Service of Mature Music
July 16th, 2009
Categories: Advertising, Media, Music, Tradition
Guest writer Jeremiah, a retired business executive and classical music devotee, wrote about this subject in May when he was bracing himself for a blow–the silencing of a longtime radio friend and access to the music he loves. The second shoe fell early this week, so Jeremiah asked to follow up on his initial post.
Some of you may recall my May 8th post in which I bemoaned the rumored soon-to-happen passing of the oldest classical radio station in the country, WQXR, from the music scene here in New York. This is now old news.
The New York Times announced on Tuesday that it had, in essence in a brilliant and creative feat of financial engineering, sold the chronically money losing radio station for a net of $45,000,000. The deal: It is selling its 96.3 FM broadcast license to a Latino broadcasting company in exchange for $33,500,000 and a license to broadcast at 105.9 FM. In turn, it will sell the call letters WQXR and the 105.9 FM license for $11,500,000.to the public radio station, WNYC, which has agreed to operate WQXR at the new frequency as a listener supported public music station. It is a great deal for the Times! They are getting rid of a chronic looser for a bundle of cash, and get great publicity for “saving” classical music to boot!
I shall probably go on listening to the new WQXR, but I may just listen to my own CDs instead.
However, I am troubled and puzzled. Given what the demographics of the New York City area are, the old WQXR audience must have included many of the wealthiest and brightest people in the country. Why were they not enough of a target market for advertisers to keep the old station going at a profit? Is radio advertising more effective when targeted to disadvantaged people or those who have been deprived of sophisticated educations and may be less affluent?
I also dislike knowing that now my listing to classical music will be paid for, at least in part, by taxpayers. The new WQXR, no doubt, will be a tax-exempt entity and will receive government subsidies. All music is entertainment. The government should not be in the entertainment business. Further, as a matter of principle, the government should not favor one form of music over another.
And lastly, I shall miss hearing my news on the same radio station I listen to for music. Public radio news must inevitably be canted to a bias of whoever is in control of the government in Washington. Can it be trusted to be impartial?
Does anybody agree with me?