Received this from reader Richard Mitnick as a comment on another post:


I searched all over S21 for a place to simply ask a question.

I want to know if there will be any response from S21 on WNYC taking over WQXR.

What I think I posted at my own weblog,

But, I am not a professional. It would seem to me that WNYC, John S., David G., and certainly Nadia S. would be very important for New Music; anything smacking of the mediocrity of WQXR should be anathema.

So, will there be any comment? Sorry to put this here, I found no better place. >>RSM

Well Richard, now there’s this post for all the appropriate angst and hand-wringing. What about it, people, is this great or awful?  On the one hand, the New York Times definitely couldn’t afford to keep it running, and in that sense WNYC saves the day. But the change of WQXR from a commercial to a public radio station might be the start of something less good; if they follow the path of most other previously-all-classical public stations, the tendency has been to eventually lose some of the local or unique classical content for more “NPR”-ish offerings. WNYC might also look to offload some of its own stuff to WQXR as well, who knows? Public donations will need to cover both stations too, and that slice of the discretionary-income pie might not be able to expand to cover everything down the road.  The other big issue is power: the frequency they’re moving to is a weak one, with nothing like their current reach. It would seem to me to be a “cross your fingers and wait” kind of thing. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times“…

4 Responses to “A tale of two stations”
  1. Christian says:

    Remember when NY had more options for classical listeners: WNCN as well as NPR and QXR?

    I am hopeful about this latest move, but, like Jerry, concerned that it will indeed be a mixed bag.

    I wonder if WNYC will let go many of WQXR’s employees in an effort to streamline. That would be sad. Not a good time to look for work in radio.

  2. Maura says:

    I was in DC during the flip-flop of WETA to all-news, the buyout of the commercial classical station, and the return of WETA to music programming. When music returned to WETA, they were playing longer selections & of higher quality & more adventurous (that’s a relative term given your standard classical music radio listening audience). The community had clearly rallied around the idea of having quality music on air, and WETA had found the support & funding they needed to switch away from all-news.

  3. Thanks.

    I think that the power issue will be more relevant to the WQXR listeners. I believe that they are more rooted in terrestrial radio. Even the stations first forays into the web were via AOL, the Reo of the internet.

    I believe that WNYC’s listeners would tend more to be internet listeners, via the station’s web site players or Winamp or WMP. I am sure that many have dipped into wnyc2 at work or at home during the day.I suppose that I see the WNYC audience as being younger and hipper.

    I can only hope that all of the work by George Preston and Brad Cresswell in erecting wnyc2, work which rubbed off on the newly re-surgent Evening Music and Overnight music, embellished by the presence of Terrance Mcknight and, of course Nadia Sirota, I can only hope that this is what will remain the music of New York Public Radio. Even Marvin Rosen is a fan.

    Thank again. As this thing unfolds, please write early and often.

  4. Jerry Bowles says:

    I agree with Steve that this is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, WNYC is much more adventuresome musically, especially its internet properties like WNYC2 and saving any classical station is commendable. Whether they will stick to the WQXR formula of about 99% mediocre performances of bad classical and baroque works (plus Jupiter from The Planets) remains to be seen. On the other hand, public funding is fickle and generally involves an unpleasant amount of on-air begging. It’s a tossup.