Uncategorized / 09.01.2018

Dear Friends of Classical Music Rising:

This month’s newsletter brings New Year’s Resolutions and some transitions. The Classical Music Rising Steering Committee and Station Resource Group Board have been making plans for the most important work to put forward in 2018 to advance classical music radio, along with a budget to support this work. SRG’s Tom Thomas and Terry Clifford will roll out details in the coming weeks.

CMR Philanthropy & Engagement Consultant, Deborah Lein, continues her work to develop case language and support opportunities for classical music public radio with a new essay about how classical music organizations engage major donors through their websites. Why should you be concerned about major gifts in relation to station websites, you might ask? Based on her research, Deborah suggests, “By providing more complete – and more inspiring – detail about the breadth of your station’s work, and by setting higher expectations during a donor’s research process about the levels of giving you seek (and feel you merit), your website can play a crucial supporting role in the donor cultivation process led by your major gifts team.” Read Deborah Lein’s Checking Out the Competition, Part II: How the Symphony’s Website Speaks to Major Donors.

Judy McAlpine and an advisory team of CMR station partners convened before the holidays to finalize top priorities for digital music rights to pursue in the New Year and adopt a short list of key digital metrics to track and share. If you want to greet 2018 as a true digital savant, check out the copious “digital bibliography”Judy has assembled. Browse Research Materials for CMR Digital Project, posted on Classical Music’s Digital page.

Also before the holidays, Craig Curtis, who is advising CMR’s Classical Sparkpromotion, collected some holiday promos from stations to share with you, and provided end-of-year reflections on steady moves toward sustained, meaningful positioning and promotion of the incredible work you do. Read Classical Spark #6: Thanks, Holiday Promos, etc. and find more Classical Spark materials on the CMR website’s Marketing page.

Speaking of the website, we fattened it up over the holidays with some tasty resources for anyone interested in classical music public radio. Visit and browse the Resources section, in particular, for newly added presentations, research findings, reports, and other insights. Download Classical Music Public Radio – Overview, Values & Facts – an updated fact sheet about the strength of classical radio.

Finally, this is the last newsletter I’ll be writing for CMR… Just as Jennifer Ridewood has left Seattle for sunny California, and Brenda Barnes has moved north for Jennifer’s GM job at KING FM, I am also making a life transition. I signed on as Managing Director of Classical Music Rising for the two years of the project’s Mellon grant funding (i.e. through the end of 2017). I turned 65 in late November, and have been promising my partner and my sister more time to play. With the advent of the New Year I am now attempting to retire.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with all of you − and I have terribly mixed feelings now about leaving what we’ve only just begun. I love this project and the chance to focus together on the concerns and strengths and future of classical stations – all of which, rest assured, SRG is continuing.

Thank you for being such incredible colleagues. I miss you already, but I know our paths will continue to cross, and that your stations are only an “Alexa” request away.

Please keep me your address book.

Plus, scroll down for station news, job opportunities, January’s Classical Datebook, and more…


Wende Persons, Managing Director
Classical Music Rising |


WGBH launches with The Bernstein Experience
The Bernstein Experience at
a new online digital music entertainment service of the WGBH Educational Foundation (WGBH), with support from Public Radio International (PRI), debuts January 25. Developed and curated by WGBH, a Media Partner, and Official Digital Partner of the Leonard Bernstein Centennial, The Bernstein Experience on is the point of entry for all things “LB” this year, including concerts, online and broadcast media content, and exclusive archival material.

