How many people are really listening?

Hello, readers of my poor neglected blog. Apologies for not having posted for some time, but the usual deadlines have kept me away. Let’s jump right back in, though, with a look at a new way of measuring radio’s audience that is affecting all formats, including classical.

People outside the radio industry might not be aware of it, but a change is afoot in how radio stations gauge their listenership. Arbitron, the company that gathers ratings data for radio, is moving away from the paper diaries that listeners have long filled out by hand and embracing Portable People Meters — gadgets that can tune into and automatically register a radio station’s signal. This means PPMs should supposedly be more accurate, since they don’t rely on a listener’s possibly delayed or even incorrect recollection of what radio stations they listened to throughout a given day.

Continue Reading

Classical goes down on Orlando’s WMFE

As Mona asked in a tweet yesterday, “Is there something in the water in Florida?” Though the more appropriate question may be, “Is there something in the water in public radio?” Because another dual-format public radio station, WMFE in Orlando, has dumped classical from its schedule.

Well, not entirely. Like Gainesville’s WUFT, which made a similar move in August, WMFE is moving the classical music to an HD channel. The station’s president says “It’s not like we’re eliminating classical music,” but come on — for what’s no doubt the vast majority of the station’s audience, that not true.

Continue Reading

Pledge income down at WUFT, and a closer look at the KFUO sale

Two updates today on recent station-centric kerfuffles that we’ve been following. The first pertains to WUFT-FM in Gainesville, Fla., which as you might remember decided to drop classical from its primary signal and move all the music to an HD channel.

Well, the station had its first fund drive since the switch, and donations were down — by 37 percent, according to the Gainesville Sun.

Continue Reading

Chance of more classical in St. Louis

Hi there — apologies for the extended absence, but I’ve been whupped with deadline after deadline as of late. It’s nice to come up for air. As Douglas Adams said, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

So it looks as if classical fans in St. Louis despondent over the imminent loss of KFUO might have some salvation coming. KRCU, a public radio station in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is eying an upgrade of its signal in Farmington, about 80 miles outside of St. Louis. In a release on KCRU’s website, General Manager Dan Woods says that could get the station’s signal into parts of St. Louis.

Continue Reading