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Fwd: re:WCRB signal

> > Lawrence: ENOUGH!  We've heard this screed time and time again from
> > you, it wasn't interesting the second time, and it's not relevant to
> > this mailing-list now.  If you don't have anything new to say, don't
> > say it.
> Well, I for one disgree; as irritating as Mr. Glavin can be, surely the
> programming policies of a Boston radio station are far more appropriate
> for a Boston radio list than the recent posts concerning television
> stations in Connecticut or Monday Night Football.

Wow...a defense from the belly of the beast! Although
I like to think of myself as more than just irritating.

> I'm not supposed to speak for my colleagues in the programming department,
> so I'll confine myself to pointing out that WCRB's playlist if easily two
> or three times the size of that of any other commercial station in Boston
> (save WHRB, of course :-)) and a quick telnet into my office reveals that
> Sunday night's programming included such thoroughly dumbed down
> pseudo-classics as Mozart's piano concerto #15 in B-flat, Shostakovich's
> Doll's Dances, and an overture by Gioacchino Rossini featuring a fiery
> horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty "heigh-ho,
> Silver!"
> Rob Landry
> umar@nerodia.wcrb.com

People don't understand that the critique "dumbed-down 
QUALITY OF ANY GIVEN WORK!  It really specifies that
the entity, usually a commercial station (but it has
been known to happen in 88.1-91.9 land...a New York
Times feature on this subject focused on WGBH-FM two
years ago) turns certain compositions and composers
into commodities very similar to the recordings played
on more mainstream stations.  Haven't pop-record 
executives been known to call what they promote
"product"?  The "William Tell Overture" is not a 
bad piece;  Rossini wrote a full-length opera and 
needed an overture for it never even conceiving what
its fate in the 20th century would be.  Businessmen
looking for a way to make a buck perceived that it, and 
a few hundred short, accessible pieces could be 
stitched together to drive enough ratings points so a
radio station would be attractive to time buyers at 
ad agencies. A few weeks ago, Bob Bittner on LTAR 
said the secret to ratings success is a short playlist
and inane repetition;  they almost always result in inflated ratings.  He may have meant pop or rock or oldies stations, but the observation applies to WCRB, WGMS and the recently-saved WTMI.  The owners of 
such outlets say "dumbed-down classical is better than
NO classical....look at Detroit and Philadelphia.  And
we get people interested in the popular pieces and 
draw them to concerts and cause them to buy classical
CD's."  The incredible preponderance of very old 
classical music can be a deterrent to a potential 
first-time listener and cause him or her to be bored
very quickly, and in the words of Peggy Lee: say "Is
that all there is?"  And a person who has heard only
the Top 40 long-form pieces repeated over and over
will be blown away by a typical mainstream concert.
The overwhelming majority of Boston Symphony programs
this fall feature pieces WCRB would NEVER play during
the hours they control programming: Beethoven's "Missa
Solemnis"; Mahler's Sym #5; Copland's Piano Concerto;
Prokofiev "Scythian Suite"; Shostakovich's Sym #10;
Ravel's complete "Daphnis and Chloe".  I'll stop there.
The point is these are mainstream works played by
orchestras around the world, but if all one's experience of "classical music" is a succession of short, harpsichord-drenched pieces, then that person
is likely to dash out at intermission and never come
back and I've seen it happen.  This is an important 
format for a major city and when mis-handled (or
mis-Handeled) by profit-crazed greed-heads, it 
deserves comment.  Read the encomia directed at
Robert J this week and ask if Mario Mazzo or 
William Cambell were the deceased, would the obituaries
be unexceptional...who but their family members would

Laurence from Methuen

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