Sunday, January 21, 2007

Man bites dog – public radio version

Northeast Indiana Public Radio (NIPR) recently purchased a commercial radio station from Summit City Radio Group – and plans to change its format to classical.

According to the station’s general manager Bruce Haines, "This will be a place that finally gives a greater voice to the fine arts in Fort Wayne. That is a voice that has been a whisper as of late."

Now consider the situation in Washington. WGMS, the commercial classical station is now seriously crippled as a result of wrangling surrounding an attempted purchase by Dan Snyder, owner of the Redskins to turn it into a sports/talk station. WETA, having already abandoned classical, has sort of offered to go back to classical if WGMS changes format – maybe.

Here’s a modest proposal: Bonneville want to sell WGMS. Snyder no longer wants to by. WETA would rather stick with their news/talk format. So perhaps WETA should purchase WGMS and make it a non-commercial classical station.

WETA would then be the good guys for saving classical programming, and still be able to keep their current format. They would also inherit WGMS’s audience, and with careful cultivation could probably hold on to most of the station’s market share.

Bonneville gets what they want, WETA gets what they want, and the listeners get what they want as well. Think it will happen?

Not in a million freakin’ years. In contrast to Fort Wayne, Indiana, no one’s interested in giving a greater voice to the fine arts in the nation’s capital.

- Ralph

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