For the fifth Classical Challenge, we move to North Carolina, and look at a sample playlist from WHQR in Wilmington. WHQR airs classical music mainly from 9am to 12 noon during the week, and uses Public Radio International's Classical 24 syndicated service for overnight.
WHQR carries a lot of news/talk, and they produce a significant amount of strong local programming. And they also use Twitter and Facebook appropriately and effectively. Looking at it from a station viewpoint, they're serving their audience well.
As before, I just looked at a single day's playlist (in this case, 1/11/10)
But if your only exposure to classical music was through WHQR, what would your impression of the genre be? Well, nothing out of line with what we've seen so far. The quintessential WHQR classical track would be an orchestral work from late 19th - early 20th century Europe.
WHQR serves their classical listeners well by keeping things soothing. But as a recent study shows, it's an audience that's not growing. It's declining. So the status quo isn't enough. And that's really what the challenge is all about. If centuries-old orchestral music by dead European males isn't bringing new listeners to classical then perhaps its time to change the mix.
Here's the breakdown for the day's playlist:
Types of Ensemble
71% Orchestra (includes soloist with orchestra)
6% Chamber group
24% Solo instrumental performer (mostly piano)
0% Choral ensemble
0% Solo vocalist
41% 20th Century (mostly works before 1930)
6% Early music (renaissance only)
6% American (basically Gershwin)