Monday, June 25, 2007

Case of the Disappearing Discs

Long time readers know I couldn't let an article about WETA pass without comment. In Marc Fisher's blog at the this past Sunday, he talked about the resurgence of classical music on the Washington airwaves, thanks to WETA's return to the format after the demise of WGMS (you can find my thoughts on the whole mess here, if you need to get up to speed).

I was heartened to see general manager's Dan DeVany's comment that he planned to "stay the course." But he's speaking for the management team that ditched three decades of classical programming to chase public radio news listeners in the first place.

Which leads me to my real point. The final paragraph of Fisher's blog entry reads:
[DeVany] says the station will move to a greater variety of pieces as it builds its CD library from 4,000 discs to more than 50,000 in the coming months.

WHAT!?!? A station in a major market that broadcast classical for 30 years only has 4,000 CDs? When I worked at Nimbus Records, I was responsible for sending releases to key stations, including WETA. WETA should have received at least 100 titles just from our little label alone. And when you add all the releases from Warner, Harmonia Mundi, Universal, Sony/BMG, EMI and all the other minor independent labels, I'm guessing the station's probably received over 500 CDs a year -- every year since the mid 1980's.

So of the 20,000 or more discs WETA should have received, where did they go? Did they throw them out when they went to all news?

And where's the WGMS library? That was supposed to go straight to WETA as part of the deal. Is that the 50,000 discs they're referring to? (It could be -- that would be quite a cataloging job).

Here's what prompted this reaction. I have about 2,000 classical CDs in my personal collection. I've been putting them to good use -- as my Wednesday morning audience on WTJU can [hopefully] attest. Still, the concept that the most important classical radio station in the Washington area has a library only double the size of mine, seems somehow odd -- and wrong.

- Ralph

1 comment:

  1. they have 50,000 discs, of course... but they are not in the data-base. The 4000 they refer to are the ones that they have physically *and* in the emergency database to get things going.

    Then they had to combine the CDs (WETA and WGMS - about 30,000 and 20,000) physically in a new library (the old one had been emptied and the CDs stored elsewhere) - and now they are doing a new database of the whole thing. Will take months, I hear, before it is up and running.