Fairbanks WKLB/WCLB & WCRB

Rob Landry 011010001@interpring.com
Wed Jan 18 15:27:54 EST 2017

On Wed, 18 Jan 2017, Bob DeMattia wrote:

> So what did WGBH do that caused the drop in share?

I have no connection with WGBH, so I don't know any more about what they 
did than any other listener. But it's clear they wanted a clean break from 
what Nassau was doing, as they asked Nassau to sign off before midnight on 
November 30, 2009, and turn the station over to them with the transmitter 
shut down. Nassau asked me to do that; there were no Nassau employees left 
in town. I was a contract engineer and reported to Nassau's VP/Engineering 
in Princeton.

I went to the site that evening, shut down the station as planned, and 
turned over the keys. The WGBH engineers who met me clearly had plans for 
changes, but they didn't tell me anything.

Before Mark Edwards, Nassau's program director for WCRB, left for the last 
time several days earlier, I had him record a sign-off message and added 
one last piece of music: the movement "Gute Nacht, O Wesen" from Bach's 
motet, "Jesu meine Freude", BWV 227. Even so, the automation playlist 
ended well before midnight, so I ended up shutting down early. I gave the 
keys to the WGBH guys, went home, and went to sleep.

Some time before 6 AM the station went back on the air. Laura Carlo, the 
morning host, was the only ex-Nassau announcer to continue with WGBH, 
although they added former WCRB announcers Larry King (who had never 
worked for Nassau) and Ray Brown (who had left Nassau before the sale) 
later. I've no idea who was choosing the music, or how it was done, but I 
do know they went through several managers and program directors before 
hiring the fellow who manages WCRB today, whose name escapes me.

I do know this: while Charles River still owned WCRB, we had Coleman 
Research do a number of focus groups, one goal of which was to ascertain 
the degree to which commercials induce tune-out in a classical format. The 
participants told us that while they didn't especially care for 
commercials, they didn't generally tune out when they heard them. However, 
what they really didn't like, and what was pretty much guaranteed to make 
them tune out, was on-air fundraising. Charles River had occasionally done 
some of it for the Boston Symphony, but we never did it again once we 
learned how obnoxious our listeners found it. We replaced the BSO 
fundraisers with an annual Classical Cartoon Festival, which I understand 
WGBH's WCRB still does.

However, WGBH's WCRB does do on-air fundraising. This may, or may not, be 
reflected in the station's ratings. I wouldn't know.


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