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WETA Comes to its Senses

Faster than anyone could have expected, more responsively than I thought possible, the governing board at WETA moved Friday to save the day for classical music lovers and young Washingtonians whose musical passions are still in formation.

With the area's only commercial classical station, WGMS (104.1 FM), about to vanish forever as part of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder's expansion of his media empire, classical buffs and the region's performing arts organizations were in something of a panic. I heard from hundreds of people for whom the demise of WGMS, coming on top of WETA's move two years ago to kill off the classics and replace the music with an all-news and talk format, was both a personal blow and a troubling indication that maybe Washington is not as culturally rich a part of the country as we'd thought.

But over at WETA (90.9 FM), where the station president, Sharon Rockefeller, had pushed hard for the news/talk approach as a way to reach new and younger listeners, the board overruled the boss and saw that the initial justification for dropping the classics--oh, they're still available to listeners on WGMS, even if in abbreviated and dumbed-down form--was now gone goodbye. Finally, the notion that public radio exists to serve the public in ways that commercial radio cannot or will not crept back to center stage. (But the board of trustees' decision-making process was not exactly open or aboveboard. Although WETA board meetings are in theory open to the public, the station's web site offers only the following on last week's decision:

The Executive Committee of the WETA Board of Trustees held a closed executive session by telephone on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 to discuss proprietary and confidential matters. The WETA Board of Trustees held a closed executive session by telephone on Thursday, December 14, 2006 to discuss proprietary and confidential matters.)

Why did the board vote as it did? One reason may be that WETA's news-talk approach was a ratings disappointment. No great shock there, given that WETA's new approach was only marginally different from that of public station WAMU (88.5 FM), which already serves the National Public Radio news audience quite well.

Many of you wrote and called me asking how you might pressure Snyder and Bonneville, the company that owns WGMS (as well as all-news WTOP and news/talk Washington Post Radio), into saving the classics. I didn't and still don't see any reason to think that either of those two parties might reconsider their tentative deal--and already, we're seeing signs that WGMS is about to vanish from the airwaves (sales people were laid off at the station, the announcers are freely discussing their impending silence on the air--ordinarily a radio no-no.) But I did think that sending a clear and powerful message to WETA might have some impact; I just didn't think it would work this quickly.

To be sure, this is not yet a done deal: The WETA board has only authorized the station's staff to switch back to classical--the change has not been mandated. And the move is contingent on the WGMS-Redskins deal going through, which seems a pretty solid lock. Finally, we really still have no idea what WETA will sound like--how far they'll go toward restoring classical. Will they still run Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and will they continue to do so at exactly the same times as WAMU, a duplication of service that many listeners find infuriating? Will WETA keep its new local talk show, The Intersection--the only substantial local content added after the format switch? The rest of WETA's programming won't be missed; anyone who's interested can easily find all that BBC programming either online or on satellite radio, and the NPR shows are available either on WAMU, online or on satellite.

But there does need to be a place on local broadcast radio where the next generation of classical fans and serious music lovers will fall in love with the great compositions of the past and discover the new music that would never make it onto any commercial classical station's airwaves. If Baltimore can--as it does--support a terrific and creative all-classical station, WBJC, then Washington deserves at least as much. WETA is making a move that will resonate across the region in richer lives, greater community, and a sense that this is indeed a splendid place in which to live.

By Marc Fisher |  December 18, 2006; 7:38 AM ET
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Comments

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Glad I've got XM, as they have several classical stations. Hope they still do after the inevitable bankruptcy and merger...

IIRC, WGMS used to do all Christmas music beginning a week before Christmas. I think I heard them say they'd do that this year. But they didn't.

First WHFS goes away, now WGMS. Oh well. That's life in the Big City, I guess.

Posted by: wiredog | December 18, 2006 8:28 AM

To the Washingtonpost.com editors:

Congratulations on finding a web columnist who has a writing style so sanctimonious and know-it-all that one can agree with everything he said and still come away from the column wanting to smash something out of anger. He truly is one of a kind. And thank goodness for that.

Posted by: Elmer Fudd | December 18, 2006 8:41 AM

It seems all the Public radio and TV stations do is fund raise with crappy programming and infomercials with scam artists. Maybe they need some new blood and a transfusion of new ideas. Maybe some none liberal leftist who know a thing or three about a econmically feasible business model.

