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We are it!!!

Postby Nicole Marie » Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:45 am

Beethoven Radio is now the ONLY 24 classical radio staiton in the state of Connecticut!

Please read:

From Bach To Talk

By MATTHEW ERIKSON
Hartford Courant Staff Writer

June 1 2006

Connecticut Public Radio WNPR-FM (90.5) is dropping most of its classical music programs in favor of news and information programming, effective today.

Gone from the station's schedule are morning music, the noontime "Lunch with Mozart" hour, the monthly program "What's New," which has spotlighted recent CD releases, and evening and overnight programming. They will be replaced by a combination of local news, the BBC World Service and popular National Public Radio shows such as "Talk of the Nation," "Fresh Air" and "This American Life."

Unaffected are live Saturday afternoon broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, recorded performances of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Connecticut Opera on "Sunday Spotlight," and the organ program "Pipe Dreams."

According to Jerry Franklin, the president and chief executive officer of Connecticut Public Broadcasting Inc., the parent organization of WNPR, and Kim Grehn, vice president and program director, the changes were precipitated by a steady decline in classical music listeners and support during membership campaigns. Since 2003, WNPR has lost 37 percent of that audience, Grehn said. The fastest growing demographic for classical music listening at the station is in the 65-plus age group. Grehn became convinced a year ago that change was in order.

Even so, Franklin said, "I worry about major donors withdrawing major support. ... That's a big concern. But we believe that this is a better way for us to serve our community."

"If you want classical music 24/7, there are services you can subscribe to," said Grehn, who stressed that there are about a half-dozen radio stations in the area that broadcast classical music - not counting satellite radio. He believes that Connecticut Public Radio's mission is to inform and engage the local community with the kind of comprehensive news and call-in programs that are not found elsewhere on the radio.

To that end, "Where We Live," a daily, hourlong, news-talk program focused on local newsmakers and issues will begin airing Monday on WNPR. Grehn and Franklin also hope to increase the station's coverage of the local arts scene and other cultural topics.

"With a larger audience, we can provide a valuable service for some of our local cultural institutions," Franklin said.

Still, there's no certainty that a mostly news and talk format will appeal to a larger audience. Grehn points out that in the days after 9/11, when the station interrupted its regular programming for news, its audience increased 40 percent. But when WETA-FM in Washington, D.C., made the switch last year from classical music to news and talk shows from NPR, the BBC and other outside sources, it lost nearly one-third of its share of the total D.C.-area audience. Last fall it raised $34,000 less than the year before, when the station aired a mixed format.

Grehn points out that WETA changed programming after another local station had gone to all news. He anticipates that more than a few listeners might be unhappy with the new format.

Grehn and Franklin informed major donors of the station's changes in a letter sent last week.

"We have received phone calls," Franklin said. "No one has been irate. It's mostly intelligent people that listen to classical music. Ninety-nine percent of them have been disappointed and sorry, but they understand the business reality that forced you to go down this path."

The change in programming "does have a symbolic impact, but I don't think it's another nail in the coffin of classical music," said Michael Yaffe, director of the Hartt School Community Division at the University of Hartford. "As a field, we should be more aggressive in getting our constituencies to understand new technologies such as the Internet and satellite radio. And also getting people excited by the prospect of live music."

Franklin asked for patience as WNPR goes forward with its changes.

"I hope that listeners understand that we're not making a snap decision. I hope they can listen to the new service and form an opinion later," he said. "And call us with suggestions. We would like to hear from them."

http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-by ... lines-home
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Postby Shapley » Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:54 am

Nicole,

Congratulations! :D

V/R

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Postby BigJon@Work » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:14 am

You ran 'em right out of business. Free markets rule!
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Postby Schmeelkie » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:15 am

Sad about them losing listenership. I wonder how they calculate that? Is it just from memberships? Maybe younger listeners are tuning in, but can't afford/don't want to get a membership? Since I pretty much just listen to classical at work (thus - b.com), I don't have a membership at our local PBS classical radio station...hope they don't go under - my parents listen to them a lot - that's what my dad plays all day at his service station. I would probably be listening to them online (local weather and traffic would be helpful), but they don't do streaming.

