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WMHT-FM Retrenches

A few weeks ago, NERW mentioned that WMHT-FM 89.1 Schenectady, NY
(and satellite WRHV 88.7 Poughkeepsie) had fired nearly all its
on-air staff and had begun running bird-fed classical music.
WMHT was my station of choice when travelling out there,
so when I got a chance to listen to any radio at all, I sampled the station's current sound.  BTW, a letter-writer
to a local newspaper delivered a strong dissenting view of
the changes:
The first thing I noticed is that the station is programmed
hourly...all music starts right after the hour and cannot run
over the next hour.  That means no L-O-N-G pieces like
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, except for a program block that
purposely allows for such pieces cannot be played.  Another feature not
observed on WMHT-FM earlier:  classical "bumper Music",
usually 18th Century in style and not identified, apparently
to meet the time clock, assuming this music comes from an outside source.
One one occasion they played a choral selection, a single
number from Verdi's "Requiem", and later Revolutionary War
patriotic song before a set of variations on that song.  
So unlike dumbed-down commercial pseudo-classical outlets,
WMHT-FM (or its source) is not totally averse to vocal music.
On  another occasion, I heard Jean Sibelius' Fifth Symphony,
a piece that WCRB, KDFC or WGMS (the Axis of Evil) would
not allow to air because it sounds too modern.  So WMHT-FM
(or its source) is willing to play significant 20th Century music 
in full. 
All in all, the fare is less challenging than before, but a step
above commercial dumbed-down outlets...and this could mean
the demise of 97.7 WBKK.  Why listen to "classical favorites"
with commercials (although very few) when you can get the same fare
with no commercials (ok fundraisers)?

Laurence Glavin

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