Aug 18, 2008

WGCU moves classical music to digital channel

WGCU in Fort Myers, Florida, is the latest hybrid-format pubradio station to move classical music programming off its main broadcast service. On Sept. 8, the station launches a 24-hour all-classical HD Radio channel, primarily drawn from American Public Media's nationally syndicated service Classical 24. Its primary FM service picks up NPR's Fresh Air and the Diane Rehm Show, as well as the BBC's World Have Your Say. Syndicated jazz and other niche music programs air at night. "If you look for the audience for the kinds of program[s] we’re going to, you’ll find that audience is much greater than the classical music audience," says Kathleen Davey, g.m., in the Naples Daily News.

Music fees a box of trouble for Pandora

Pandora, the Internet radio service that allows listeners to customize musical selections to their own tastes, is "approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision," founder Tim Westergren tells the Washington Post. Under the royalty fee structure imposed on Web radio stations last year, Pandora projects that 70 percent of its total projected revenues of $25 million will go to royalty payments. The Post's TechCrunch blogger Michael Arrington, an early advocate for Pandora, doesn't see the music industry backing down from their "absurd" position on webcasting royalties, and says perhaps Pandora should be sacrificed for the larger good of eventually bringing the music labels to their knees. "For now the labels want to squeeze more revenue out of Pandora and others," Arrington writes. "But when these companies start to go under and the bird in the hand disappears, they may regret their overly aggressive negotiating stance. It's time for the labels to die, and anything that cuts off another revenue stream is at least partially good."

Journalist Leroy Sievers dies

Leroy Sievers, TV journalist and author of NPR's My Cancer blog, died on Friday at the age of 53. Since NPR notified blog readers of his passing, more than 1050 remembrances and notes of condolence have been posted on the My Cancer page. NPR's obit and commemoration is here.