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From Marathon to No Moreathon

Wasn’t it just a couple weeks ago we were singing praises to WPRB’s Marvin Rosen for his annual all-day, all-modern radio marathon — not to mention how great his year-round advocacy for promoting new and lesser-known music in general was?

So imagine the shock to learn just this week, that WPRB is suddenly cutting Marvin’s regular Wednesday 5:30AM to 11:00 “Classical Discoveries” show to run only from 6:00 to 8:30, and deleting his afternoon “Classical Discoveries Goes Avant-Garde” program altogether!

For more than a decade Marvin has been sharing his wide listening experience and deep enthusiasm with all kinds of listeners; not only in New York, but through internet streaming with fans from Seattle to Singapore to Seville. And with some room in the airspace to be able to range fairly freely, offering up things like guest composers in the studio, and deeper explorations of everything from “Music of Jewish Insipration” to “The Negro Speaks of River – Music for Kwanzaa” to “Spotlight on Women Composers”. His own connections with the classical community are strong; this is the guy after all, that just two days ago spent the morning with composer Derek Bermel, and that afternoon had George Crumb in the studio for an 80th-birthday celebration! To think that a public radio station would trim all that good work connecting living music with its audience to little more than a shadow seems more than misguided.

I know there are a lot of you out there, who at some time or other have encountered something truly wonderful thanks to a regular or even chance listen to Marvin’s show. WPRB is still a public radio station, reliant on your opinions (and your dollars). If you’re one of those many who’ve been on the receiving end of the good that Marvin spreads, maybe make a little effort on his behalf and write directly to the station and make your voice heard: whether to the Program Director (program@wprb.com) or to the Station Manager (manager@wprb.com), let them know how you feel.

In Marvin’s own words from his website:

“I try to prove on every show that there is much beautiful music of our time that deserves to be heard. Composers are working hard today. Their works deserve to be presented to the public. Listeners often tell me that they didn’t know that new music could be so melodious and beautiful. Although I play recent works by well-known composers I emphasize the little-known ones that are recorded on the small record labels. I will periodically invite various composers to be guests on my program. Sometimes a program will have a particular theme as, for example, ‘Music by Turkish Composers’ or ‘Music composed in the 1990s’. ‘Classical Discoveries’ seems to be the answer for all who are just simply tired of the boredom that appears on so much classical radio today. Personally, I feel, that this type of programming may be the answer if classical radio is to survive in the future. Classical music is a great thing. It should not be allowed to go to pot.”

No it shouldn’t Marvin, no it shouldn’t.

Comments

Comment from John Clare
Time: September 18, 2009, 4:52 pm

That bites. But 2.5 hours is still a nice chunk of time for contemporary music AND a very good time slot. Marvin is a great host and I’m sorry to hear about this!

Comment from Rain Worthington
Time: September 18, 2009, 5:19 pm

No way around it, this is a terrible blow and an absolute shame on the station. It effectively cuts out the possibilities for all the extra programming of on-air interviews with contemporary composers and ensembles and specials focused on particular facets of music.
Marvin has been a champion for contemporary music for so many years, and the depth of his knowledge is extraordinary. Instead of cutting his hours, WPRB should be grateful for, and applauding his musical insights and ongoing commitment of volunteer time.

Comment from david toub
Time: September 18, 2009, 5:50 pm

This is frickin insane. Sure, the show still exists, so it’s not all bad news, but it’s so much better to have more new music than less. Happy to write the station.

Comment from MTS
Time: September 18, 2009, 6:57 pm

WPRB isn’t a public radio station. It is a non-profit organization that holds a commercial license. And yes, it’s a shame that the show has been reduced!

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: September 18, 2009, 7:33 pm

I understand MTS; but commercial license or not, any university station that’s a non-profit, provides both a learning environment and alternatives to mass-market media, and is more than a little dependent on public donations is public radio in my book.

Comment from MTS
Time: September 18, 2009, 7:59 pm

WPRB isn’t a “university station”, Steve. It is independent from Princeton. It isn’t public radio because it accepts commercial advertising in addition to contributions.

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: September 18, 2009, 8:37 pm

I won’t quibble, MTS, just let Wikipedia sort it out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WPRB

I don’t doubt their demographic interests, which I’m sure played its part in this change. But I think it’s a short-sighted move that will simply lead to a few more hours of ever-increasing homogeneity. Yes, Marvin ‘keeps’ his show, but can we all spell “marginalization?”

Comment from Anne Nemeth
Time: September 19, 2009, 10:25 am

Marvin’s program got me tuned in to WPRB. It is absolutely unique and interesting. At least they’re keeping the only timeslot I’m able to listen to. Otherwise it would be devastating. And oftentimes, the station gives Marvin extra program time. I hope that will remain be the case.

Comment from Richard Mitnick
Time: September 19, 2009, 4:01 pm

Thanks.

>>RSM

Comment from Christian
Time: September 20, 2009, 10:17 pm

Just sent my letter to WPRB. Hope they’ll reconsider.

Comment from Joyce Orenstein
Time: September 21, 2009, 2:32 pm

I just sent in my comments in support of Martin’s programs to both at WPRB. This reduction would be a sad thing.

Comment from Richard Mitnick
Time: September 21, 2009, 3:42 pm

Joyce and Christian have the right idea. Comments here let us know where we are; but they are essentially preaching to the choir.

The more people who send negative appreciation to manager@wprb.com the better.