Classical Music Rising end of year update

Classical Music Rising end of year update

Dear Friends of Classical Music Rising:

This has been an amazing year for Classical Music Rising. Last January the Station Resource Group announced the launch of its initiative to help shape the future of classical music public radio, thanks to major funding from the Mellon Foundation and four leading classical stations.

23 “partner stations” joined SRG’s project, pledging financial resources, energy and brainpower. We envision that the guidance and work these stations are providing will benefit audiences for broadcast radio, digital services, and live music performance, and will help strengthen classical communities across the nation. It’s a tall order…and we’re optimists.

Read on for an update of Classical Music Rising’s activities in 2016…

Happy holidays!

Wende Persons, Managing Director
Classical Music Rising | | cell: 917-691-1282


We had a spectacular response to the U.S. Public Radio Classical Music Workforce survey! 51 of the 70 All Classical stations completed the survey, representing a range of market sizes, budgets and organizational development. 30 of the 65 News/Classical organizations responded as well, making this a significant study for the public radio system. The Workforce working group, led by Judy McAlpine, is studying the preliminary results. In the coming months we will share their report of top line findings and recommendations.

The task force, led by KING GM Jennifer Ridewood, is doing amazing work with messaging and materials for a project to engage with civic and cultural leaders in our communities. The aim is to listen, learn, raise awareness for our stations, and create opportunities for classical radio’s “power for good in the community,” as CapRadio’s Paul Conley puts it.

Scott Williams, KBAQ’s Director of Audience Research is currently analyzing five years of PPM and diary data for classical stations. During the coming year he will note trends in monthly PPM and quarterly diary reports for Classical Music Rising’s station partners to provide a snapshot of classical listening across the country.

Partner station measurement provides the benchmark for another project Classical Music Rising is launching in the New Year. Borrowing from lessons from NPR President Jarl Mohn’s Spark project with News stations, we are excited to bring industry veteran Craig Curtis on board with CMR to provide a “Spark for Classical” focus on radio fundamentals and create a tune-in campaign specifically for our Classical station partners. Craig has been deeply involved in NPR’s Spark project, and he is delighted to return to his music roots; he is a trained musician who previously led classical programming and initiatives at WUNC and MPR.

In mid-November, I was invited to join a call with SRG’s Triple A music rights group, which is working on developing standard language for contracts between stations and the music labels. SRG and the Triple A stations have been mindful as they talk with labels that a similar effort will need to occur by their classical music colleagues. While there are important differences between the different music genres of Triple A, Classical and Jazz, SRG hopes CMR can realize important benefits from the digital music rights currently being discussed in the Triple A space.

This year Classical Music Rising has created vehicles for classical stations to connect and share information more easily, including this All Things Classical newsletter, sent monthly to all of the U.S. classical stations and to industry “friends” of CMR. We are building the newsletter lists; please let me know if you have anyone you would like me to add.

Classical Music Rising is contributing and connecting with music stations at radio conferences, and interacting with performing arts colleagues at some of their conferences. I’ve been talking with artists, labels, music industry colleagues, digital marketers, and journalists about Classical Music Rising to sow seeds for future collaborations and visibility.

There is so much to do, and our stations will begin focusing on Classical Music Rising’s Digital and Revenue areas in 2017. We are anxious and ambitious for classical radio’s current and future successes!


Maine Classical Expands Down East
Maine Public Classical has acquired a new full-power signal at 93.7 FM to bring Classical music to a large part of Downeast Maine. WRMO began airing its new format last week, in time for Beethoven’s birthday and holiday programming. This is the fifth station MPBN President and CEO Mark Vogelzang has added to the state’s growing classical network, launched last May.

WCRB’s Holiday MassiveMuse
Boston’s WCRB streamed their December 6th holiday gathering on Facebook Live. The event was a collaboration with the Handel and Haydn Society and GroupMuse, an organization that is bringing Millennials and classical music together. WCRB DJ Chris Voss hosted the performance, carol singing and voting for the best holiday sweater in the station’s Fraser Performance Studio. The Facebook Live video of the MassiveMuse currently has more than 6,000 views. Programming Manager Rani Schloss says, “If anyone wants to talk about what it was like to put something like this together, hit me up. It was a lot of work, but worth it!”

Classical Music for Post Election Therapy
New York’s WQXR took a bipartisan approach to last month’s Presidential Election, offering a pair of playlists posted the morning after: 5 Classical Pieces for the Sting of Election Defeat and 5 Classical Pieces To Celebrate An Election Victory.

As WFIU Music Director Joe Goetz mentioned on his blog on November 9th,
“Music provides hope, consolation, invigoration, and enhancement of all areas of life… We are in the unique position as broadcasters to do bipartisan good in the community by empowering people through music.”

Cellist Joshua Roman, artistic advisor to KING’s Second Inversion channel, offered Bach after the Election as a chance for people to sit, breathe and heal. The TED Fellow played all six of Bach’s cello suites live on TED’s Facebook page. 939,000 unique viewers smashed TED’s previous Facebook Live stats, finding solace in Bach’s music.


Edison Research has released its third quarter 2016 findings from its ongoing Share of Ear study of how Americans consume audio content. Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus/Westwood One, highlights on his blog six key findings from Edison’s most recent report. One to note is that streaming services like Spotify have grown at the expense of time spent with owned music, not AM/FM radio, which still dominates with a 50% share of audio time. View slideshow presentation: AM/FM radio – the centerpiece of American audio.


Radio Producer/On-Air Host – WHRO, Norfolk
WHRO-FM is seeking an on-air classical host that will engage existing audiences and attract new ones through a conversational, warm and inviting on-air presentation. Seeking a storyteller who strives more to entertain than to educate. Learn more/apply

Program Host – KUSC, Los Angeles
America’s #1 Classical station is looking for America’s next great classical announcer. Can you connect with a broad audience of music lovers of all kinds? USC Radio Group’s Los Angeles division, KUSC, is seeking a Program Host with a passion for and basic knowledge of classical music, someone that has an engaging personality that can weave topical elements into a show effortlessly beyond classical music. Come to sunny Southern California! Learn more/apply

Broadcast Producer Manager/Assistant Program Director: KBAQ, your Classical Companion in Phoenix, AZ is hiring a Broadcast Producer Manager who will serve as an Assistant Program Director.  Learn more/apply


Send your news, tips, job openings, successes, grand failures and big ideas to share through Classical Music Rising. And do you have colleagues to add to this e-news list? Send name, title, station or organization and email address to

About Classical Music Rising

Classical Music Rising is a collaborative project managed by the Station Resource Group of leading classical stations to shape the future of classical music radio as the field confronts evolution in delivery across multiple broadcast and digital platforms, demographic and cultural change, and significant disruption throughout the music industry. The initiative centers on strategy, innovative tactics, and collective action – all informed by ongoing research and analysis. Read the full project description.