Friday, December 16, 2011

WCRI 95.9 FM Rhode Island: Massive FAIL OR Mere Mediocrity?

I have been meaning to blog about this classical radio station for a long time.  Where I live in North Stonington it is difficult to access classical stations (even WGBH in Boston, which has gone down in quality since the death of Robert J. Lurtzema, its former morning host).  The computer has made it a bit easier; however, even though I do like the news provided, many of the  public stations have gone  over to "hot-air-24-hours-a-day" programming where rhetorical questions abound.  This leads me to WCRI.

Where to start?
1.  No live programming.  Everything is pre-taped and is played over and over again.  The same is true of the commentary, though it is on a different tape.  This can get very interesting at times when the engineer puts in non-synching tapes.  Oh, joy!  What are they going to call this piece now?  In addition, this can also happen with the news and weather, as it did the week after Thanksgiving this year when all of a sudden my husband and I were regailed in the car with the weather prognostications for the three days after the holiday a week later.

2.  The reason I made the snarky comment about WGBH is that WCRI is utilizing one of its on-air "talents".  This guy sounds like the worst used-car salesman you could ever imagine -- and, then, he talks down to the listeners.  After a little bit of trivia he says, "I thought you'd want to know about that."  The use of this little catch phrase, which is so over-used that I almost throw-up whenever I hear it, is a real BIG CLUE that the programme is taped.  In addition, it gives the impression that only he has the "inner score" on what was just played.

3.  Since the programming is pre-taped, certain composers show up much more frequently in the rotation, especially Dvorak and Copland (sometimes every to every-other day and twice a day at times).  There is so much classical music that this type of repetition should not be happening.  So, yes, when I can receive the signal on my car's antenna, I will listen to the New London broadcast antenna for WMNR out of Monroe, CT, or WSHU from Fairfield, CT.

4.  This is a commercial station, which would not necessarily be a bad thing; except that there are some exceptionally bad commercials which do not blend at all with the type of programming.

5. This now leads into the so-called "special" Sunday Programming which is sponsored by a private investment firm.  I would think that they would want  real programming and not the usual pre-canned content of everyday -- but, that is what they get.  One-size-fits-all.

6.  Parts-Is-Parts:  Yes, on occasion they will play the 3rd movement from a Beethoven symphony - or the 2nd.  I have YET to hear an entire rendition of the Eroica during the day -- and forget any Mahler.  They probably believe that their audience has as short an attention span as they seem to have.

7.  There is no vocal music except during the month of
December (except when they very occasionally play the Beethoven 9th for the Evening Classic -- they have yet to play the Carmina Burana)!

8.  I love music too much to be quiet anymore.  From the Middle Ages to the present,  I have listened and studied music's history.  I know how difficult it is to play a musical instument.  I just hate seeing the music I love being made into a mediocrity by people who should know better.