Boston Classical Music Lovers Keep Their Radio Station, Texans Not So Lucky

Classic Arts News   Boston Classical Music Lovers Keep Their Radio Station, Texans Not So Lucky
Boston classical music lovers can rest assured that their local radio station will stay on the air, but fans in east Texas won't be so lucky, report The Boston Globe and The New York Times.

The Globe writes that WCRB-FM (99.5) is being sold to Greater Media, which is in negotiations to sell its frequency to New Jersey-based Nassau Broadcasting. Greater Media would retain the WKLB call letters and country music format and switch them to 102.5, a stronger signal in Boston, while Nassau would launch a classical music format on 99.5.

Louis F. Mercatanti, president and CEO of Nassau Broadcasting, told the Globe that he intends to keep a classical WCRB on the air. "We believe that there are a few markets in the country that do extremely well with classical and Boston is certainly one of them. You have a unique market, a product that is a niche format so it doesn't have any competition and you have a marketplace that wants the format to stay."

It doesn't look like classical lovers in northeast Texas, however, will be so fortunate. The Times reports that KTPB, the station of Kilgore College, has been sold to a Christian broadcasting company. But locals are fighting back with a newly-formed group called Save Our Arts Radio. They have generated at least 175 letters and sent some of them to the Federal Communications Commission, which has yet to approve the deal.

"Just because we live out here in the middle of nowhere doesn't mean we have to be a cultural void. This radio station has reached people who have no other access to the arts," Nancy B. Wrenn, executive director of the Tyler-based East Texas Symphony Orchestra, told the paper.

The area has plenty of Christian music stations, but KTPB is the only classical music station between Dallas and Shreveport, Louisiana, a distance of 190 miles, according to the Times. The station has about 15,000 listeners and reaches a population of 300,000 to 400,000.

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