Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back to the 70s: NY Times: Sulzbergers Unload Classical Radio

The New York Times is unloading its classical radio station, WQXR-FM...The deal with Univision Communications and public radio broadcaster WNYC calls for WQXR to move from 96.3 FM to a weaker signal higher up the dial at 105.9 FM...Univision's Spanish-language station, WCAA, will become 96.3 FM and have a better spot in the middle of the FM band with which to serve its growing Hispanic audience in exchange for $33.5 million... The Fat Lady Sings, Holly Sanders Ware, NY Post, 7/15/2009

In the 1970s, New York's best-known conservative family, the Buckleys (William F., Jr., Senator James, etc), unloaded New York's best classical station, WNCN. NCN had always been the classical station with the weightier programming. WQXR competed 24 hours a day, but with a much lighter content. Despite public protests over the sale, the Buckleys' agent tossed NCN's classical collection into dumpsters within six months, the station becoming all-country (it has since disappeared). A similar fate met New York's only commercial jazz station, WRVR, at about the same time. Its enormous collection was also thrown into the trash and the station became all-disco (it too has long disappeared).

No one since would have ever guessed that the liberal bastion of American culture, the last place in New York for rational discussion (of fiction, one supposes), would sell off the last surviving semi-commercial classical station in the United States. But, they have, trashing an institution with 65 years on the air, much as the Obama administration is trashing America's future for immediate political payoffs to constituents.

It occurs to the writer, not for the first time, that trashing the future for immediate gain is what the Left has done best since the late 1960s. And there is no better representative of the Left in New York than the nearly bankrupt NY Times. For the better part of thirty-five years, the newspaper of record (perhaps of the Upper West Side of Manhattan) has presented politically slanted trade fiction as objective news. As a consequence, declining circulation and the recession have put them in the position where they can't fill their newspaper with adequate advertising pages to pick up the tab. To maintain membership in that special club of New York's elite which the Times has had a large role in inventing and sustaining, they're selling off their assets, sacrificing the future for dubious present gain.

We may expect this to go much further than selling off New York's last commercial outlet for classical music. Already in Congress is consideration for bankrolling distressed newspapers like the Times, provided the editors don't advocate for or against any policy or individual in politics, while at the same time siccing the FCC on Internet blogs that offend the Left's presumptions about itself. Silencing the lambs of different views (or music), whether over the air, or on the Web, is the Left's most enduring legacy.


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