[Paleopsych] WETA-FM Alert

Premise Checker checker at panix.com
Sat Feb 5 10:47:00 UTC 2005

This is the first alert I've ever sent out. I realize that the economics 
of broadcasting is driving the proposed format change from classical 
(which played no classical music during "rush" hour) to all news, as 
though another all-news station were needed. I suspect that the licensing 
regulations distort the economics here. In any case, greater exposure to 
the Occident's and the world's finest artistic product is sorely needed. 
Thanks to Antony Ody for bringing this to our attention.

I should also thank Allen Mackler, the former scheduling manager of 
WETA-FM, friend, and record collector, now a booster of Sherlock Holmes 
scholarship and member of the Baker St. Irregulars, for his regular 
program on WETA-FM, "Collectors' Hour," of classical 78s, spliced in with 
his informative as well as witty commentary. I am not sure if any such 
program survives on this continent today.



The NSO Director of Artistic planning has put a letter together protesting 
WETA's forthcoming format change from classical to all-news. If you agree, 
please add your name to the bottom and pass it along to anyone else you think 
would be willing to sign this.




Jennifer Faircloth
jfaircloth at att.net

Please read the letter below and sign and pass on. Thank you.

Rosa Lamoreaux

-----Original Message-----

From: Bader, C [mailto:CUBader at Kennedy-Center.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 11:51 AM
To: ulibader at verizon.net; info at weta.org
Subject: closing of classical radio station WETA, Washington

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

As some of you may have seen in today's Washington Post, WETA, Washington's 
radio station for NPR news and classical music is preparing to change program 
to a news-only station.

As much as news is necessary, MUSIC and the ARTS are too.

You may consider classical music entertainment or joy, a sophisticated
hobby or a science on the side or maybe your profession.

Music is history and future, a voice, education and a way of expression,
which has survived many hundred years; it is part of our life and an
essential part of our society and a pillar of the quality of life in our
city, the Nation's Capitol.

Would we just watch passively the closing of the National Gallery?

Maybe we need to talk more about music but "closing" the classical music
radio station in the Nation's Capitol is a tragedy and a catastrophe for
the Arts.

Please join me in the maybe last attempt to avoid this programming

Please join me in saving WETA classical radio programming.

We need your help urgently.

I have written to WETA below and I would like you to sign and send this
email on to your friends.

Please forward this email to everyone you know who may want to join this
cause and have them sign below.

IF YOU ARE NUMBER 50), 100), 150), 200), etc , please email this letter
to ulibader at verizon.net and to info at weta.org.

Thank you very much for your help!

Director of Artistic Planning
National Symphony Orchestra


Dear Board of Directors of WETA:

I am the Director of Artistic Planning for the National Symphony
Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center and I consider the program
change of WETA FM to news-only and the cancellation of classical music
on your station a tragedy and a catastrophe for music and the arts. We
have truly enough news channels and your step is going into the wrong
direction. I know about financial restrictions but there must be more
creative ways to solve this problem. Closing is not one of them.
Where do you send your children to school? Do you consider a fine
education essential?

Is it important for you or to your children to know who Mozart, Brahms
and Mahler is, maybe even Gershwin, Copland, Philip Glass, or John
Adams? And how they sound? What about VanGogh, Picasso, Rothko?

If so - and I am certain that your answer is yes - who is left providing
this information to a wide audience on the radio.

We at the National Symphony Orchestra do everything we can to further
the understanding of music and we are investigating new ways to improve
the situation - our communication to and with our audiences - but
closing classical music (?), that is truly the wrong way to go.

I am launching a campaign to raise our voice against this step and I
hope that you will consider this public voice seriously.

