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Subject: Re: Fwd: Met broadcasts in Dallas
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 5 Dec 2016 14:21:17 -0500

text/plain (181 lines)

Growing up in Connecticut, I started listening to the broadcasts on WFCR (NPR) out of 
Amherst - they did do some classical music besides (the iconic "Morning Pro Musica" with 
Robert J. Lurtsema 7 days a week, plus symphony broadcasts, etc), but they also carried 
the usual NPR fare - not all music by any means. Sometime in my teens, Connecticut also 
got their own public radio station, and they also carried the Met - but similarly they carried 
their own mix of NPR programming. The radio station at the University Of Hartford (the 
home of the Hartt school of music) also carried their own opera broadcasts (recordings) on 

Moving to the Boston area for college, WCRB was the one true all-classical station 
(commercially run), and at that point, in the 1980's, they carried the Met. It somehow 
seemed odd to me all of a sudden that our local NPR stations (the two we still have - 
WGBH, and Boston University's WBUR) didn't carry the broadcasts. I think that even back 
then, WBUR was mostly talk/news programming, while WGBH did more of the arts/music 

Gradually that all changed around as well. WCRB dumped the Met, the Harvard station 
(similar to the Hartt station) picked them up, along with their very eclectic and quirky 
music programming (they're famous for their music "orgies," marathon sessions devoted 
to one composer or theme, etc). More recently, WGBH started dumping its devotion to 
classical music (giving us *two* local news-oriented NPR stations), but they also merged 
with WCRB which has now become their 24-7 classical music sister station. 

One of the quirks on WHRB (Harvard) is that the Met broadcasts are preceded by a 
country music show - and the host will always do a promo where he says that coming up 
will be "The Metropolitan Opry." The *truly* great bonus to WHRB carrying the Met is the 
amazing David Elliott and his post-opera presentations of "singers of the past" doing 
pieces from the opera just heard - and other related music as well. He's a true opera nerd 
in the very best sense - he knows his stuff - and is *always* worth listening to, even if the 
opera of the afternoon isn't your favorite. (Streaming at for future 

In any case, classical music on the radio is still alive and well - especially now that we can 
access stations from all over the world via the web. I know that some people out here just 
like to gripe gripe gripe gripe gripe, but I think we should be quite grateful for what's 
actually out there. And in fact, streaming radio carries a perk - no annoying problems with 
antenna reception. ;-)

I'm also not really sure what "radio as it was meant to be" means. Radio, like all forms of 
media, have always been rather fluid in their presentation. Styles come, styles go, and the 
programming changes to reflect that. I'm not quite old enough to have lived when radio 
WAS the main broadcast medium (for me, standardized use of color TV was the new fad as 
a kid), but even then, was there ever such a thing as only one *true* radio format? I tend 
to think nostalgia does, too often, play vicious tricks with our heads. 

On Mon, 5 Dec 2016 10:53:35 -0500, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>The big mistake here is regarding the Met Opera Broadcasts as a
>part of the ongoing insipid pap that calls itself  "broadcast classical
>It sort of works here in NYC, where we still have the watered down
> semblance
>of what used to be one of a number of authentic classical music broadcasting
>venues: WQXR.  It ain't what it used to be, but it does provide the Met
>matinees.  Truth is, the Met on the radio every Saturday was once a special
>event, not an example of a station's regular programming.  It was provided,
>without commercials, as a prestigious service to the community by a network
>such as NBC. Eventually, in NYC, it was carried by WOR, a primarily talk-'
>oriented local station replete with a daily menu of live shows featuring a
>of subjects.  It was the real thing, radio as it was meant to be; if you
>wanted to
>listen to a disc jockey you simply twisted the dial.  Sadly, the truth must
>faced; on the airwaves today, the dollar - and the dumbest audience -
> rules.
>On Sun, Dec 4, 2016 at 7:07 PM, gordon young <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> This evening I received a post from WRR. Lubbock and other towns smaller
>> than Dallas can afford the broadcasts but....
>> Mr. Young:
>> Thank you for your note and for being a WRR listener.
>> I wanted to take a few minutes to fill you in on the status of the
>> Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on WRR.  As you know, WRR has carried these
>> broadcasts for many years and, like yourself, I'm a big fan of opera and I
>> understand that any decision on carrying the Met is extremely important to
>> some of our listeners.
>> That said, there are two things that all of us at WRR are dedicated to in
>> all that we do:  1) Working to increase the audience for classical music
>> and 2) operating in a financially sound manner so that we can continue to
>> bring classical music to the people of North Texas.  We
>> take the responsibility of providing "Classical music and the arts for
>> North Texas" very seriously and never do anything without carefully
>> considering the effect on the two items I just mentioned.
>> The fact is, the Met broadcasts cost us dearly, both in lost audience and
>> lost revenue.
>> During the weeks that we carry the Met, we lose about 40% of our Saturday
>> afternoon audience...a disastrous falloff in listenership and one of the
>> barriers to our growing our overall audience.  We have promoted these
>> broadcasts heavily on air, via email blasts, permanent ads on our web site
>> and more.  Nothing has increased the audience for these programs over the
>> past couple of years.
>> Also, WRR loses as many as 32 minutes of spot time during a four hour
>> broadcast.  This is time that we would normally sell to our clients and
>> thus bring in additional revenues for the station.  In the past, the Met
>> paid WRR a fee for carrying the performances as partial compensation for
>> lost revenues.  They discontinued this two years ago.  We discussed their
>> reinstating these payments for this year and were told that they had no
>> budget for doing so and that, if WRR didn't carry the broadcasts, listeners
>> had the alternative to get the performances on the internet stream.  They
>> did not seem overly concerned to lose broadcast coverage in the fifth
>> largest media market in the nation.
>> In addition, we have worked for the past two years to find sponsors who
>> would replaced the revenue we lose when carrying the Met.  No clients have
>> been willing to sponsor these performances in a significant enough way to
>> cover the lost revenue costs and compensate for the loss of audience.
>> The bottom line is the Met broadcasts cost us listeners and costs us
>> revenue.  No broadcaster can continue to support programming that is
>> hurting the station and WRR is no exception.  We've searched for two years
>> for a way to grow the audience for the Met and sell the show to potential
>> advertisers, with no success on either front.  We can no longer air a
>> program that is such a drag on station audience and revenues.
>> We hope you understand and that you will continue to enjoy the hours of
>> classical music WRR provides.  We're fortunate in North Texas to have a
>> station like WRR and I can promise you we will do all we can to keep this
>> station an enjoyable, uplifting classical broadcast resource for our area.
>> **********************************************
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