And if you look at the b.com membership, we are nothing if not diverse - in age, gender, location, etc. I just find it difficult to believe that only the 60+ crowd was listening to classical in CT.

But great for B.com - more listeners for you online and at WTMI! :)
"Up plus down equals flat" Pumpkin, 3 yrs, 10 mo, July '07
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:31 am

I was in Connecticut (very briefly) last summer. All I could find on the FM band was country and stuff my kids like better than I do.

It's my opinion that PBS has been in deep trouble for a long time. I don't like the whole condescending "we are here to educate you" tone of their announcers, alternated with the money-begging weeks, and the "we don't take commercial advertisements" superiority (while acknowledging their grantors and sponsors in a commercial!). It doesn't seem to result in superior television programming. I prefer cable!
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Postby barfle » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:43 am

Hopefully, those listeners lost to PBS will be tuning in to Beethoven Radio, and everyone will get a raise! :D

But, it's a darn shame that classical music is taking it in the shorts these days. I'm one of the few people I know who appreciate it. The others in the area I met through the BBB.
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Postby Nicole Marie » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:51 am

Schmeelkie wrote:Sad about them losing listenership. I wonder how they calculate that? Is it just from memberships? Maybe younger listeners are tuning in, but can't afford/don't want to get a membership? Since I pretty much just listen to classical at work (thus - b.com), I don't have a membership at our local PBS classical radio station...hope they don't go under - my parents listen to them a lot - that's what my dad plays all day at his service station. I would probably be listening to them online (local weather and traffic would be helpful), but they don't do streaming.

And if you look at the b.com membership, we are nothing if not diverse - in age, gender, location, etc. I just find it difficult to believe that only the 60+ crowd was listening to classical in CT.

But great for B.com - more listeners for you online and at WTMI! :)


Hello Schmeelkie-

Public Radio classical broadcasts in CT were for a long time VERY condescending. They played the "serious" pieces and it all came across as very pretensions. Then we came to town and took a different take on it. Last year (maybe more) they moved all their classical DJ's to news and broadcast classical music from the NPR satellite feed. The programming then changed and was more along what we do but it still never really caught on.

We meet Public Radio listeners, well they don't like us. They listen to us but often say, "You know you said this wrong, or you really should play this." They are not our core audience. Our fans, say "Love it!" "Thanks for not talking down to me!" The "purist" stick to Public Radio and we have the fun folks!

So I am not surprised that they did not have the support. They never accessed the "new" classical fan. The NY Times just did a great article on classical music. They say it's not declining, just changing. The new audience is internet savvy, like to download their classical tunes, buy tickets per show (not in a subscription). The article is called "Check the Numbers: Rumors of Classical Music's Demise are Dead Wrong". I think this article echoes the change in classical music that CT Public Radio was late to pick up on.
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Postby Nicole Marie » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:59 am

Also... the way that Public Radio gets money is like this:

The local stations get money/support from National Radio (their governing body) based on how many listeners they have. If they have more, they get less money. The thought is they have more listeners, so they can raise more money. CT has one of the highest level of listeners in the nation tuned in to Public Radio. So they get very little money from national. But that does not mean every listener gives.

