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Wilmington Bach Radio

Lights out for North Carolina commercial classical radio station

Wilmington Bach RadioAnother one bites the dust. Wilmington North Carolina’s Star News reports that Wilmington Bach radio at 95.9 FM and 1180 FM is no more. Those frequencies will now stream Port City Radio news until a new format is unveiled later this month.

The Star article quotes Wilmington public radio station WHQR FM manager Cleve Callison saying he isn’t surprised by the change.

“I always felt it was an iffy proposition to say that a classical station could support itself with a commercial model,” Callison told the newspaper, “particularly in an area with a public radio station that plays classical music,” he added.

Indeed, WHQR features an all classical HD2 stream, about which Callison re-alerted station listeners in a blog post published on Monday: “Just a reminder, folks, that we have been playing classical music in Coastal Carolina for almost 30 years. And we’re doing it today, every day. Stay tuned. We’re here.”

Callison hinted to the Star that WHQR is planning an expansion of its classical offerings via some kind of 24 hour format, but offered no timetable.

I’m not surprised that WHQR going slow on this idea. It is not easy keeping a public classical station going either. Santa Barbara, California’s eight decades old classical radio signal KDB 93.7 FM is now up for auction. The Santa Barbara Foundation, which owns the license, has voted to sell it off, citing sizeable and unaffordable deficits.

And University of Houston, Texas classical public radio station KUHA has laid off eight full-time staffers and replaced local programming with syndicated classical music content from Classical 24. This put yet another sour note on the already controversial deal in which U. Houston purchased the signal from Rice University, ending the career of college station KTRU.

What an unstable place classical radio finds itself in in so many parts of the United States. More thoughts from me on this later. Your thoughts always welcome now.

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