Posted by: Vaherder | December 18, 2006 9:16 AM

Never thought I'd be saying these words: yay for WETA! I suppose I should reserve my praise for the moment when I turn it on and hear music again, but allow me my moment of happiness. (Yay!)

Posted by: h3 | December 18, 2006 9:38 AM

Well hooray for Snyder, if that is what it took to bring WETA to its senses. The return of a classical WETA is fantastic. WGMS spoon-fed us **classical greatest hits** between reams of insipid commercials, so I see it as no great loss.

Posted by: gitarre | December 18, 2006 9:39 AM

I am not sorry to see WGMS go. Your description of "dumbed-down" is an understatement.

If WETA does, indeed, restore its classical music programming, I will renew and increase my former financial contributions which ceased when the classical programming ceased. I trust that WETA will also restore the quality of its former classical programming; if so, 90.9's ratings should soar.

WETA may also consider asking Sharon Rockefeller to step down. I suspect that WETA TV's continuous and increasingly irritating fundraising efforts and its programming will improve. This will most surely lead to increased ratings and contributions as well. Sadly, only the News Hour, NOW, Masterpiece Theatre and the Brit sitcoms (among one or two others)are currently worth viewing - tho' the sitcoms are very, very old and should be supplemented with new ones. Even the News Hour has begun to fall off in quality - exacerbated, especially, when interrupted for weeks of fundraising when it is drastically shortened (and when Jim Lehrer is away).

Posted by: ClassicalMag | December 18, 2006 9:41 AM

Okay- can we please stop whining about classical radio? Oh, I'm sorry. I meant "serious music".

How can anybody think that AM/FM radio is a good way to listen to classical anyways?

Posted by: J | December 18, 2006 10:05 AM

I hope that WETA keeps:

1) News and Notes
2) The Intersection
3) Day to Day
4) World Have Your Say

The rest? Meh.

Posted by: East End Ed | December 18, 2006 10:12 AM

Anything that puts more classical on the air is a good thing. Hurray for WETA recognizing that there is a market for classical music!

Posted by: music lover | December 18, 2006 10:26 AM

Personally, I get all the classical music I need with XM. You can also ride elevators around town.

As far as DC being a culture center, that is a real LOL.

DC is the illegal gun capital of the world tho, and that makes Marc very happy what with his fixation with firearms.

Maybe he didn't get the Red Rider BB gun for Christmas.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 10:34 AM

WETA's decision suggests it sees a market opportunity to become the sole provider of classical music rather than the duplicate provider of talk. It makes sense, and suggests the talk ratings were never as good as it claimed they were.

For the station, it's a good move. Whether it fills a pressing public need is another question. With so much music downloadable from the internet, it's not clear to me that the loss of classical FM radio would be a big deal. Even for car-bound listeners, as time progresses more and more people -- especially those with niche tastes -- will be plugging their iPods into their car speaker systems.

So at the end of the day, the move may be more important as a source of revenue for WETA than as a source of music for Washingtonians.

Posted by: Meridian | December 18, 2006 10:50 AM

"Will [WETA] still run Morning Edition and All Things Considered . . ."

Almost certainly. Virtually every NPR station does, since they bring in those pledge dollars.

" . . . the NPR shows are available either on WAMU, online or on satellite."

True, but many popular NPR weekend shows -- including Prarie Home Companion -- are not on WAMU. I wouldn't venture a prediction as to what a reborn classical WETA would do with its weekends, except that it would keep Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, and the Metropolitan Opera.

FWIW, for nine years I worked at a very prosperous classical NPR station in a smaller and less upscale market (Phoenix). Returning to classical would be an excellent business decision for WETA, and one I predicted as soon as I heard WGMS was dropping the format.

Posted by: penalcolony | December 18, 2006 10:58 AM

PLEASE FAX your complaints to Bonneville HQ, FAX Bonneville
801-575-7534, Dan Snyder FAX 703-726-7086.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 11:01 AM

I wonder what this means for Tavis, Farai, and the upcoming Michele Norris talk radio show?

Posted by: Nubian Radio | December 18, 2006 11:11 AM

Actually, "Prairie Home Companion" is a production of American Public Media, which is a completely separate organization from NPR. See http://americanpublicmedia.publicradio.org/.

(I think APM used to be called Minnesota Public Radio -- not 100% sure about that.)

Posted by: Greenbelt Gal | December 18, 2006 11:45 AM

Why isn't there any discussion about WAMU picking up the classical format and leaving the NPR/APM "yack" programming to WETA, since WETA seems to want it so badly?

