Saturday, November 14, 2009

FCC approves WCRB purchase as 'GBH sets a date for its format conversion

Since plating its antenna on the Great Blue Hills in Milton and going on the air on October 6, 1951, Boston's public broadcaster WGBH 89.7FM, has built its strong identity around news and music programming, much of it is jazz and classical. But come Tuesday, December 1, WGBH's format will undergo a major conversion to mostly-news, information and talk as the 58-year old public broadcasting's institution will shed its long-running image as the "NPR, Arts and Culture Station".

Yesterday, Federal Communications Commision officially green-lighted WGBH Educational Foundation's $14-million acquisition of WCRB 99.5FM from financially-troubled Nassau Broadcasting. The deal closing is expected later this month. As mentioned here previously, WGBH will shift all of its classical music offerings and programming from 89.7FM to WCRB 99.5FM beginning December 1st. WCRB 99.5FM will also become a non-commercial signal adopting public radio's revenue model based on listener donations and corporate underwriting(BRW 9/29). Also as expected when the WCRB deal was first announced eight weeks ago(BRW 9/21), WGBH will eliminate much of its music programming to make room for news and talk programming. Unfortunately for the fans of weekend blues and folk block programming such long-running music shows as “Folk on WGBH’’ and “Blues on WGBH" will be gone after Thanksgiving. As of now, the only music holdovers on WGBH 89.7FM's new schedule will be the weeknight "Jazz with Eric in Evening"(Mon-Thur) and "Jazz from Studio 4"(Fri), a weekend Celtic music show "Celtic Sojourn" and a nationally syndicated music/variety show "Prairie Home Companion".

Stay tuned to this space for the upcoming details on WGBH 89.7FM's new news/information line-up as soon as they're released.

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