South Florida to lose sole classical radio outlet

By Lawrence Budmen


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.

Posted in News

97 Responses to “South Florida to lose sole classical radio outlet”

  1. Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 11:45 am by Irwin Cohen

    and they just had fundraising??? For shame, what a loss! We lost Florida Philharmonic. South Florida is now a cultural wasteland.

  2. Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 12:14 pm by lLuis M Barroso

    I am truly saddened. I used my 89.7 (WLRN) south florida station in my music teaching classes, at home, in the car. My grandson learned to appreciate classical music by listening along with me. I’ve been disabled for a while now & getting up & putting on my radio to 89.7 was almost a simultaneous action. When I heard it had been bought out without any warning at all I thought I had misinterpreted the announcement. I now wake up & still do the action to turn on my classical station only to sigh & realize I no longer have it.
    I feel as if I had been robbed of something very valuable.

    I too will join the crowd to protest & seek for a turnaround. Please let us know. So sorry. I will miss all the wonderful announcers full of so much grace & knowledge. I also feel embarrassed that it was a religious radio station that bought us out. Truly SAD.

  3. Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 12:43 pm by Douglas

    A light has gone out. It is a dark day in South Florida. I’m going into mourning.

  4. Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm by James Waldeck

    I am a subscriber and have enjoyed the programming. The Christian format that has replaced it is good, but I would rather listen to WRMB 89.3 FM which has teaching as well as music.

    I’m sorry that we weren’t warned about the change and that the subscription was wasted.

  5. Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 2:56 pm by Hope

    I also went into mourning, then hysterics. Had first vacation in years, back only to find classical was going. Disheartening, horrifying. Local news updates, event announcements, puff. Like others, I had supported, was a member.

    Then, learned how bluetooth could connect to Internet stations, but with my amp and speakers years old, who knew? Luckily, bluetooth works with my 1993 technology, equipment had been top of the line when new, before bluetooth. Magically with RCA cables connected to mini, maybe headphone port, plus device, my world came back. Not entirely, no local community, but enough. Maybe a search will find local, too.

  6. Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 7:49 pm by jc

    A sad thing indeed but the anti religious comments are sad as well.

  7. Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 9:40 pm by Antje Weber

    88.7 was my life line to cultural enjoyment. I just became a sustaining contributor and when I heard the announcement I froze, my heart shrank and I was stunned. Absolutely no effort was made to educate the listening public of this plan which probably was more of a panic sale. No more David Dubal, Saturday Met, excursions into cinema music… This is not right – there will be a new station and the funding to support it. I am praying.

  8. Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 10:38 pm by William Hardin

    I blame American Public Media for selling us up the river. They came to us for 8 years, begged, pleaded, we gave. They gobbled more stations–expanded faster than they could manage and bit off more than they could chew, and then sold us out with no warning. Bad business decisions, once again!!! I hope they all go under! We all ought to feel violated and taken advantage of.

  9. Posted Jul 19, 2015 at 8:49 am by Carlos Benardos

    It’s a goner. what a shame, countless of garbage music stations, the sublime missing again !!

  10. Posted Jul 19, 2015 at 9:52 am by Javier

    I saw the same in my own country and now here. I can’t believe it, it’s a terrible news, one of my best friend has gone.
    Que rabia, por la mierda!

  11. Posted Jul 19, 2015 at 11:01 am by David S.

    I grew up in South Florida and greatly enjoyed WQAM and WFUN in my younger years, and on occasion, WTMI. As I got older and more refined, I shifted to the Classical Music, because of it’s history and its deep roots in most music we listen to today. It got to the point where all my radios were set on the WTMI Station, with WLRN close behind. Then, I thought someone messed with my truck radio, then thought it was somehow broken, when I couldn’t get my classics, which I listened to exclusively. Seems like Miami took a step backward to the “Cultural Desert” it so much tries to leave behind.

  12. Posted Jul 19, 2015 at 12:48 pm by Michael Harrison

    I also am terribly shocked and disappointed that this area has lost its classical music station. I listened religiously and I’m devastated that there will no longer be any serious music on the radio down here. What a shame. This is terrible and while I am a religious church-goer, I will not listen to that drivel I heard when I first discovered the classical music was gone.

  13. Posted Jul 19, 2015 at 4:26 pm by Lorette Sansone

    I am surprised only that I listened to this station one day and the next day it was gone, without a whisper of good-bye. What I’m not surprised about, as a senior living on only a social security income, is that my measly donation is not even a pittance in the face of 21.7 mil., proving once again that money talks and all else walks. I never took my radio dial off this station. Alas.