It cost them about $4000 to air one episode of Car Talk. So with all these cost per show and the more listeners the less money for national and not all listeners give... well classical music was making them the least so it got the ax.
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Postby bignaf » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:06 pm

that's sad, I'm sure many people who wouldn't listen to classical music otherwise, got exposed to it through them.
but it's good for you! it's an opportunity and a responsibility. hopefully you can grab a sizable portion of their listenership.
you are now responsible for classical music in CT, so make sure you don't rest on your laurels. :!: congrats!
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Postby Shapley » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:32 pm

Nicole,

I've always considered PBS to be welfare for the wealthy. I know that many poor people have been exposed to classical music through it. However, most of the PBS listeners I've met could well afford to pay for their listening pleasure, but they choose not to. I'm not sure how many of them cough up funding at pledge time, but my guess would be that it is less than half. They create quite a fuss when the idea of cutting PBS funding is brought up, saying that it will deprive the poor of programming that would not otherwise be exposed to. In reality, they are opposed to being themselves deprived of the priveledge of free listenership.

PBS had its purpose, showing the world that there is a place in television and radio for the type of programming they've offered. With the advent of channels such as A&ETV, Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, and so on, as well as commercial talk radio and commercial classical stations such as Beethoven.com, it is hard to justify the continuation of PBS in a competitive marketplace. The marketing success of such shows as Sesame Street and This Old House shows that the programmes can easily be supported by a free-market approach. PBS now finds itself trying to compete against well managed commercial stations providing higher-quality versions of the same type of programming. The structure of PBS is not suited to life in a competitive market. They need to either restructure (i.e. privatize and commercialize) or return to their original basis, which is providing types of programming that are lacking on commercial networks.

It wouldn't hurt to wean the arrogant listenership of PBS from the public teat.

V/R
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Postby shostakovich » Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:34 pm

I was saddened to read in the paper this morning the article Nicole quoted. The demise of the classics on WNPR is, I think, a coffin nail for classical music, even if Michael Yaffe says he does not. I used 4 buttons on my car radio up to now. It's 3 now.

Classical music worked in a free market when the market was limited to the wealthy and the successful (composers and those who commissioned works). The patrons were generally educated, and the arts were part of that education.
In the 20th century the arts were removed from many public shool and college curricula. Appreciation for the arts has hit a low point now. Money and time are spent on more instant gratification and self expression rather than on looking at and listening to the greatness of the past. Until this trend is reversed (and I don't know what could do it), the classics can not make in a free market.
Film music, initially a descendant of Wagner's Music Drama, has continued to have an audience. It is the only successful "classical music" of today because it reaches a vast audience. It doesn't "take" on most movie-goers, but a small fraction of a vast audience is sufficient.
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Postby Serenity » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:20 pm

All we can do as classical music lovers is to try to communicate our passion for it to those who would listen. Educate those unfamiliar with it when they are receptive. Associate the music with background stories such as history of the time, composers lives and issues they faced; everybody loves a good story.
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Postby Serenity » Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:30 pm

This morning, my 8 year old son pulled out an old leapster book about classical music. We ended up looking at information in Wikipedia about classical music in general and he clicked on some links to read about people like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky. I briefly told him that Beethoven had composed the 3rd symphony in honor of Napoleon and he went through my cassette collection looking for it. After 5 minutes of the 1st movement he turned it off and said it didn't make any sense. He just liked music he recognized; his favorite being Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Oh yeah, he read a little on Napoleon and stared at some of the pictures. "He doesn't look like a bad guy." "Hey, his first wife? How can a bad guy be married?" :lol:

Anyway, it's a start. Maybe I can get him to listen more attentively if I use soundtracks (as Shos points out).
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Sat Jun 03, 2006 6:19 pm

Maybe he'll like a copy of "What's Opera, Doc?". Bugs Bunny is my favorite opera singer. OT is next, of course, but Bugs is cuter.

Cartoons seem to have been the first classical music for a number of us. That may be the way to go. Music is an art, and arts are for enjoyment. Let him have fun with whatever works for him.
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Postby Serenity » Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:28 pm

Selma, I already have the album but there's not a trace of any cartoon character in it; its all music. I was dissapointed that cartoon characters were not a part of it.