The site is led behind-the-scenes by the Classical WCRB team at WGBH,’s Managing Editor, Rachel Hassinger, and Classical WCRB Station Manager Anthony’s Executive Director, in partnership with The Leonard Bernstein Office. “I was fortunate to grow up in New York while Leonard Bernstein was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic,” Tony notes in his Welcome to the Bernstein Experience. “His ability to connect with audiences, using words and music, was, and remains, unmatched. He was a man of his amazing times, whose echo still resounds, perhaps more loudly today than ever before.” Affiliated stations are invited to share and showcase commemorative Bernstein activities and content through Rachel at WGBH ( Mark Kausch at PRI for information about participating as an affiliate station in The Bernstein Experience. Follow The Bernstein Experience on Twitter and Facebook @ClassicalOrg. Explore

KUSC’s ‘Playground Pop-Ups’ Reach Low-Income Schools
KUSC has launched a novel community outreach project that aims to bring live classical performances to elementary schools in low-income Los Angeles neighborhoods. The KUSC Playground Pop-ups, as they’re called, are emceed by KUSC hosts and build on a partnership with LA’s Best, a community-based organization that operates in 193 elementary schools. A promotional video of the event, which was hosted by KUSC’s Alan Chapman and John Van Driel, shows LA Opera soprano Maria Elena Altany and bass-baritone Cedric Berry performing numbers by Puccini and Gershwin in a school playground in South Los Angeles. This program to connect California kids with great music is expected to expand next year to Bay area sister station KDFC. Learn more.


KBAQ’s Billboards Spark Listening in Phoenix 
Classical KBAQ in Phoenix offers a strong example of the power of external marketing to influence station share and cume. Scott Williams, Director of Audience Research, reports that the station’s average share to date for 2017 is 2.8, up from 1.7 in 2016, and its weekly cume has risen from 185,000 to 218,300 in December. KBAQ’s sister station, KJZZ, is finding success with the marketing message “BBC + NPR + KJZZ News = The Perfect Mix” – and its ratings are beating the commercial news station’s in the market. KBAQ will roll out its refreshed Bach-themed billboards this month. Billboards are perfect in a market like this where everybody drives a car,” Scott notes. “People get in their cars, see the billboards, and turn on their radios. Our TSL has gone up from 1:45 to 5 hours a week.”  


Richmond’s WCVE Switches to All-News, Buys Two FM Stations For Music
Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corp., the owner of WCVE public television and radio stations in Richmond, VA, has purchased two area radio stations from Alpha Media, on which it plans to play mostly classical music and jazz. The acquired stations, WBBT (107.3 FM) and WWLB (93.1 FM), are currently devoted to country music and ‘80s hits, respectively. The call letters of both stations likely will change. Meanwhile, the format of WCVE-FM (88.9 FM) will change from its current dual news and classical music to all-news and talk. Approval from the FCC is expected in early 2018, and the new formats may take effect as early as spring 2018. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has more on the deal.


WTEB Goes All News, Moves Classical to New Signals
Public Radio East in New Bern, NC, is ending its from mixed-format News/Classical programming, reports CurrentBeginning February 5 WTEB will become an all-news station, and classical music will air on WZNB in New Bern, WKNS in Kingston, and WBJD in Atlantic Beach, stations that cover virtually the same area, according to GM Dale Spear. “I’m trying to give classical music a chance to support itself,” Spear told Current. “Can a music format in a rural area survive?” Read more


WUOT Explores Race and Classical Music
With a majority of Americans saying that race relations have worsened over the past year, a feature by WUOT host Garrett McQueen in Knoxville looks at efforts to address the issue in classical music. McQueen speaks with New York violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins about her research into black composers, including the 18th-century black violinist Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Phoenix Symphony clarinetist Alex Laing cites recent data showing that just 1.8% of American orchestra musicians are African-American. And Memphis-based bassoonist Lecolion Washington tells McQueen that he’s seeing some efforts to diversify programming. “[But] if you look at the pieces that are performed, at the guest artists that are brought in, to say that that is an environment that’s inclusive — we’re still quite a ways from that.” Listen to the featureHow is your station diversifying its programming and staff? Special programming for Black History Month? Tell us about it.


WFIU launches new overnight classical service
A new overnight classical service is now available to stations on PRX. ClassicalWorks is produced by WFIU in Bloomington, IN, and hosted by Music Director Joe Goetz. Details about carriage, pricing and the program’s clock are posted on the ClassicalWorks PRX page. Custom IDs, promos, imagers, and fundraising messages are available upon request. Email Joe Goetz for more information.