Posted by: Scott | December 18, 2006 12:04 PM

RE: WAMU picking up classical music - that's an interesting idea, though the station has no historic record of broadcasting the music,like WETA.

As for the complaints about WGMS' programing, I can say that, yes, it is not the best. Hearing "Entry of the Gods into Valhalla" several times a week gets tedious. But, the station is a respite from the clasic-rock stations who's Wagnerian equivalents are "Layla" and "Stairway to Heaven". Morning man James Bartell's dry wit will be missed.

Posted by: Annandale | December 18, 2006 12:11 PM

D.C. is radio wasteland when it comes to intelligent musical programming, with the exception of WPFW for Jazz. Baltimore beats D.C. by far for excellent radio programming, albeit Baltimore is too far away for most of us to pull in the signals. There is not one, to my knowledge, true college radio station in the D.C. area to turn to for relief. WAMU and WETA both all but abandonded music--bluegrass and classical--for bla, bla, bla nonstop (not that we don't need NPR news and some of the other fun things, like Garrison Keillor). I hope it's true that WETA will bring back classical programming--serious music programming and not the shlock that WGMS pushes off on the area--no matter what Snyder does. I'll pledge to WETA if they bring back serious music, but NEVER otherwise. New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore radio stations make our area sound like a cultural backwater. It's embarrasing!

Posted by: Patric | December 18, 2006 12:18 PM

What about "Out and About"? Not "substantial" enough "local content"? I'd like to see it stick around. It reminds me of what I've been missing since WETA-TV canned the weekly "Around Town" and replaced it with 2-minute snippets I can only find online.

Posted by: Discman | December 18, 2006 12:39 PM

WPFW a good jazz station please. Never has been and never will be. Its a great station for old hippies and former members of the Panthers and SDS.

Posted by: Vaherder | December 18, 2006 12:50 PM

Ever since they moved from 103.5, I haven't been able to pick up WGMS. I sure hope the reception is better on WETA.

Posted by: love classical | December 18, 2006 1:20 PM

If one wanted to lobby WETA to keep particular shows, who would be the correct person to contact?
personally, I'd really like Bob Edwards weekend to stick around.

p.s. Vaherder: Why do all your attacks on public tv/radio sound like they're out of some conservative politician's outdated playbook? NPR, PRI, and APM (3 major providers of public radio programming) have all made a big effort in recent years to recruit a lot of new talent. I admit PBS has not done as much. However, PBS and NPR both have gone out of their way to ensure that their news coverage doesn't skew left. In fact, I'd argue that especially on PBS, the programming often skews right instead. And yes, public radio and tv stations don't have particularly profitable business models, but that's because well, they're nonprofits. Beyond having on-air pledge drives, inserting more advertising into programs, and giving tangible benefits to people who contribute (all things that stations do right now), how else do you suggest they raise money? The only thing I can think of is to carry more popular program. This can only be accomplished through some combination of paying money they don't have to the producers of those programs and moving away from their mission to provide content that can't be found elsewhere on the air waves.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2006 1:37 PM

Perhaps I am being unkind, but isn't most high culture the marketing of that feeling of smug superiority that comes with being an elite? If classical music was inherently better than, hip hop or pop wouldn't more people want to listen to it? Wouldn't it be more commericially viable than sports talk or other radio formats? It would seem to me that there should be a way to program classical that would bring in more casual listeners, but if casual listeners tune in would you lose the snobs? And if the snobs go could there be classical radio?

Posted by: Chris | December 18, 2006 1:49 PM

Thank goodness. I thought I had been exiled to, whatever wildness you what to name. Don't forget C-Span Radio for constant talk and replays of the Sunday TV political talk shows. However, I hope they do keep "Speaking of Faith" and "Justice Talking."

Posted by: DIG | December 18, 2006 1:58 PM

Sharon Rockefeller should step down. She's an embarrassment to the family name. This goes back to when she sold the donor list to WETA to for-profit companies back in '99 or so - The gift of giving to WETA at that point was endless spam, junk mail, and continual harassment by fund raisers (WETA themselves game back, asking for more, and more,and more within 2 months). WGBH has a classy management team, perhaps they could loan us a competent manager who would focus on building content.


