Friday, January 26, 2007

Spinning the Classics

I can't resist one final observation about the WGMS/WETA story. Even after my previous post on the subject, I remain awed by the sheer intensity of the spin exhibited by WETA's public pronouncements. Perhaps it’s a byproduct of working in the nation's capital. My comments are in brackets.

In a recent Washington Post article, Dan DeVaney responded to news/talk listeners upset about the overnight format change:

"We would expect people to be disappointed, and we're really sorry about that,. As we said before, we had no intention of changing our format. [The abruptness of the switch would suggest otherwise. How many of us promptly do things we have no intention of doing?] But events ensued that made us feel it was in the best interest of the station to switch, and we did". [An unintentional bit of candor? Even the attempt to gain more listeners and bigger pledge bucks by changing to news/talk was spun as a better way to serve the listener.]

And from the press release on WETA's website, the president and CEO of WETA says:

“Classical music, in all its power and beauty, is an essential part of the cultural life of this city. [So why was it dropped in the first place?] As the exclusive home for classical music on local radio, Classical WETA 90.9 FM will celebrate classical music through our on-air programming and community involvement." [Now, would this be the same arts organizations that begged and pleaded with WETA not to end classical programming –- requests that went unheeded?]WETA changed to the classical format with the strong approval of the WETA Board of Trustees, which met December 14 to consider the changing marketplace for radio in the region. [That would be the lukewarm directive to allow the station to change -- if management felt like it.] Rockefeller noted that the decision required choosing between two strong options. [That is, the classical format they abandoned, or the news/talk format netted them less money and lower ratings.]

“We are exceedingly proud of our current format and the staff who have implemented it. [Even though they dropped the format in a heartbeat and immediately fired a significant number of said staff.] However, given the dramatic changes in the D.C. radio market, we had to consider how we should best meet the needs of our community.” [Which they did by going back to the format the community begged them not to change in the first place.]

And you thought CDs had a high RPM…

- Ralph

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