Radio Listeners Spend 58% of Their Time With Favorite Station
Despite the growing array of choices from streaming services and upstart podcasts, Americans are still loyal to their local stations, reports NielsenAmericans spend 87% of their AM/FM radio listening tuning into their three favorite stations (based on the amount of time spent with each). What’s more interesting is that 58% of all listening goes to just one station, the listener’s favorite (called the “1st Preference” station, or P1). While format preferences differ by listening habits, geography and even demographics, one thing is certain, AM/FM radio plays a very important role in the daily lives of consumers.” As media strategist Mark Ramsey points out in “How to be their favorite station,” this data is only a partial view. “It doesn’t speak to the rise of that listening or the trending hours swapped between radio and other platforms,” he writes. But Ramsey also stresses the importance of developing an emotional connection with listeners to become their “favorite” station. Read more.


Which Podcast Categories Have The Most Titles? 
“You may be surprised,” writes Amplifi Media’s Steven Goldstein in his blog, Blogstein. In December his company did an “x-ray” of the top 200 podcasts from Apple’s podcast charts and divided them by category. The top five categories by topic were Religion & Spirituality, Society & Culture, Music, Arts, and Education. “Given the arcane rules of music licensing in podcasting, we were surprised that music is the third biggest category,” notes Steve. Read more.


Classical Music in the Streaming Space
While key drivers in the streaming music space are mainstream genres like pop and hip-hop, classical music aficionados are seeking out classical stations online and other niche services like Primephonic, which focuses on high-resolution audio. The Berlin-based company Idagio has raised $9.5 million in capital to launch a new classical music streaming service, reports Radio & Internet News (RAIN)Read more.



Music Manager – WOSU Classical 101, Columbus
The Music Manager position at Ohio State University’s WOSU Public Media reports to the Classical 101 Program Director. The Music Manager is primarily responsible for the maintenance of the Classical 101 CD library and software, for generating daily music playlists for hosts, and for hosting a live or pre-recorded regular music show. The Music Manager will contribute to digital content and create quarterly reports for SoundExchange, other required reports, and assist with on-air fundraising and station events. Applications will be accepted through 1/14/18. Learn more/apply

Engagement Manager for Music Education, Louisville Public Media
WUOL/Louisville Public Media is looking for someone who loves classical music, believes in the importance of music education, and has passion for connecting with the Louisville community. The Engagement Manager will design and implement music and cultural outreach programs. The candidate should have a deep understanding of classical music, and be able to use that expertise to reach students, teachers, and parents through live events, community partnerships and a variety of media platforms. Learn more/apply

Chief Development Officer – ideastream, Cleveland
ideastream is a non-profit multiple media service organization that operates WVIZ/PBS, 90.3 WCPN and Classical WCLV 104.9 FM in addition to a range of educational and public media service programs that serve the people of Northeastern Ohio and beyond. The Chief Development Officer is accountable for developing the vision and strategy and for leading the implementation of effective development and communications efforts for ideastream. Learn more/apply

Vice President, Technology & Operations – WXXI, Rochester
The VP of Technology & Operations oversees all technical aspects of this multi-format joint licensee. This includes the air operations unit, ensuring compliance with WXXI policies and FCC regulations, and responsibility for WXXI’s technology departments, including Engineering, Field Engineering, IT, Facilities, Security and Broadcast Operations. Learn more/apply

Chief Engineer – WFMT, Chicago       
WFMT in Chicago seeks a Chief Engineer to maintain and improve broadcast and production facilities and processes for WFMT, the WFMT Radio Network and related digital initiatives. The Chief Engineer will set long-term strategic plans and will oversee the Operations Manager, Production Assistants and other staff. Learn more/apply



Where do you find classical music trivia and “on this day” items for programming tie-ins? Here are our offerings for January, contributed by radio producer and writer Brian Wise.

January 11
On this date in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt designated the Grand Canyon a national monument. “The ages had been at work on it, and man can only mar it,” he declared. Two decades later (1929-31), Ferde Grofé composed his Grand Canyon Suite, the symphonic portrait whose movements are “Sunrise,” “Painted Desert,” “On the Trail,” “Sunset,” and “Cloudburst.” Since 1983, the canyon has been home to the Grand Canyon Music Festival.