Posted by: Drew | December 18, 2006 2:10 PM

Aren't ipods programmed with music one already knows? the beauty of music on the radio is that you might hear a new piece of music or discover a new composer. Over my 30 years of listening to WGMS I was exposed to many composers that were new to me and learned a lot. Every time I would tune to WETA I ended up hearing a talk show. I want music, not talk and the commercials on WGMS were a small price to pay for their great on air talent. They made classical music fun, not stuffy. I remember one April back in the 80's I had WGMS on at work. Renee Chaney (spl?) played Bolero. She said she went through the station's library and pulled all their versions of it and would play them all in succession! After the first one was done she came back on with "April Fools!!!" and I almost fell off my chair laughing. I love WGMS, its on-air staff and I miss them terribly since I can no longer get the signal at home or at work.

Posted by: DCLO | December 18, 2006 3:23 PM

I just hope that WETA doesn't think it can just flip a switch and move its WETA2 programming (which you can actually get with an HD radio) to WETA.

To me, if this goes through, it will be a total and utter repudiation of National Public Radio's overall strategy. They lopped off Performance Today and Fred Child, and both are now over at Minnesota Public Radio. They are still funnelling in money to NPR West whilst its programming (Day To Day) could be on the way out at WETA.

Posted by: Voices lost? | December 18, 2006 4:34 PM

Actually WAMU once did play classical music. When I was a kid one could hear classical on WAMU, WETA, WBJC and WGMS, so if a selection was not to one's taste there were alternatives on the radio.

I forgave WAMU for dropping classical but still hold a grudge from the way they canceled Lee Michael Demsey's show.

WETA dropped classical music within weeks (or was it days, minutes, or seconds?) of the death of the station's founder. I am thrilled that the board is reconsidering. Just don't drop Mary Cliff's "Traditions" -- practically the only music to survive the previous pogrom.

Posted by: Vienna Mom | December 18, 2006 4:51 PM

I'm glad to hear that WETA may bring back the classics. If WGMS is classics "light" then WETA was classics "heavy". I enjoy the lights with a little bit of the esoteric (i.e. string quartets) thrown in. If you're talking about getting people interested in classical music, light classical is a gateway to the heavier variety.

I also hope they:
Keep the folk music shows
Keep Prairie Home Companion
Bring back Hearts of Space

After all, PBS should be an alternative choice.
I will miss the announcers on WGMS.

I agree Sharon Rockefeller should step down!

Posted by: JL | December 18, 2006 4:51 PM

PS. If they do bring back classical music, we need to show our support for their decision by contributing!

Posted by: JL | December 18, 2006 4:55 PM

WBJC is a first rate classical music station that does more than play and replay the nifty fifty. WGMS was always a wallpaper music station. The real question is if WETA returns, even partly, to a classical format, will it try and emulate WBJC? Please recall that when WETA did classical music, it was hardly innovative programming.

Posted by: Amadeus | December 18, 2006 5:12 PM

I just wish one of the public radio stations would start playing Fiona Ritchie's "Thistle and Shamrock" and Ellen Kushner's "Sound and Spirit."

While in college in Williamsburg, I used to hold my clock up in the air for two hours a week just to hear "Thistle and Shamrock"!

I do have to say that WAMU's three afternoon hours of bluegrass always baffled me. That seems like far more of a niche market than the potential classical music audience, but I could be entirely wrong about it.

Posted by: ariadnesthread | December 18, 2006 5:14 PM

On the comment on "Thistle and Shamrock"-- It is aired on WAMU 88.5 on Sundays at 5:00.

And I agree that it's fantastic that WETA will broadcast classical music again. It was nonsensical to duplicate WAMU's news programming, and I think there's more than enough talk radio on the air. Classical is a true, and needed, alternative.

Posted by: ldk | December 18, 2006 5:39 PM

I don't understand the difference between classical music and BBC radio. Why is it ok to hold the opinion that those who wish to listen to BBC (or other WETA programming) should just find it on the internet or via satellite and is it not ok to hold the opinion tha those who wish to listen to classical music should just find it on the internet or via satellite?

Posted by: Exception taken | December 18, 2006 5:41 PM

Thank you. A very sane and cogent piece of writing.

I learned all about classical music on the radio when there were some 4 stations available to listen to in Boston in the 1960's.

Having at least, if only, one such station in Washington does make sense if one really believes in diversity as a reality and not as a mantra for whatever makes money. That's what the market is for.

Public radio is what our tax dollars are for and I pay plenty to get more than what I've already read in the NYT, WSJ et al.

