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Whatever happened to classical music radio in SF bay area?


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19 replies to this topic

#1 of 20 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted July 27 2005 - 09:29 AM

Back in the 1980's, the Bay Area had not one but three full-time classical music FM radio stations: KQED, KKHI, and KDFC. One by one they have all gone away.

KQED was the first to go. PBS changed it over from a classical music station into yet another news/talk station Posted Image , as if we really needed another one of those.

KKHI was bought out and turned into yet another news/talk radio station Posted Image Posted Image , as if we really needed another one of those. Even the call sign was sold off, and now appears on some radio station in Colorado.

It had been a while since I last tuned into KDFC. Basically I needed to get a splitter wired into my receiver, and for some reason this was always a low priority. But I got things hooked up this week, and have been giving KDFC a listen.

I am shocked by what has happened. KDFC no longer plays entire classical works, e.g. symphonies, string quartets, concerti. Rather, they have gone to a "bleeding chunks" format. Posted Image They merely play one isolated movement from a complete work. Posted Image It would appear that they have adopted some sort of rule never to play more than 15 minutes or so between commercial breaks. In my book, this is unacceptable. They are no longer a true classical music station.

How in the heck did the SF bay area lose all of its classical music stations? For an area that prides itself on cultural superiority (or, as a cynic might put it, puffs itself up as cultural), how did matters get to this state?
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#2 of 20 OFFLINE   Nils Luehrmann

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Posted July 29 2005 - 10:56 AM

I think classical FM programming took a hit when digital music services began to offer multiple channels of much higher quality classical music with superior programming and all commercial/talk free.

While I have not kept up with it, I suspect satellite radio is only made FM that much less desirable than before.

I think the reason why this has hurt classical radio stations much more severely than other stations that program popular music is that in general the typical listener of classical music probably desires a better quality sound, and isn't happy with the limited programming the FM stations were providing.

As satellite radio becomes more popular and inexpensive, I see a future where the majority of programming on FM radio stations will be talk/news shows.

#3 of 20 ONLINE   gene c

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Posted July 29 2005 - 03:43 PM

Bay Area radio stations have gone thru quite a few changes over the past couple of years. Music stations of all formats (in english anyway-and no offense intended) are slowly disappearing. I don't think there are any country stations around here either, not that I care (again, no offense...). I think it has to do with the changing population. As generations change, so do the things around us. Including radio.
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#4 of 20 OFFLINE   Grant B

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Posted August 05 2005 - 05:51 AM

Talk is cheap, so they say, and it tends to dominate the airwaves.
Except to listen to traffic reports on how I can get out of the South Bay the fastest, I use my collection of CDs which probably out number most stations collections
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#5 of 20 OFFLINE   KevinJ

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Posted August 06 2005 - 02:49 AM

Classical music radio stations'll come back when HD radio becomes more widespread imho

#6 of 20 OFFLINE   Paul.S

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Posted September 22 2007 - 11:49 AM

Los Angeles recently lost KMZT 105.1. Non-profit KUSC is the only remaining classical station in the same city that's getting press for Gustavo Dudamel's appointment and as the home of an increasingly important, innovative American orchestra.

#7 of 20 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted September 23 2007 - 12:01 PM

Well now that I'm in Boise....

It was a real pleasant surprize when I discovered the local college FM station is a decent classical music station for most of each day. BSU may be most famous for football jocks playing on blue astroturf, but their affiliated FM station, KBSU at 90.3 in the Boise area http://radio.boisestate.edu/ , is a much better classical music station than any left in the SF bay area. How's that for something completely different?

