Fairbanks WKLB/WCLB & WCRB

A Joseph Ross joe@attorneyross.com
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 
>> eastern
>> 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 
>> ownership,
> 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 
>> stations
>> seriously.
> 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).
> Rob

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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