Give me a break, give me beauty.

PS

Bring back "Millenium of Music'!!!!

Posted by: William Shine | December 18, 2006 9:03 PM

I think that the glory days of WGMS were the late 1970s and early 1980s--variety of programming, round the clock announcing by people who knew/know what they're talking about (I'm not saying anything against current WGMS announcers, but it seems to me that roughly midnight to five am are announcer-less), lots of painless ways to learn about classical music, and lots of community involvement. (Remember the "opera-thons", which somehow were less painful than PBS's/NPR's begathons--or the fireworks choreographed to music played on WGMS?)

Maybe it's just my small, portable receiver ("head unit") for my satellite radio, but I find the sound quality of a good FM station superior--especially in the car.

Glad that WETA radio is thinking of coming to its senses and thinking of broadcasting programming that is rare on the commercial airwaves--which as I recall was originally the purpose of public radio and TV.

Posted by: Kevin | December 18, 2006 10:52 PM

It baffles me that no one ever mentions WAMU's local news. The station does an outstanding job of covering the DC area and, presumably, training AMU student journalists.

WETA has never made even the slightest bow towards local news programming and even in its heyday did hardly any coverage of the local music scene. It is the worst NPR affiliate in the nation, serving as nothing but a funnel for network programming.

Posted by: jrh | December 19, 2006 6:40 AM

WETA's decision is a good one. Nonetheless. WGMS is unique and popular, and if this deal goes through, it can only be a matter of time before a new classical station arises to replace it.

I just hope the WGMS presenters can stay together, and the record library can be kept intact until that happens. The presenters and the music are a very special part of so many people's lives.

After all, I am reliably informed that classical music is played in Heaven. In hell, I believe they broadcast endless repeats of Redskins games.

Posted by: Steve Myers | December 19, 2006 9:11 AM

I wish people got as worked up about the absence of jazz from D.C. radio (yes, WPFW plays a little, but that's not its primary function) as they do over classical music. Then again, the classical clientele are the so-called "right" people living in upper Northwest, Chevy Chase and Bethesda (they were the ones grousing about the weakness of WGMS' signal), who are inherently better than the rest of us peons. Nothing against classical, mind you, just a reflection on a double standard.

Posted by: Vincent | December 19, 2006 9:16 AM

I think that WETA's decision to keep classical music is a good one. But I think we are missing the big picture here. Radio has forgotten that they are here to play music that the public wants- not what advertisers or a board wants. If we look at radio in general in DC, especially this year, this is nothing new. Good radio is missing in DC.

Posted by: naner | December 19, 2006 9:20 AM

If WETA makes good on its promise, I'll become a donor again -- and at a higher level. Where will I find the extra cash? By listening to the new Redskins station just long enough to find out who is advertising there and then refusing to spend any money with them.

Posted by: Mary Fraker | December 19, 2006 10:49 AM

Agree with JL: WETA should bring back HEARTS OF SPACE. I can listen to it on XM but can't record it.

Posted by: 16th and M NW | December 19, 2006 3:50 PM

I was never fond of the folk music, but I'd like them to bring back 'Music Through the Night' for us night-owls. I enjoy 'This American Life,' but as far as I'm concerned they can ditch all the talk shows. Of course they'll keep ATC and Morning Edition.

I hope they pick up 'From the Top' again too... I was happily surprised when WGMS, a commercial station, picked up that show.

Let's just hope that they DO switch.

Posted by: Kevin in Arlington | December 19, 2006 4:03 PM

The problem is that there is just not a big enough audience for so-called "serious" classical music programming anymore. If there was, WGMS would still be doing it. Most other public radio stations that are still doing classical music are opting for the lighter approach because that's the only programming that attracts listeners and pledge money.

Face it--most people who even bother to listen to classical music just want high-toned background music--they don't want long, lugubrious symphonies, they don't want screeching sopranos, they don't want weirdo avant-garde music. This is not 1970 and don't expect WETA to act like it is if they do go back to classical. If you want the ultrapurist approach, subscribe to satellite or pull out your iPod or CDs.

Posted by: Mark Jeffries | December 19, 2006 5:38 PM

Please . . . not Hearts of Space! I used to quickly switch off the radio when I heard that goofy opening theme.

Posted by: listener | December 20, 2006 9:38 AM

" New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore radio stations make our area sound like a cultural backwater. It's embarrasing!"

