I am always happy when a classical music radio station goes live again. The Kansas City Star reports that Radio Bach returns on July 4 as a streaming Internet service for a chunk of Northeastern Kansas. If you go to the new Radio Bach website, the outlet describes itself as a 24/7, 365 days a year operation, “with a playlist of 5,000 pieces.” Radio Bach “offers full-length music pieces with limited interruption, along with interviews and stories about the local arts community” and will function as a “resource for information about arts events” the About page says.
This is a comeback for gone-but-not-forgotten KXTR-FM, which broadcast for over four decades at 96.5 FM. Then it became KXTR-AM 1660 AM and in its last days “Radio Bach.” Then it died; its owner Entercom switched to a business format in March of last year.
What Knight in Shining Armor rescued Radio Bach? Goddess bless Johnson County Community College of Overland Park, Kansas, which has reinvented Radio Bach as a college signal. JCCC has signed on KXTR’s former morning show host Patrick Neas as programming director, who notes that that library of 5,000 classical tunes is around five time more than what most classical stations offer.
“I think it is the one thing that will distinguish us,” Neas says in the college’s press release. “We are starting with a playlist of 5,000 pieces, and we will add to that. We intend to play music from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century, with everything from solo piano and full orchestral music to opera arias and choral works.”
As for the Fourth of July inauguration, well, no surprises on the program:
- Complete performances of the musicals “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Showboat”
- Marches by John Philip Sousa
- Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”
- Antonin Dvorak’s “New World” symphony
- And of course, “The 1812 Overture.”
But I’m hoping that with the backing of a college, Radio Bach will offer a more adventurous and diverse classical stream than, ahem, a certain public classical station in the San Francisco Bay Area does.
Here’s a secret: Radio Bach is already streaming (albeit without deejays or any program information). Listen here.
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