This week in DC, a radio dust up knocks WGMS off the air, ending 60 years of Bach and Beethoven. The new kid on the dial is "Radio George" taking control of 104 fm and spinning nothing but the hits of "the 70s, 80s, and whatever we want." Radio George©R is one of those hip new-fangled stations built on the premise that "its all about the music" i.e. no DeeJays. according to this Washington Post piece (link) the station kicked off with Cheryl Crow and a promise: "one minute you'll flash back to high school, then college, then you're chasing the kids" !!!
The Bach people, however, refuse to stay down - in an unprecedented move they have taken over WETA, a public radio station that has been airing Public Affairs content for 2 years now. This meant that staffers showed up to work only to be greeted by the security guards with summons to go see HR.
There are of course further intrigues and humiliations, but I would rather direct your attention to a survey on classical music listening habits (link) that pops up in reference to this story on my friend Jake's blog (link) And keep in mind these bytes of wisdom are used as a defense for classical music programming:
We found that the primary benefit provided by classical music radio is stress relief. In twelve focus groups across six markets, respondents told us over and over that they use and value the classical music format because it is soothing.
The second major benefit provided by classical stations is clarity of mind. With a clear mind classical listeners can focus like Zen monks, concentrate on a task and do better work, whether on the computer, in the studio or in the shop.
Thirdly, classical music radio provides an escape from contemporary culture, which target listeners perceive as decadent and ugly. The classical format serves as a refuge that preserves the beauty and majesty of a better time.
Most of our respondents use classical music to escape from the problems of the world. Accordingly, they mostly avoid the NPR newsmagazines. While NPR news in depth attracts societally conscious listeners, it drives away most classical music listeners.
We found that listeners who use commercial classical stations share the same values as classical listeners who access the format through public radio stations. They are the same kind of people.
Classical listeners use the station for gratification of their private, internal needs. Yet through the station they identify with a small community of enlightened others. Having a classical station in the market means that there is still some hope for civilization.