WGBH’s spokesman, John Voci may be unintentionally right according to a BMInt commenter. The future for classical music broadcasting may be on the internet rather than from 100,000 watt radio towers, which, because of their cost of operation, require lowest common denominator programming. Richard Buell, a former Boston Globe critic, has a comprehensive website on streaming classical music here. His comment, which follows, is part of a lively discussion at the end of an earlier article .
Have you ever wondered what can classical music radio be like far, far away from dear provincial little Boston? If you’ll give me your attention …
Across the Channel from France Musique — which Joel Cohen rightly praises — you hear such offerings as BBC Radio 3’s CD Review, whose regular Building a Library feature amounts to a vivid critical discography in sound. Whose recording, say, of Schumann’s Kerner Lieder is THE one to have? One Saturday morning a few months back that wonderful writer Hilary Finch (of Gramophone and the Times) was on hand (and for an hour!) to go through the whole lot of available recordings.
There is nothing remotely like this on U.S. radio stations, and to the best of my knowledge there never has been. I’m streaming the latest program as I write, and at the top of the screen I see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00qn1lr. This week it’s David Nice and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Stop press — Kitaenko has been caught out using a corrupt Soviet text!
My point is that WGBH, WCRB, and the rest are all wedded to a dying technology — blub blub down they go — and that we shouldn’t be sad about this. Thanks to audio streaming, we’re no longer reduced to having to be grateful for small favors.
VERY small favors if you ask me. Don’t get me going on the “presentation” by local “personalities” — the quotation marks are essential — who can’t hear themselves, are often unprepared, and have an infuriating way of getting in the way of the music. I make exceptions for Cathy Fuller and Doug Briscoe. (Whatever happened to him?) As to the rest, the dunking stool would be too good for them.
When the old WGBH was busy documenting Boston’s busy concert life — the very events you read about in the Boston Musical Intelligencer — they had me on their side, faults and all. Ditto for the live BSO broadcasts on WCRB, which I gather have been taking place over their corporate dead body but so what. WHRB is a story in itself and quite apart from the WGBH/WCRB market forces kerfuffle. For this, endless praise is due David Elliott, their resident eminence grise, but for whom I wouldn’t always be coming across something I haven’t heard before, or don’t know as well as I should, and otherwise filling up gaps in my education. The station is — can I say this? — fun. And that’s about it.
At the Old South meeting it was pointed out — from the floor I think — that it’s only a matter of time before — patience everyone — the future arrives and streaming at last becomes a portable thing. [editor’s note: the future is already here for those with cellular broadband]
As to what’s out there right now — see http://www.publicradiofan.com/cgibin/statsearch.pl?format=classical&lang=, and http://www.operacast.com/opstations.htm, http://theairthisweek.blogspot.com/
As the Globe and BMint have observed, Collage New Music’s concert last Monday was no end enlivening, especially the Steven Mackey. Now why couldn’t we be hearing THAT on the radio? After all, this is not Podunk. Or is it?
[ Editor’s note: for the tech-averse or those who wish to listen without their computers on, these sites for reviews of table-top internet radio receivers(which require home network access either by WiFi or Ethernet) should be of interest: http://www.wifiradioreview.com/, http://reviews.cnet.com/best-wifi-radios/, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-9938479-1.html]