Since outside of science, bad ideas never die, they just gain an increasingly loud and ignorant constituency (see: Supply Side Economics), I know I’m never going to stop seeing/hearing how new media is going to get rid of the book, the CD, etc. Physical media will always be with us, and so will television, and the movies, and especially radio. New media, in actual fact and experience, has tended to expand the audiences for things, and it seems to be saving classical radio in New York. The sale of WQXR to WNYC has turned out to be a great success for both listeners and the station itself. Although the trend in Public Radio over the years has been to slavishly follow the lead of commercial radio and move to an all-talk format (a trend I find despicable both aesthetically and morally), the news that WQXR, now a classical, Public Radio station, had the highest cumulative audience in Public Radio for the month of December is wonderful, although I don’t expect facts to influence the callow corporate group think that pervades nationally.
Clearly, there are listeners, not just for recordings but for things like the New York Philharmonic broadcasts. WQXR also has an excellent internet component, Q2, which already hosted a notable Steve Reich festival and is beginning next week to broadcast a show dedicated to atonal music. I’m at least curious, since the announcement mentions that such non-atonal composers as Messiaen and John Luther Adams will be featured. That starts Monday and will be on the intertubes at 1PM every day. In the meantime, for a taste of what radio can do like nothing else, tune in on-air or via the web for a live concert by pianist Simone Dinnerstein and ACME, tonight at 7PM. They’ll be previewing parts of their Bach concert at Miller Theater Saturday night, as well as performing music by John Cage.
And if you want to venture out into the cold, come join me for some improvised music at I-Beam, near the scenic shores of the Gowanus Canal.