What happens when a city loses its classical-music radio station

Posted on: August 8, 2011

In Sunday’s (8/7) St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), Sarah Bryan Miller writes about how arts groups are faring following last year’s sale of St. Louis’s only classical music radio station, KFUO. “ ‘It’s been a tough, tough year for us,’ says Scott Kennebeck, acting head of the Cathedral Concerts series during its 2010-2011 season. ‘KFUO was a direct pipeline to people interested in the arts.’ … Many groups turned to ‘sponsorships’ on public radio station KWMU (97.1 FM) but found that they don’t have the same impact. The station can’t accept advertising.” The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre of St. Louis “have the budget to do more: mass mailings and bigger buys from other radio stations, for starters. When the sale was announced, the SLSO almost immediately forged a new relationship with KWMU, which broadcasts the orchestra’s Saturday night series. ‘There’s really an audience for classical music on the radio,’ says Adam Crane, SLSO executive vice president for external affairs. … Crane reports no decrease at the box office and credits ‘the St. Louis Public Radio people, who are enormously supportive, going out of their way to do what they can to keep classical alive and well.’ ”

Posted August 8, 2011