South Florida to lose sole classical radio outlet
South Florida will soon be without a classical radio station. Once again.
Minnesota-based American Public Media is selling their Classical South Florida radio stations to Education Media Foundation, a California religious broadcaster for $21.7 million, according to reports from Current, a public radio and media news website, and WLRN, Miami’s public radio news station. There has been no announcement of the sale on the stations’ airwaves or on its Classical South Florida website.
APM acquired WKCP Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (with a translator station in the West Palm Beach area) in 2007, followed by purchasing WPBI (a news station) in Palm Beach County in 2011 and WNPS Ft. Myers-Naples in 2012. According to Current, APM has posted losses of $1.2 million dollars in 2010 and $3 million in 2012. For the fiscal year ending June 30, the station group had a loss of 1.69 million.
For most of its short history, the stations have primarily carried the lightweight Classical 24 syndicated service as well as signature APM programs Performance Today and Symphonycast and the venerable Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. More recently, broadcasts from Lyric Opera of Chicago, Carnegie Hall and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival have been added to the schedule.
The website Radio Ink says a letter of intent to sell will be filed with the FCC on Tuesday with a switch to religious programming coming as soon as Wednesday. This will leave South Florida without a classical radio station and deprive classical music organizations and presenters of an on air advertising source where they can reach their desired audience.
The South Florida radio market has a history of classical radio stations changing formats. In 2001 longtime commercial classical station WTMI changed to a pop format, shortly after being purchased by Cox Broadcasting. In 2002 AM station WKAT briefly attempted a lite classical format but that effort was doomed by poor audio quality, a limited record library and, initially, on-air hosts who were neither knowledgeable about or very interested in the classical genre.
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Sat Jul 11, 2015
at 2:53 pm