Fairbanks WKLB/WCLB & WCRB
A Joseph Ross
Wed Jan 18 23:22:32 EST 2017
Is WFCC still owned by Charles River Broadcasting?
On 1/18/2017 1:14 PM, Rob Landry wrote:
> On Wed, 18 Jan 2017, Doug Drown wrote:
>> I wasn't aware of the complaints about the station's programming,
>> though I
>> would have been sympathetic. During my college and early professional
>> years in the late '60s to mid '70s, before I moved to Maine, WCRB was a
>> Boston institution --- considered one of the greatest classical radio
>> stations in the country, and enjoying Arbitron ratings that were in
>> Massachusetts' top tier, just below WHDH and WRKO.
> When I started working at WCRB in 1985, the station's audience share
> ranged between 1.1 and 1.7. It was ranked in the top twenty, but
> barely. Stories were told among the staff about lean times a few years
> earlier when the station was carried by its sound systems sister
> company, and at one point the principal owner, Ted Jones, had to
> mortgage his house to keep WCRB on the air. It had never been
> spectacularly profitable. Originally an AM station at 1330, the FM at
> 102.5 was added in 1954. The AM station was sold in the mid 1970's and
> became WDLW (now WRCA).
>> By the end of the century, the playlist had become annoyingly tight,
>> degenerating into what was, in my estimation, the classical music
>> equivalent of a standard light rock station --- the same "best-known"
>> symphonic and solo pieces ("classical lite," as they're somewhat
>> derisively called) --- played over and over again.
> After Ted's death in 1991, the other stockholders began pressuring
> management to make the station more profitable. At the same time, long
> time spnsorships, such as that of Delta Airlines for the Sunday night
> opera show and Raytheon for the Boston Symphony, began to evaporate as
> these sponsors began looking for better resuls for their money.
> In 1997, the Board of Trustees fired Ted's hand-picked general
> manager, Cynthia Scullin, and replaced her with Bill Campbell, the man
> who had launched WMJX for Greater Media in 1981. Mario Mazza, whom
> Cynthia had hired as program director, was given free rein to push up
> the ratings. Mario's formula was that of an easy listening station
> built around classical music, and it was a huge hit. WCRB peaked at
> number 7 with a 4.5 audience share.
>> If I heard Horowitz play "Polonaise" on Tuesday morning, I could
>> predict that I would hear it again that night, the next day, and the
>> day following. All of that has blessedly changed under WGBH's
> In December 2006, WCRB was sold for $100 million to Greater Media,
> which immediately moved its "Country 99.5" WKLB to 102.5, replacing
> WCRB. The classical format and the WCRB call letters were given to
> Nassau Broadcasting along with the 99.5 station in a complex deal in
> which Greater Media got a Nassau-owned station in the Phaldelphia
> market. Nassau's programming formula was similar to Mario's, but with
> some changes to the playlist. Nassau sold WCRB 99.5 FM to WGBH for $14
> million in December, 2009.
> Nassau's WCRB had been pulling a consistent 3 share, but WGBH's WCRB
> has never been able to approach that. WCRB's share since 2009 has
> generally been in the high 1's to low 2's.
>> The same thing was true on Maine's W-BACH stations for quite some time
>> until Bill Binnie bought them. The playlist has improved considerably
>> since. To his credit, Binnie seems to take his ownership of the
> W-BACH was also onwned by Nassau; for a time it was programmed out of
> WCRB's Waltham studios. When Binnie bought it, he replaced Nassau's
> format with Mario's 1997 WCRB format, which W-BACH runs to this day.
> Binnie is dropping W-BACH's classical format on February 28. The
> stations will be flipping to something else.
> The Mario format can still be heard on WFCC (Cape Cod), WCRI (Block
> Island), WBQK (Williamsburg, VA), and WSCS (New London, NH).
A. Joseph Ross, J.D. | 1340 Centre Street, Suite 103 | Newton, MA 02459
617.367.0468 | Fx:617.507.7856 | http://www.attorneyross.com
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