Thursday, October 1, 2009

Big Shifts in Classical Music Radio

I wrote last Friday, September 25 for about layoffs at Seattle's classical music station KING-FM. Today, has published a second piece, where I try to figure out what went wrong at KING-FM, and what options the station has for moving forward. From what I've learned, my guess is that KING-FM will shift its mostly commercial operation to something more resembling a public radio station.

If this happens, KING-FM won't be the only big city classical music station to have made this transition lately. Both New York's WQXR and Boston's WCRB are both in the midst of conversion from strictly commercial operations to listener-supported, non-commercial. WQXR was purchased from the New York Times earlier this year by municipal broadcaster WNYC; WCRB is in the process of being purchased by Boston public broadcasting giant WGBH.

No sale will be required for KING-FM to shift to non-commercial; the station is already owned by a non-profit organization and already collects a tiny amount of pledge dollars in support of its multiple commercial-free Internet streams/HD subchannels.

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