WNYC’s acquisition of New York radio’s stalwart WQXR was a win/lose proposition. Win, in that a major classical station would stay alive; lose in that the new assigned frequency (which can conflict with a powerful Connecticut station on the same frequency) and reduction in broadcast power (from 6,000 watts to only 600 watts) reduces its reach by some millions of potential listeners. Not that it matters much to me, parked on my hiney here in Houston; I and so many others simply go online to hear the station’s stream, anywhere and anytime.
And a further win: Besides the station’s main — and predictably staid — broadcast stream, WQXR also carries another, different internet-only stream called Q2. The music there reverses the current classical-radio standard: i.e., instead of mostly old and safe with a few tiny nuggets of the new, Q2 plays quite a bit new with far fewer chestnuts from classical music’s Ancient Dead Guys Club.
In the past few hours of this morning you could have been listening to Glass, Rautavaara, Ter Veldhuis, Torke, Greenstein, Part, with a just bit of Falla, Palestrina and Chopin sprinkled through for good measure. I know this because they have a great real-time updated playlist page, so you’ll never have to wonder what that work you just heard was. Q2 is just finishing a week-long Steve Reich celebration, and while you’re a bit late for the music you can still read and hear all kinds of interviews about the music from a range of artists, as well as tons from the “old man” himself.
Q2 also has a blog, “Do You Q2“, where you can learn about what’s on any number of musicians minds, and generally stay abreast of upcoming features.
Perfect? No; the new music programmed generally skews closer to the middle of the new road, while I — and I’m sure quite a few others — might like a veer toward the edge more often (or occasionally even off the path altogether!). But still, Q2 should definitely be a daily stop for new-music lovers.