Classical music on the radio? Not in this town…

It looks like the days of classical music on D.C. radio are coming to a close. DCRTV first broke the news that Redskins owner Dan Snyder was buying WGMS (104.1 & 103.9 FM) from Bonneville to add to his ESPN Triple X Radio cluster. This morning, The Post caught up to the story:

“They made an offer that [a seller] can’t refuse,” said one executive involved in the negotiations. He requested anonymity because the sale was pending. “If someone wanted to buy your house and was willing to pay 50 percent more than it was worth, you’d do it,” he said.

Snyder has been desperate to get a better signal for his radio station(s) because none of his three current signals (92.7 and 94.3 FM, and 730 AM) have much power. In addition to many Redskins fans being frusturated that they cannot watch Skins games with the sound turned down adn the radio turned up, ESPN has threatened remove its programming from Triple X Radio unless a better signal is found as well.

As of 5:58 a.m. WGMS is still alive.

6 Comments so far

  1. mjg (unregistered) on December 8th, 2006 @ 11:43 am

    Sadly, this is only the final shoe dropping in the gradual loss of classical music programing in Washington.

    WGMS lost any legitimate claim to being a classical music venue several format changes ago. It isn’t so much the incessant commercials and insipid chit chat of the radio hosts (bad as those are). For the past several years the station has been largely reduced to “classical pops.” Apparently any piece of music longer than 2-3 minutes is too taxing for the listeners and has to be avoided (except in during the graveyard shift, when playing longer pieces is a way to reduce labor costs). Forget about full symphonies, concertos or chamber pieces.

    Playing single movements yanked at random for larger works is now Standard Operating Procedures at WGMS. (I mean, did you ever go home at night and think to yourself, “I might just enjoy 3 minutes selected at random from out of the middle of tonight’s epsiode of CSI”?)

    I might be roused to try and “save” WGMS if I thought that meant saving classical music on the Washington airwaves. But we lost classical music long ago.

  2. Glenn (unregistered) on December 8th, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, MJG. You would think that, as a classical musician, my first response to this headline would have been, “NO!”…but, it was more like, “So…”.

  3. CC (unregistered) on December 9th, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

    There are several concerns here. First, is do we have any leverage over how the airwaves are bought and sold? That sounds like an FCC question.

    Secondly, WGMS is a profitable enterprise, making the sale by Bonneville (an arm of the Mormon Church) more mamon than anything else.

    Finally, while WGMS may not be the perfect classical station, it is a good station and I would rather have it than none at all.

    There is one opportunity to weigh in and that is now – otherwise, enjoy the sports chat…

  4. CC (unregistered) on December 9th, 2006 @ 4:07 pm

    Bonneville, the “values based company” can be reached at 801-575-7500 to ask about the values displayed by the sale of WGMS.

  5. Tom (unregistered) on December 12th, 2006 @ 10:31 am

    WGMS has been a vital island of civility amidst this greed- and power-driven rat race for many years. Now, it’s ever more obvious that the rats have won and the hogs are at the trough.

    The already ubiquitous Redskins need yet another media outlet about as much as Dan Snyder needs a bigger ego…or more money.

    People complain about the numbers of commercials on the station, but they do have to pay their bills just as the Washington taxpayers who fund the stadiums and infrastructure that support Snyder’s greed machine.

    The loss of WGMS sickens me all the more as it comes at a time when the only value placed on anything is monetary, and competion for the attention money can buy is the only one that really matters.

  6. Sally (unregistered) on December 15th, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

    WGMS has been my favorite station since the early ’70’s. I enjoy it especially at this time of year because they play real Christmas music, not silly Christmas songs like so many pop stations. I can’t believe that this city will not have a classical station. Even Baltimore has one. I found it interesting that on its website Bonneville claims to be a “values-based” company. I guess “values” are for sale at the right price As for “the Danny”, he is the Grinch who stole my radio station!

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