For release March 24, 2016
Station Resource Group Names Wende Persons
Managing Director of Classical Music Rising,
A Project to Shape the Future of Classical Music Radio
Music industry veteran Wende Persons will lead Classical Music Rising, a new collaborative project of leading public media organizations dedicated to shaping next generation strategies for classical music radio. Station Resource Group co-CEOs Tom Thomas and Terry Clifford today announced the appointment of Persons as Managing Director of the initiative.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has committed $400,000 to support Classical Music Rising over a two-year period. Five founding stations have pledged a total of $100,000 in additional funds.
Classical music radio is confronting significant change – expanding options for listeners on broadcast and digital platforms, broad demographic shifts, and evolving trends in the cultural consumption of music. The work of Classical Music Rising centers on strategy, innovative tactics, and collective action, all informed by ongoing research and analysis. Station leaders are looking for insights into classical music’s 21st-century audiences, digital experiments to create new audience experiences, development of new talent, innovations that build audience awareness and engagement, and new revenue and business models to fuel their work.
Wende Persons brings three decades of experience in the performing arts, broadcast, recording, and classical music industries. Most recently she was senior consultant with the New York City-based publicity, digital media and consulting agency 21C Media Group. She has previously worked at classical stations WQXR in New York City and WQED in Pittsburgh, with American Public Media’s Classical Music Initiative, and with Universal Classics Group, where she was Senior Director of Marketing for the classical labels Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and Phillips. She has consulted with Lincoln Center and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, among other arts organizations. She is an adjunct professor in the Performing Arts Administration graduate program at New York University.
“I love classical music and I love radio,” stated Persons. “Classical Music Rising is an exceptional opportunity to seek multiple ways in our rapidly changing world to inspire and serve the public with great music that, simply put, makes our lives richer together.”
Persons will work with a Classical Music Steering Committee of top executives from leading public media organizations. The group is chaired by Brenda Barnes, President, USC Radio, Los Angeles, and includes Judy McAlpine, Senior Vice President, International and Affiliate Content Partnerships, American Public Media; Graham Parker, General Manager, WQXR and Vice President, New York Public Radio; and Jennifer Ridewood, General Manager, KING, Seattle.
Station Resource Group’s Terry Clifford said “We are thrilled to have Wende Persons managing this project. She brings an exceptional range of experiences to a job for which we have high expectations and a great sense of opportunity.”
“Every week 11 million listeners tune in classical music on public radio, according to audience estimates by The Nielsen Company. The ‘end game’ of Classical Music Rising is collaborative action that expands that reach and makes our stations more valuable to listeners and communities,” said Station Resource Group’s Tom Thomas.
“Classical Music Rising will benefit audiences for broadcast radio, digital services, and live music performance and strengthen classical music communities across the nation,” Thomas added, “helping ensure that classical music’s beauty, emotion, and power will reach an even wider and more diverse circle. “
A full description of the scope and priorities of Classical Music Rising can be found at the Station Resource Group, or on Classical Music Rising’s About Page.
Tom Thomas, co-CEO Station Resource Group
Wende Persons, Managing Director, Classical Music Rising
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage or ambitious, path-breaking work.
About the Station Resource Group
SRG’s aim is that America’s public radio stations better serve the public and thrive in a period of radical change. SRG inspires action and change by integrating wide-ranging findings and addressing complex issues in a fashion that resonates with both local and national leaders. SRG enables top station executives to be effective change agents within their organizations and, as advocates and organizers, shapes the larger context for public media and creates shared solutions to advance the field.