Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WGBH picks a new leader for Classical New England 99.5

A game of musical management chairs is unfolding over at WGBH Educational Foundation. It involves a change of leadership at WGBH's WCRB/Classical New England 99.5. After 2 1/2 years as WCRB's program director/station manager, Benjamin Roe, is transitioning over to the TV side of the business while  NYC-based media executive Anthony Rudel will take over as the new boss of Boston's only classical musical radio outlet. Rudel has been consulting at WCRB for the past few months will transition into the role over the next few weeks.

Rudel who has spent his career in local and network radio, media consulting, magazine publishing and teaching. He began his radio career in 1977 at the age of 20 at New York City's classical station WQXR. He will oversee WCRB’s programming and on-air staff, reporting to Phil Redo, WGBH’s General Manager for Radio. Rudel also will manage broadcast partnerships with orchestras, symphonies and other arts groups to hone and improve WCRB’s live broadcast offerings.

WGBH Educational Foundation acquired WCRB 99.5 from bankrupt Nassau Broadcasting for $14 million in December 2009.(BRW 11/18/09) Benjamin Roe was hired in March 2011 to replace retired WGBH programmer Jon Solins to program and manage WCRB. 

Here's official WGBH release on management change at WCRB :

WGBH Expanding Commitment to Musical Performance

Benjamin Roe tapped to develop new programs, moves to WGBH Television

Anthony Rudel will join as WCRB Station Manager

BOSTON, Mass. (November 5, 2013) – WGBH is continuing to expand its role as Boston’s leading arts broadcaster with plans to produce additional, multi-platform content celebrating music and performance. Benjamin K. Roe, 99.5 WCRB’s managing director, has been tapped to lead this effort in a new role as a part of WGBH Television.


As Managing Producer of Music and Performance, Roe will focus on the creation of new, original programming content for television and digital platforms, expand partnerships with regional artistic organizations, and manage off-air music events and performances for WGBH. He will report to Liz Cheng, WGBH’s General Manager for Television.


“I’m excited that Ben will join me in the development of new music productions that we hope to bring forward in the new year,” said Cheng, who has an extensive background in concert and musical events production. “WGBH has a 60-year history of showcasing the region’s musical performers and Ben will help us build on this legacy in new ways.”

As Managing Director of WCRB, Roe oversaw the station’s collaboration with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, the New England Conservatory and the Boston Early Music Festival, among others. He played an instrumental role in the formation of WGBH Music’s online music streams and video channels, which have surpassed 500,000 YouTube views in under two years.

“I am excited for this opportunity to work more closely and collaboratively with the region’s arts leaders. WGBH is Boston’s biggest advocate for classical music and performance art, and I look forward to expanding that commitment with a focus on programs and events that connect more community members with Boston’s classical music traditions,” said Roe.


Anthony Rudel, who started his career at 19 as an on-air host for New York’s classical radio station WQXR and later served as the station’s vice president for programming, will join WGBH as Station Manager for WCRB. He will oversee the station’s programming and on-air staff, reporting to Phil Redo, WGBH’s General Manager for Radio. Rudel also will manage broadcast partnerships with orchestras, symphonies and other arts groups to hone and improve WCRB’s live broadcast offerings.

“Tony Rudel has an unparalleled knowledge of both classical music and audience-focused radio,” said Redo. “He is as passionate about classical music as anyone. More importantly, though, he strives every day to help all people – aficionados and casual fans alike – better understand and appreciate the beauty and emotion of classical music.”

After leaving WQXR, Rudel was Music Director for the first New York Festival of the Arts, launched Classic CD Magazine, and later became Vice President for Sony Worldwide’s initiatives in nationally syndicated classical radio. He currently serves as the visiting professor for communication studies at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y. In recent months, Rudel has been serving as a consultant to WCRB. He takes on the new position with an already strong knowledge of the station.

“I have spent my career working to get people excited about classical music. Few cities in America have a tradition in classical music as rich as Boston’s. This region is uniquely positioned to lead a renaissance of popular interest in classical music,” Rudel said. “For centuries, this music was the popular art for broad and diverse audiences. I love this music and I look forward to helping to make it a part of every Bostonian’s life, whether they are classical experts or new fans of the music.”

Rudel’s first violin teacher was Dr. Hiao-Tsin Ma, father of the acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He also studied under William Kroll and attended the Indian Hill Arts Camp in Stockbridge, Mass. Rudel has written four books on classical music and radio, including Classical Music Top 40, Tales from the Opera and Hello Everybody! The Dawn of American Radio. He and his wife Kristy have a home in Rockport. Rudel is the son of noted conductor Julius Rudel.

Rudel and Roe will transition into their new roles over the course of the next several months.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBH 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater BostonBasic Black, High School Quiz Show, and Neighborhood Kitchens. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio; 99.5 WCRB Classical New England; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational multimedia (including PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content), and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.

BRW Notebook :

Almost the season : For Bostonians, who can't deal with pre-holiday build-up and absolutely need their Christmas-music  fix early, WODS 103.3’s HD3 sub-channel/internet station went All-Christmas late last week.
Nielsen Audio(formerly Arbitron) divides the year into 13 four-week ratings periods, one named for each month plus a year-end "Holiday"survey which this year starts on December 5th and runs thru January 1st. Last year, WMJX/Magic 106.7 didn't switch to All-Christmas until the day before the "Holiday" survey(BRW 12/5/12).
Birthday Party :  Talk host Jeff Kuhner has hit the one-year on-air milestone with WRKO AM 680(BRW 11/1/12). The station is throwing an invitation-only anniversary bash for “Liberalism’s Worst Nightmare” at the Pearl Street Café in Saugus on Wednesday, Nov. 6th, from 6 pm to 8 pm, sponsored by Perfect Smiles. Fans can listen to “The Kuhner Report” weekdays from 6 am to 10 am to win their way into the party, or log in to their talk insider accounts to claim free passes to the celebration.

Bluesing it up :  Award-winning blues DJ Holly Harris now has a new radio show called "Spinning the Blues," on Saturday nights from 8 PM to midnight on WUMB 91.9 FM. Tune in at 91.9 FM or listen on line here.  The show repeats on Sundays at 2:00 AM.

Harris' radio career began at Tufts University's WMFO 91.5 in 1982 where she hosted, "The Morning After Blues" for ten years. Harris' first commercial radio show was the weekly "10 O'Clock Rockin' Blues" on WCGY FM in June 1992. During that time and for the next twenty years she often filled in for her dear friend, the late, great blues host Mai Cramer, on "Blues After Hours" on WGBH FM 89.7.  In January 1993, she landed at WBOS 92.9 and she spent nearly 15 years on the station hosting and producing "Blues On Sunday". More on her career and her new show can be found here.

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