A new voice joins the mix at Scanning the Dial

With the arrival of the New Year, we’re making some changes here at Scanning the Dial. But rather than going on a diet, in a way we’re bulking up.

To start with, I’ve decided to cut back a bit on my contributions to the blog. (I know, that doesn’t sound like “bulking up,” but bear with me.) In recent months I’ve found I need to give more time to other freelance projects, most of which have little to do with classical radio. Given these demands, blogging on a regular basis about developments in the field has been difficult — especially if I aspire to do it with any degree of thoughtfulness, which is important to me. So we’ve arranged for a replacement to step into my role here.

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KFUO sale challenged, and some views on music research

Four petitioners hope there’s still a chance that the sale of St. Louis’s KFUO isn’t a done deal. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today that multiple challenges have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission to block the sale of the commercial classical station to Christian broadcaster Gateway Creative Broadcasting.

One group is made up of members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which is selling the station. Another is a fundraising group that has helped support KFUO. I was surprised to see Patty Wente speaking on behalf of this fundraising group — she used to be general manager of KWMU, the city’s main NPR station, until she was dismissed amid controversy last year.

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WDAV assumes production of World of Opera

WDAV in Davidson, N.C., announced Friday that it will be taking over production of NPR World of Opera from the D.C.-based network. Ben Roe, now general manager at WDAV, previously worked as NPR’s director of music and brought together the show’s host and producer. The show airs on 87 stations. Here’s the full release:


December 18, 2009 | DAVIDSON, NC — WDAV 89.9 Classical Public Radio announced today that as of January 18, 2010, the station will take over production of National Public Radio’s World of Opera, keeping in place NPR’s successful creative team of host Lisa Simeone and producer Bruce Scott. WDAV General Manager Benjamin K. Roe is the new executive producer. The show will continue to be marketed and distributed by NPR.

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Stations share experiences with midday music research

For almost two years, a small set of classical public radio stations have been trying to draw more listeners during middays by changing the music they play. The casual listener might not even be aware of the changes, but station programmers are aware that the process is systematic and grounded in extensive research backed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

I wrote a few posts about this some time ago, and just recently I wrote an update for Current, the trade newspaper that covers public broadcasting. I hope you find it enlightening — its starting point was a session at the Public Radio Program Directors’ conference in September, where station programmers shared their results due to the changes. As I learned, it’s made a big difference for some stations.

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