, 2006 8:23 PM

I am sick of people saying that classical music is solely the realm of older listeners. I'm 26 years old, and have been listening to classical music since I was a little girl. I am not a huge nerd and I don't play a musical instrument (I'm actually in med school). I just love classical music. Furthermore, WGMS and WETA were the only things that made my commute in horrible DC traffic bearable - since I can no longer pick up a decent signal for WGMS, my car radio is never on anymore (I find talk radio tremendously boring). I wish the 'powers that be' would understand that Washington deserves more than yet another talk radio station.

Posted by: Grumpy at Dan | December 13, 2006 8:55 PM

Kevin's posting (above) really says it all. WGMS was (and is) more than a radio station to quite literally hundreds of thousands of folks in the greater WDC area. The announcers were like family or long-time neighbors, and the community services they so generously provide are unmatchable.

One Bonneville e-mail address still seems to be working:
bonneville@bonneville.com

And there's always the Salt Lake City Tribune -- why not let SLC folks know what you think?
letters@sltrib.com

Posted by: vagoughs | December 13, 2006 9:36 PM

Sirius and Xm are viable options, but as many of the writers have expressed they are not free. Many of the comments I have read hear reflect how the listener started listening to classical music on a whim, listened more and more, and became a fan. Free classical music also encourages listeners to hear pieces they may not purchase on MP-3. As are many language immersion programs are based, the best way to absorb a new language (or new music type?) is to do it effortlessly. All the methods to compensate for the loss of free classical radio lack in this regard.

I hope the powers that be read the excellent ideas of broadcasting sports radio at limited times and during the games, and turning the airwaves back to music for the remainder.

Does any one else think that Dan Snyder could have been a shorter, darker version of Napoleon Dynamite in high school? Perhaps he would not have been so mean now if somebody had liked him.

Posted by: a boyd | December 13, 2006 9:57 PM

Sirius and Xm are viable options, but as many of the writers have expressed they are not free. Many of the comments I have read hear reflect how the listener started listening to classical music on a whim, listened more and more, and became a fan. Free classical music also encourages listeners to hear pieces they may not purchase on MP-3. As are many language immersion programs are based, the best way to absorb a new language (or new music type?) is to do it effortlessly. All the methods to compensate for the loss of free classical radio lack in this regard.

I hope the powers that be read the excellent ideas of broadcasting sports radio at limited times and during the games, and turning the airwaves back to music for the remainder.

Does any one else think that Dan Snyder could have been a shorter, darker version of Napoleon Dynamite in high school? Perhaps he would not have been so mean now if somebody had liked him.

Posted by: a boyd | December 13, 2006 9:57 PM

If classical music radio has been profitable and has a listenership in the DC area, then I hope that another broadcaster will pick up classical music.

To: WETA and WAMU
My wife and I have been donors for years. If neither of you adopt classical music broadcasting, we'll stop donating. To the station that does broadcast, we're willing to double our donations.

Posted by: Leighton Ku & Nancy Muzeck | December 13, 2006 11:09 PM

I stand by what I wrote. This piece lets Bonneville of the hook and places blame on WETA and WAMU, with which the Washington Post is competing for listeners. You chose to not disclose that fact and place the burden of learning about potential conflicts on the reader. You took the time to respond to my first post, but only to address where you felt you would look good. Let the readers note that you could have used that opportunity to address the conflict of interest issue but chose not to. Your company stands to profit from negative news about WAMU and WETA. You clearly relish the opportunity to create it.

Posted by: Z in MD | December 13, 2006 11:14 PM

In Annapolis I listen mostly to WSCL in Salisbury, whose classical programming is unusually good, nearly 24 hours/day. Now it is broadcasting on the net and to my thinking it is a viable replacement for WGMS, at least for listening at home. The website is www.PublicRadioDelmarva.org

Posted by: Fred Geil | December 14, 2006 12:44 AM

Sorry, I gave the wrong web address for WSCL. It is www.PublicRadioDelmarva.net

Posted by: Fred Geil | December 14, 2006 12:47 AM

In my first posting I applauded Marc for his article. He did a great service by enlightening local classical music lovers as to the impending demise of WGMS. I also commented on the apparent lack of coverage by other departments within the Washington Post. After much prodding, by Z in MD and others, I today observed that the WGMS situation finally made it to the Letters to the Editor column. This was a step in the right direction. I might now suggest that the Post demonstrate some real character by taking an editorial position on the matter.

Posted by: Milt in VA | December 14, 2006 1:11 PM

Bonneville is forwarding your phone messages to their office here in DC!!!! so PLEASE FAX your complaints to Bonneville HQ,

FAX Bonneville 801-575-7534, Dan Snyder FAX 703-726-7086

Posted by: ak1@hotmail.com | December 14, 2006 1:51 PM

well, "democracy now" im BLACK and I LOVE classical music - im an organist and composer and i think hip hop is GARBAGE of the worst kind - it doesnt tell the "truth" about anything - in fact,its main audience is middle class WHITE kids who listen to it only because their mommies and daddies despise it!
Concerning WGMS, its ridiculous for Dan Snyder to get rid of it just to create a "sports talk" station (useless stupid babble) just to promote a LOSING team - a team that's been losing ever since he took it over!
He needs to improve the redskins FIRST instead of wrecking the only classical music station left in dc!

Posted by: raymusicman | December 14, 2006 10:46 PM

I agree with the readers who believe that the real culprit is WETA and National Public Radio. The whole purpose for public (read taxpayer) funding is to allow stations to make programming decisions based on quality and the public interest rather than absolute bottom line - in other words, to provide to listeners what commercial stations do not. To me, WETA is a commercial station, with commercial programming and, therefore, should not get a penny of our taxpayer money.

Posted by: Tom Dungan | December 15, 2006 11:57 AM

to democracy now:

i feel like i'm wasting my breath with this post, b/c it's not like a response on a blog is going to change your viewpoint, but oh well...

i've never heard a more ignorant rant than that in my life. loving classical music automatically makes you a racist republican? that's ridiculous. i'm a 23 year old female democrat who is active in her community and is majoring in music. my latino, asian-american, african-american and homosexual friends in the music department all love classical music, too. jimmy eat world's album clarity impacted my life just as much as karl orff's carmina burana did. jurassic 5 and gabriel faure are two CDs in rotation in my CD deck, and hip-hop artists regularly sample classical music in their songs (perhaps because they understand the beauty and lasting value of it much better than you do). so, please think next time before submitting a statement like that. delineating classical music listeners into that narrow of an opinion is just as benighted as you claim we are.

Posted by: musicmaj g | December 20, 2006 1:40 AM

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