With kind regards,

C. Ulrich Bader
Director of Artistic Planning
National Symphony Orchestra
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
cubader at kennedy-center.org
ulibader at verizon.net

1) C. Ulrich Bader, Washington, DC
2) Kim Witman, Vienna VA
3) Martha Woods, Hyattsville, MD
4) Rosa Lamoreaux, Washington, DC

C. Ulrich Bader
Director of Artistic Planning
National Symphony Orchestra
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts


street address: (for UPS and FedEx mailing only!)
2700 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20566-0001
phone: 202-416-8100

mailing address: (for regular mail only / no packages!)
P.O. Box 101510
Arlington, VA 22210


WETA Considers Switch to All-News From Classical
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post, 5.2.2

WETA-FM, the Arlington public radio station that has been an outpost of
classical music programming for more than a generation, is considering
scrapping the sounds of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart for an all-news and
talk format, people at the station say.

Although WETA officials say they have not finalized their plans, the
station's management intends to present a proposal to overhaul daily
programming to the board of directors next week. The station has called
its employees to a mandatory meeting the day after the Feb. 10 board

If the board approves the changes, the classical music heard on WETA since
1970 would be largely replaced by month's end. Station management is
considering keeping its Saturday broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, but
such staples as its Thursday night New York Philharmonic concerts would

A programming switch at WETA would be the second for a venerable
Washington area radio station this year. Last month the longtime
alternative-rock outlet WHFS-FM (99.1) abruptly adopted a Spanish music

If WETA (90.9) changes format, it would be following other public radio
stations around the country that have dropped classical for news. The
primary influence has been money: News programming tends to keep public
radio listeners tuned in longer, and as a result, attracts more donation
pledges. Listener donations typically account for half or more of a public
station's annual operating budget.

But the drift toward news in public radio has not been without
controversy. People in public radio have debated for years whether
programming decisions designed to build larger audiences blur the
distinction between public and commercial broadcasting. One faction argues
that public radio should remain true to its roots and provide important,
if less than broadly popular, alternative cultural programming such as
jazz, classical, bluegrass and blues music. Another side counters that
fiscal pressures, including dwindling government support, makes
audience-building a priority.

Dan DeVany, WETA's vice president and general manager, said in an
interview yesterday that his station faced "a dilemma." With the audience
for classical music in decline, he said, "we have to ask ourselves if we
are truly fulfilling our public service mission."

He declined to provide specific ratings figures, but DeVany noted that
WETA's audience is "quite low, lower than it's been in several years. It's
a trend we've been witnessing over time. I'm not pleased with where we're
at." He added, "I'm not sure we're performing a public service the way we
are, given the size of this station and the size of our potential

He said financial support for the station has remained steady, "but we're
getting money from fewer people."

At the same time, he added, "what public radio does well, what defines
us," is news programming from National Public Radio.

Classical music programming dominates WETA's daytime and evening schedule,
but the station has gradually moved toward more news. It received
thousands of letters of protest when it dropped its morning classical show
in 1999 to begin broadcasts of NPR's "Morning Edition." The protests were
driven in part by the fact that WETA was duplicating a program that could
already be heard on Washington public station WAMU-FM (88.5).

Adding more news and talk would make WETA sound even more like WAMU, which
features NPR programming and talk shows hosted by Diane Rehm and Kojo
Nnamdi. If WETA drops its classical format, it would leave WGMS-FM
(103.3), which airs commercials, as the only station in Washington that
plays classical music.

Some WETA sources said this week that a move away from classical was
signaled in early January, when the station hired a new program director,
Maxie C. Jackson III. Jackson, the former acting general manager of public
station WEAA-FM in Baltimore, came to WETA with a reputation for
developing news and talk programs, particularly shows aimed at African
American audiences. He has little background in classical music.

Jackson has been a prominent member of the African American Public Radio
Consortium, which created the now-defunct "Tavis Smiley Show" and the new
"News & Notes With Ed Gordon," both syndicated by NPR.

In an interview earlier this week, Jackson said, "I haven't considered
anything new. I'm new to the facility and am still in the process of
understanding the system around here. So it's a bit early to consider
changes. . . . I've told the staff that by no means am I here to turn the
ship upside down."

Asked about potential changes yesterday, Jackson said, "I'd rather stick
with what Dan said. Dan is able to articulate what's happening at the

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