I also think he would enjoy a Victor Borges performance :)
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Postby GreatCarouser » Sun Jun 04, 2006 10:22 am

I'd like to see two polls here:

1. Are/Were you trained to play a musical instrument or sing?
2. How were you first exposed to Classical music?

The answers might well point out a path for those looking for a way to influence youth. It might be fruitful to add a category for those who got ballet lessons but may not have trained as singers or instrumentalists. My own feeling is we would find most of us would answer 'yes' to question one.

I know other BBs have a 'add a poll' option. I believe all the sites I've seen it on use this format.

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Postby DavidS » Sun Jun 04, 2006 12:13 pm

1. I took singing and music theory lessons (compulsory) & participated in school choirs in elementary school, as well as studying the violin for a couple of years later on.
2. My first exposure to classical music was long before that: My parents listened to music over the radio; and took me - from infancy - to the local park on summer Saturday afternoons where we heard various police or fire brigade bands playing classical pieces, also to operas etc.
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Postby Serenity » Sun Jun 04, 2006 2:46 pm

My parents only listened to elevator music. I took accordion lessons because a salesman happened to knock on the door and offer it but I was most fascinated with cartoon music.
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Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Mon Jun 05, 2006 1:03 am

1. My mother made me take piano lessons. (Premise: Every Girl Should Learn To Play.) It was a resounding failure; it appears that I have no instrumental talent. Mom gave up when the teacher, the neighbors, and my little sister agreed unanimously that I should be let off the hook. I did learn to read music.

I sang in school and church choirs, as well as the car and the shower, and several of the school and church choirmasters were into teaching. The ability to sort-of read music, at least in the treble clef, has been useful. I like to sing. I don't get solos, but I'm welcome in any non-critical application.

1a. Carrying on tradition, my kids had music lessons, on instruments of their own choosing. This seems to have worked out better in the long run. They can all sing; only Melle chooses to do so.

2. Cartoons. School. Lessons.

My mother may have liked classical (I suspect she did) but my dad was fond of country and Lawrence Welk. Eck. I can cope with the modern non-nasal country tone, but the old stuff gives me the horrors.

3. Yes, I had ballet lessons. Well, ballet/tapdancing lessons. It was reasonably amusing, there were "shows" with fancy costumes, and the whole experience probably helped with the grace&balance thing. Never got as far as the rigid-box toe shoes, dance was abandoned when it became obvious that I would not have a dancer's body.
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Postby Schmeelkie » Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:02 am

GreatCarouser wrote:I'd like to see two polls here:

1. Are/Were you trained to play a musical instrument or sing?
2. How were you first exposed to Classical music?

It might be fruitful to add a category for those who got ballet lessons but may not have trained as singers or instrumentalists. My own feeling is we would find most of us would answer 'yes' to question one.


1. Well, I sang in the church choir from about 2nd-8th grade. Not that I ever sang well, mind you. Did choir in high school for two years 'cause it got me out of taking art (which I REALLY stink at). Still sing in the car and Pumpkin doesn't seem to mind my singing as long as I don't go TOO noticably out of tune. Took two useless years of piano in middle school - never got the hang of it (and I still had to take art...). I seem to remember doing some basic guitar and recorder in elementary school as part of our music classes.

2. My parents always listened to classical - both the 'classics' and movie music. I remember the first time I was actually old enough to watch some of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - knew all the music already. Oh, yeah - they also liked old musicals and a relative gave us the 'Cats' soundtrack and I was hooked for a while. Cartoons also a big influence.

3. Took ballet from 2nd grade through my second year in college (when I messed up my knees waitressing). Never went on pointe, and was never that good (like Selma, my body wasn't really built for it - my first teacher in college said my legs had too much muscle - only 'sport' where this is a bad thing). I just really enjoyed it - it was a great way to keep in shape since I pretty much stunk at sports.

Gee, can you tell I was a nerd...oh, well. Now I'm an 'intellectual'. Thank god for the recent hipness of computer nerds - I look pretty cool in comparison. :wink:
"Up plus down equals flat" Pumpkin, 3 yrs, 10 mo, July '07
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