07 January 2010

Furor Over the Sonic Future

The Boston Music Intelligencer sponsored a panel two nights ago, What Can We Do for Classical Music Radio in Boston? Judging by the discussion that night, the answer seems to be, Not all that much:

WGBH general manager John Voci stayed close to script, and his answer to 85% of the questions directed to him came from the three-item menu, 1. Buy an HD radio; 2. Although we axed the Friday BSO broadcasts, we’ve increased our BSO broadcasts 140%, though mysteriously, there are prohibitive production costs for the Friday BSO broadcasts; or 3. No, boosting 99.5 wattage just cannot be done.

One aspect in which the evening was an unqualified success, was in the public turnout. It did my heart good to hear so many of my Bostonian neighbors expressing rage at the (now-former) safe-as-milk programming (a radio travesty which Dave MacNeil illuminated by explaining that those years were helmed by a former soft-rock DJ).

Who knew that Elliott Carter is Dave MacNeil’s bête noir?! A pity that our well-loved Dave subscribes to the faulty corroboration of the dentist-office programming with attracting young listeners — because young listeners are just as apt to be lured to classical music via Xenakis, Ligeti and Carter, as by de Falla, Brahms or Tchaikovsky.

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