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#8 of 20 OFFLINE   Henry Gale

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Posted September 23 2007 - 01:35 PM

Sorry to learn that "Bagdad by the Bay" doesn't support classical music.
Next time where ever you are is feeling all superior to Texas, try to remember that both Austin and San Antonio have 24/7 listener supported classical stations.
I'm fortunate to be located where I can receive both stations, so I send money to both.
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#9 of 20 ONLINE   gene c

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Posted September 30 2007 - 02:17 AM

Quote:
Next time where ever you are is feeling all superior to Texas,
Come on now, we don't feel superior to Texas. After all, we just added a Country and Western station (near the bottom of the dial I think) so you-all would have somthin' ta listen to while your' up here in Gods country. C&W, isn't that what ya'll listen to down south? That's where they put Texas aint' it? Down south? All kidding aside, it's hard to feel superior to anyone when you have two last place baseball teams, two football teams with the worst records in the NFL over the last few years, a pro soccer team that left for (gulp!) Houston (of all Places! Or was it Denver? Can't remember. Oh well, same difference) and housing prices that are out of this world. I can't believe I'm saying this but thank God for the Warriors! And we really should have at least one Classical radio station here for crying out loud. Man, if it wasn't for the weather...(it really is nice here. Really..) Oh, and go Cal! Should be in the top 5 by today. O.K. I've offended enough people around here for one day. Enjoy the rest of it.
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Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.
 
 

 


#10 of 20 OFFLINE   Sumnernor

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Posted September 30 2007 - 09:01 AM

I am glad that there are some people that like classical music. I am a big, big fan. I live here in Munich which is very good for classical music. I am sure that there are ?many? stations that can be received on the internet. One station here, part of the Bavarian radio is "Bayern 4" which can be received in internet. There is 6 hours difference between here and NYC. If desired, I can supply some info and the next few days. If I don't, send a PM. I am told by US friends that the sound is good.

#11 of 20 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted September 30 2007 - 02:59 PM

Classical stations all over the place are hurting. Here in DC, the local classical station got bumped from their frequency in favor of a news station. They are now on a weaker signal, which Dan Snyder tried to buy for his radio network, but that deal fell through. My wife ended up going with XM for her classical music needs.

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#12 of 20 OFFLINE   Benovite

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Posted October 02 2007 - 03:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul.S
Los Angeles recently lost KMZT 105.1. Non-profit KUSC is the only remaining classical station in the same city that's getting press for Gustavo Dudamel's appointment and as the home of an increasingly important, innovative American orchestra.
I'm still feeling the pain.



I mean they replaced classical music with COUNTRY MUSIC.


In Los Angeles.

COUNTRY MUSIC.

In Los Angeles.

COUNTRY MUSIC.

WTF??? I literally work across the street from the radio station too and every time I pass their building I want to spit on it.

I just can't get past the fact that L.A., which does have some fine cultural sources and advantages, actually ditched an FM classical music station for country music.

What did Clint Eastwood's Any Which Way You Can get released again? Is country music back in vogue?

Doubt it. =/

#13 of 20 OFFLINE   Paul.S

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Posted October 02 2007 - 04:22 AM

Well, casting aspersions (and saliva) at formats/music genres aside, it wasn't a municipal decision but rather an economic one. The former owner of the station decided to sell because of declining listener support.

Let's not forget that L.A. recently lost the country station KZLA, too.

#14 of 20 OFFLINE   Benovite

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Posted October 02 2007 - 05:28 AM

Ok granted(although you can't lose enough country music stations IMO) but if it was an economic decision why did they opt to go with country music?

Is that where the money is? Keep in mind we're still talking about the L.A. market here. Posted Image



You know what L.A. really needs IMO? And I know this is already available on satellite but I thought this long before:
A SOUNDTRACK RADIO STATION!

All soundtracks all the time, with different DJ's that bring in their own soundtrack styles, like the punk or rock soundtrack show from punk and rock movies, the hip hop soundtrack show, the soul and R&B soundtrack show, hell the Tarantino musical restrospective, anything! But of course the majority of music would be from composers such as John Williams, Bernard Herrman, Jerry Goldsmith, Maurice Jarre etc and so on..

In L.A. I really think that would work.

#15 of 20 OFFLINE   Henry Gale

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Posted October 02 2007 - 10:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benovite
I'm still feeling the pain.



I mean they replaced classical music with COUNTRY MUSIC.


In Los Angeles.