January 12
A young pianist from Kiev named Vladimir Horowitz made his U.S. debut at Carnegie Hall on this date in 1928. Horowitz gave a show-stealing performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with Thomas Beecham and the New York Philharmonic. This “caused most of the intermission to be occupied in applauding and cheering him and calling him back to the stage,” reported New York Timescritic Olin Downes. Also on this date… In 2007, Joshua Bell performed in the Washington D.C. Metro, in a social media experiment initiated by the Washington Post. Hundreds of commuters walked by without paying the star violinist any attention.

January 13
On this date in 1910, the first full Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast performance took place, featuring a double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, starring Enrico Caruso. Inventor Lee De Forest transmitted the two live performances from the Met stage, which were reportedly heard as far away as Newark, NJ. (A partial performance of Tosca took place the prior evening.) The first network broadcast followed on December 25, 1931 with a performance of Humperdinck’s nsel und Gretel.

January 15
Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty premiered at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater on this date in 1890. Based on the Brothers Grimm version of Charles Perrault’s La Belle au bois dormant, the ballet was nearly four hours long. (These days, it is nearly always cut.) At the premiere, Tsar Alexander III was only mildly impressed, it seems. When the composer visited his imperial box afterward, the Tsar’s simple response was “very nice.”

January 17
In 1745 on this date, Handel offered a partial refund to disgruntled subscribers to his London concert series. Patrons had become disenchanted with the steady diet of English language operas, especially Hercules. In a letter to the Daily Advertiserhe publicly acknowledged “mortification” that his “labors to please are become ineffectual, when my expenses are considerably greater….” The composer offered patrons three-quarters of their money back, an action that renewed their trust and support. The incident blew over within a few weeks.

January 18
President John F. Kennedy held a White House dinner in honor of composer Igor Stravinsky on this date in 1962. The starry guest list included Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felicia, conductor Robert Craft, Columbia Records president Goddard Lieberson and Chicago Sun-Times owner Marshall Field. Attuned to the Cold War symbolism, Secretary of State Dean Rusk presented the Russian composer with a gold medal in a ceremony at the State Department.

January 24
On this day in 1970, President Richard Nixon traveled to Philadelphia to give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Eugene Ormandy on the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 70th anniversary. In his presentation, Nixon admitted that he had never heard Ormandy live, but grew up on his recordings, starting in the 1930s. The event broke with protocol in that traditional medal ceremonies usually take place at the White House. But Ormandy insisted that the full orchestra should be present, so Nixon made the journey to honor the conductor in person.

January 26
Cosi fan tutte, by Mozart and Da Ponte, premiered at Vienna’s Burgtheater on this day in 1790. The opera buffa was only a moderate success, and not without some apparent friction: Mozart was said to have disliked the prima donna, Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, particularly the way she dropped her chin to sing low notes and raised her head backwards to belt out the high ones. The Metropolitan Opera will unveil a new production of Cosi, directed by Phelim McDermott and set in a 1950’s Coney Island, on March 15.

January 27
Speaking of Mozart, today is his 262nd birthday (b. 1756). His hometown of Salzburg, Austria will mark the occasion with its annual Mozart Week, featuring 28 concerts that include a new production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, directed by Andrea Moses; pianists Daniel Barenboim, András Schiff and Piotr Anderszewski; tenor Rolando Villazón; and clarinetist/conductor Jörg Widmann. Visitors to the city can also see Mozart’s birthplace and childhood home.

January 31
Happy Birthday to Franz Schubert and Philip Glass! Schubert was born in Vienna on this day in 1797, and the minimalist icon in Baltimore in 1937. Last year, on his 80th birthday, Glass told Deutsche Welle that Schubert was his favorite composer. And in his autobiography, Words Without Music, Glass said his earliest musical memories included listening to Schubert string quartets.


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About Classical Music Rising

Classical Music Rising aims to shape the future of classical music radio against a backdrop of 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. Classical Music Rising is a project of the Station Resource Group and is supported by participating stations and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Visit