Not to mention Atlanta and LA. Both have at least 2 full-time jazz and 2 full-time clasical stations, and more college stations than one has time to listen to.

Not to mention Raleigh and Memphis. I own jazz CD's I would have never heard of if I had not been to Raleigh and Memephis on business. We have WPFW, but they play the same stuff all the time.

Posted by: CEEAF | December 20, 2006 11:48 AM

" New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore radio stations make our area sound like a cultural backwater. It's embarrasing!"

Not to mention Atlanta and LA. Both have at least 2 full-time jazz and 2 full-time clasical stations, and more college stations than one has time to listen to.

Not to mention Raleigh and Memphis. I own jazz CD's I would have never heard of if I had not been to Raleigh and Memephis on business. We have WPFW, but they play the same stuff all the time.

Posted by: CEEAF | December 20, 2006 11:48 AM

" New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore radio stations make our area sound like a cultural backwater. It's embarrasing!"

Not to mention Atlanta and LA. Both have at least 2 full-time jazz and 2 full-time clasical stations, and more college stations than one has time to listen to.

Not to mention Raleigh and Memphis. I own jazz CD's I would have never heard of if I had not been to Raleigh and Memephis on business. We have WPFW, but they're part-time jazz and they play the same stuff all the time.

Posted by: CEEAF | December 20, 2006 11:49 AM

"I wish people got as worked up about the absence of jazz from D.C. radio (yes, WPFW plays a little, but that's not its primary function) as they do over classical music. Then again, the classical clientele are the so-called "right" people living in upper Northwest, Chevy Chase and Bethesda (they were the ones grousing about the weakness of WGMS' signal), who are inherently better than the rest of us peons. Nothing against classical, mind you, just a reflection on a double standard."

Amen.

Sad but true.

Ever since we lost WUDC, the jazz on DC area radio has been paltry, to say the least. It's sad that America's most prominent art form gets so little exposure in the Nation's Capital.

Posted by: CEEAF | December 20, 2006 11:55 AM

"I wish people got as worked up about the absence of jazz from D.C. radio (yes, WPFW plays a little, but that's not its primary function) as they do over classical music. Then again, the classical clientele are the so-called "right" people living in upper Northwest, Chevy Chase and Bethesda (they were the ones grousing about the weakness of WGMS' signal), who are inherently better than the rest of us peons. Nothing against classical, mind you, just a reflection on a double standard."

Amen.

Sad but true.

Ever since we lost WUDC, the jazz on DC area radio has been paltry, to say the least. It's sad that America's most prominent art form gets so little exposure in the Nation's Capital.

Posted by: CEEAF | December 20, 2006 11:55 AM

Sorry for the multiple posts, but I keep getting cryptic error messages when I hit the "submit" button.

Posted by: CEEAF | December 20, 2006 11:58 AM

I am sad to see comments about classical music being for the elite. I am not elite; and I enjoy classical music. Perhaps more arts funding for public education would give more people the opportunity to learn about and develop a taste for classical music in addition to other styles of music. That is where my ejoyment of classical music began.
Regarding WGMS - The image I have is of a thoughtless hunter killing off the last of an endangered species so he can move into its cave.
Regarding WETA - I will resume financial contributions to them when they resume classical music programming.

Posted by: Mary HH | December 21, 2006 8:51 AM

I'll be interested to see how they'll manage such a switch. My understanding is that WETA management gave away (or worse, simply trashed) the majority of its enormous classical music library. If that's true, they'll have to rebuild what was reportedly a superb collection. Of course they can start by buying the 50 greatest hits from WGMS.

Posted by: Curious | December 21, 2006 5:46 PM

The good news this evening is that our prayers have been answered. I understand that the deal is off. WGMS will remain. Mr. Snyder will look elsewhere.

This is the best Christmas gift imaginable!

Merry Christmas all!
Steve

Posted by: Steve Myers | December 23, 2006 9:10 PM

No one brings up the issue of ownership-- if the board of WETA does not have a sense of mission-- that the fine arts station is there for a purpose of elevating musical culture-- there is little point in asking them to bring back a fine arts station. A half hearted effort is not worthy of pubic support. Why not let them keep the license but give operating control to a musical or educational organization that actually believes in the mission and would really support it. I doubt if you would find that commitment in WETA board.

Posted by: Tom Ammons | January 11, 2007 2:32 PM

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