COUNTRY MUSIC.

In Los Angeles.

COUNTRY MUSIC.

WTF???



Ben,
I'm so sorry.
On several levels.

Just found this info online:

"On February 26, 2007, KKGO moved their country music over to 105.1 FM, and 105.1 KMZT moved their Classical format here to 1260 AM."

Classical music on AM radio. Brilliant!

Now, let me remind you that I've already appeared in this thread as a financial supporter of TWO classical stations.
But, I love lots of music. Country definitely included.
I’ll bet they’re not playing real country music. That’s one of the levels I’m sorry on.
How can a city as big as La La not have a genuine FM classical station.
Or a hardcore honky-tonk, bluegrass, western-swing (some of the best of which was recorded out there) station.
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#16 of 20 OFFLINE   Benovite

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Posted October 02 2007 - 01:32 PM

Thank you. Posted Image

Just as you feel my pain here in L.A., I also feel Dennis' pain in San Francisco. Ladies and gentlemen it's a painfest!

I tell you what, this may be a very ignorant opinion, but those cats on the east coast have it down. They still honor and respect classical music as the treasure it is. Specifically I'm referring to Massachusetts, Boston, Symphony Hall etc. Same goes for Europe.

#17 of 20 OFFLINE   Sumnernor

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Posted October 03 2007 - 04:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benovite
Thank you. Posted Image

Just as you feel my pain here in L.A., I also feel Dennis' pain in San Francisco. Ladies and gentlemen it's a painfest!

I tell you what, this may be a very ignorant opinion, but those cats on the east coast have it down. They still honor and respect classical music as the treasure it is. Specifically I'm referring to Massachusetts, Boston, Symphony Hall etc. Same goes for Europe.
Europe is certainly. Thats a major reason why I am in Munich. In the 60's I lived in Boston and again for a year in the mid-80's. I know that classical radio is not what it was in the 60's. I believe with some classical music there is still WCRB and WHRB (harvard). I believe you can get on the internet the station of the NY Times and as mentioned above, "Bayern 4" which is 24 hours classical. FYI, when I was once in Boston, I had a great problem finding a postcard of Symphony hall!!!!

#18 of 20 OFFLINE   Paul.S

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Posted October 15 2007 - 11:51 AM

Now the 1260 AM spot on the dial that became the home of classical KMZT when it left the FM dial . . . just a couple months after it did so . . . is switching from classical to talk.

http://www.latimes.c....,6925091.story

#19 of 20 OFFLINE   Steve Y

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Posted October 16 2007 - 05:43 PM

I used to listen to KDFC all the time back in college. They had an around-the-clock format which featured pre-recorded information about the work (always played in its entirety), including the composer, the artist(s), the year of composition, etc. This would play before and after EVERY work. The advertisements were usually for shops around the area (like "The Walk Shop" in Berkeley). Nothing too fancy. But I can't tell you how much special new (to me) music I encountered on this station daily.

Today KDFC is a joke. It now plays lullabies for older professionals with disposable incomes and no real interest in classical music. It is advertised as "your oasis of sanity": in other words, familiar classical "hits" and innocuous and interchangeable Baroque meditation music for those needing to "wind down" after a long day at the office or slip into the hot tub with a cocktail.

I have a feeling they do pretty well with advertisements (mutual funds, luxury cars, tailors) so it makes sense that no other classical stations pop up to compete. It's just too expensive.

During the commute hour, or the lunch hour, or any other "marketing" hour they can define in a single work day, KDFC plays either the standard "Greatest Hits" excerpts (often not bothering to specify the recording artist, much less the year of composition or recording label) and concertos or symphonies are never played in their entirety during this time. As Dennis said, "Bleeding Chunks". It's sad.

There are some decent works played past midnight, and some opera evenings, but satellite radio and streamed internet radio is the only place to find unique classical "radio" mixes in the Bay Area.

#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Chris Cheese

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Posted October 31 2007 - 05:35 PM

Any recommendations for good, streaming online classical radio stations?


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