Wednesday, November 18, 2009

'GBH makes a strong pledge to local classical music programming

Come December 1st, there will be some noticeable changes on Boston's lone 24/7 classical music outlet WCRB 99.5FM as the station joins WGBH's public broadcasting family. Pledge drives and underwriting announcements will replace commercials. WCRB will re-brand itself from "Boston's Classical Station" to "99.5 All Classical". Because of the fact that there won't be commercials means WCRB's presentation and sound will change somewhat allowing the station to play longer movements from symphonies. Many of WCRB's current on-air and off-air staffers at longtime Waltham's South Street location will not be following the station to its new studios at WGBH facilities at Brighton Landing. WCRB's morning voice for the past 12 years, Lauro Carlo , is one of the few who are moving to Brighton studios. WGBH's current classical music hosts Clay Fuller, Ray Brown, Brian McCreath and Suzanne Bona will come on-board at the re-launched WCRB.

The change follows a deal between Nassau Broadcasting and WGBH Educational Foundation, which was announced in late September(BRW 9/21).As part of the transaction, WGBH is purchasing the FCC broadcast license for 99.5FM, all related transmitting equipment and WCRB's call letters and Web site from Nassau for $14 million. FCC approved the deal last Friday(BRW 11/14).

WGBH has released WCRB's new schedule :

5:00am-9:00am Classical music with Laura Carlo - includes leading stories and weather from the WGBH newsroom

9:00am-2:00pm Classical music with Cathy Fuller -includes 1:00-2:00pm “In Performance” (daily spotlight on WGBH live recordings)

2:00pm-6:00pm Classical music with Ray Brown - includes leading stories and weather from the WGBH newsroom6:00pm-5:00am Classical music

Thursdays: 7:00-8:00pm performances from WGBH’s Fraser Performance Studio

7:00am-11:00am Classical music with Brian McCreath - includes ‘Kid’s Classical Hour’(9-10am)
11:00am-12:00pm From the Top (featuring the nation’s best young classical musicians)
12:00pm-7:00am Classical music
8pm The Boston Symphony Orchestra

7:00am-11:00am Classical music with Brian McCreath
11:00am-2:00pm Sunday Baroque with Suzanne Bona
2:00pm-5:00pm The BSO on Record, and Sunday Concerts, including Tanglewood
5:00pm-6:00pm From the Top
6:00pm-8:00pm Classical music
8:00pm-9:00pm The Bach Hour, produced and hosted by Brian McCreath
9:00pm-5:00am Classical music

BRW Notebook :

What's New in the Hub : Channel 5's nightly news magazine "Chronicle" profiled the new Sports Hub 98-5 as part of its "What's New?" program this week. You can watch the segment right here.

WTKK resets Saturday schedule : WTKK 96.9FM is pulling "The Money Show" with Rick Schaffer and Susan Kaplan out of its Saturday line-up(1-4pm) to make room for WPHT AM/Philly's "The Big Money Show" beginning Thanksgiving Day weekend. The Money Show will still be heard in its Sunday's 9am-Noon slot. WTKK's new Saturday line-up announced today looks like this :

Hire it Done with Adam Helfman 6-8am
The Big Money Show 8-10am,
Mel Robbins 10am-1pm
Joe and Huggy 1-4pm
The Phantom Gourmet 4-7pm
Jay Severin Rewind 7-10pm
John Batchelor 10-1am

Quinn exits 'UMB : After 22 years at WUMB 91.9FM and nearly 20 years as the station's Program Director, good guy Brian Quinn was laid off last Tuesday(11/10) due to budget cutbacks. Quinn told BRW : "I would like to stay in the biz, but now looking for anything, it's a new start right?" Brian's e-mail is

Wanting to be heard : In the wake of WGBH 89.7FM's decision to cancel weekend speciality music programming - "Folk on WGBH" and "Blues on WGBH" - a grassroots effort to reinstate these shows has begun. Folk and Blues shows have aired on WGBH for the past 31 years. You can read more about the effort to bring them back on the facebook page here.


Anonymous said...

Congrats to WGBH!

So thrilled that Laura Carlo and Ray Brown will have regular shifts on the new 99,5 All Classical, now owned by WGBH — the best of all worlds!

But I have to chuckle at the phrase: "underwriting announcements will replace commercials." Will anybody be able to tell the difference??

Rock on!!

John said...

WGBH is proclaiming themselves as the savior of classical music in Boston, while actually decreasing the number of station-hours of its broadcast by 25%. Some savior. Not only will there be fewer hours of classical music, it will have a smaller broadcast radius -- all in the mad pursuit of WBUR.

Anonymous said...

I hope GBH scoops up Cris lydon for a local show

Laurence Glavin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
spsolomon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Boston Radio Watch said...

This is not a dump-and-run messageboard so post your comments accordingly or don't post at all.

Anonymous said...

Will Nasseau keep the Waltham studios and continue to provide programming for Maine's WBACH network after Dec 1 ?

Boston Radio Watch said...

Anon 11:05,

WCRB's music library is being acquired by WGBH. Over to 10,000 recordings. So there will be no use for Waltham studios.

Wbach has its own studios and music library up in Maine. WBACH's morning and afternoon drive shows are produced out of their Maine studios. They just need to fill non-drive time voicetrack shifts(middays, nights, overnights, weekends) which were tracked by former WCRB staff.

Anonymous said...

So you deleted my observation that Laura Carlo will need some special training to be a classical music announcer. It's totally accurate. During her years at Charles River/Nassau-owned WCRB, she only had to introduce a small number of constantly repeated pieces. Let's imagine that one morning on the WGBH-produced WCRB, she has to introduce a mainstream 20th-Century classical piece like Hindemith's "Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber" or Ernst Bloch's "Schelomo". She's going to sound like Ralph Kramden going "homina, homina".

Perry said...

Yes, congrats to Laura and to Ray; I look forward to listening to them. But I'm really disgruntled that Mark Calder will not be moving over. Let's face it: he has the best radio voice in all of Boston. The evening listening will not be the same.

Pamela said...

Ditto Perry's comment, cannot believe Mark Calder is gone - Where is he now? Voice-overs don't help the listening audience. And regarding music choices, they are often so dismal and depressing, I have to turn the radio off. Far too much chamber music etc. A little of that goes a long way. The teaser "if youlike this etc." is a bit deceiving as I never hear those pieces played. Pamela