  14. Posted Jul 19, 2015 at 9:19 pm by Carol Bradley

    I’m devastated by the loss of this wonderful station. Thought I hit the wrong button in my car, searched up and down to no avail, and gave up. First Sirius tanked their classical pops about a year ago for garbage and now this travesty. Thankful for the Naples Phil, but need the daily solace only good classics can provide. I’m mad and sad!!

  15. Posted Jul 19, 2015 at 9:41 pm by russell lawrence

    so sad……how can I enjoy my runs to the store….back and forth to work……its so quiet now… the car….so very very sad

  16. Posted Jul 20, 2015 at 6:08 am by Eleanore Kjellberg

    To remove the only classical music station from South Florida; is not a Christian thing to do.

  17. Posted Jul 20, 2015 at 8:55 am by Pat

    All I can say is that I’m not planning on listening to this 89.7’s new programming, EVER! Instead, I will play classical music CDs while driving to and from work –which is not the same as I’ll be missing cultural notes, news, and hosts that never drove me crazy with their nonsense chat.

  18. Posted Jul 20, 2015 at 10:46 am by Sandy Chalfin

    I couldn’t believe it! Please, I beg all of you, do something to bring back our incredible music. There are so many of us who learn so much and just enjoy hearing a Beethoven Sonata, Scriabin piece played by Vladimir Horowitz. Not only does this teach us what these geniuses composed but also helps us to impart it to the next generation. All they’ll, it seems to me, remember is the garbage that is being spewed on the networks today.

    I’ve been crying for two days. Please PLEASE, bring our magnificent music back. Would you remove the artifacts from Egypt, Israel, Rome? Why would you destroy our magnificent heritage, which you seem to be doing, this way. We don’t all have computers, ipads, etc. to sit and listen.


  19. Posted Jul 20, 2015 at 11:36 am by patricia cortese

    Bring Back Classical Music….we have donated to keep this music alive…..I hope the new owners will realize the gravity of this situation.

  20. Posted Jul 20, 2015 at 11:44 am by Geraldine

    Shocking news.
    What can we do to get classical back?

  21. Posted Jul 20, 2015 at 12:48 pm by Victor Nahmias

    I cant believe this is happening. No warning at all. I turn on my radio this AM and thought I had the wrong station.I came home and Googled to find out that we do not have a CLASSICAL MUSIC STATION ONCE AGAIN!

    It was a great station and I listened to it doesn’t pay to turn on the radio anymore.Lets hope that we can get another station real soon.

  22. Posted Jul 20, 2015 at 1:07 pm by A. Huete

    So much for the culture of south florida. Dissapointed but not surprised.

  23. Posted Jul 20, 2015 at 8:12 pm by sara krifcher

    Waking up in the morning to the classical music, in our new home in sunny Florida, won`t be so sunny any longer,now that our favorite radio station is gone.

    I am so disappointed!!!

  24. Posted Jul 22, 2015 at 1:12 am by A. Huete

    This is the second time in a short period the public received this disappointing news. Again, no warning. I am sure people will think twice before donating to any worthy cause.

  25. Posted Jul 24, 2015 at 11:46 am by Paula Gervais

    This makes me so angry! I turned it on the other day only to hear this whaling of sounds and thought what happened to my classical music? This is a travesty! Being originally from Boston where classical music THRIVES (because there is such class in New England, unlike Florida), I am disgusted living here! the closest I could get on the radio was classical from Tampa which reception is very spotty in the car! UGH!!

  26. Posted Jul 25, 2015 at 9:26 am by Christos Coulapides

    This is not right. We need one classical music station in Miami. Please
    New York has three. Washington DC has five San Francisco. Calif,has three
    Miami Fla. none ? It is not fair at all
    Christos from Miami beach.

  27. Posted Jul 25, 2015 at 2:41 pm by Ella Levy

    The many comments by others before me have expressed all that lovers of classical music are upset about. Despite all of the constant requests for individual contributions to assure it’s continuation, the sale of the station for over $21 million to a religious entity represents a slap in the face to every former contributing member.

    What they once represented as South Florida’s only Classical Music station has now created a music wasteland for South Florida. Did they wait till they could sell us all out without a bit of remorse? Shame on them and their money grubbing tactics.

  28. Posted Jul 27, 2015 at 8:13 am by Robert Fogel

    I was shocked and heartbroken to tune my radio to preset #1 90.7 FM
    and find no classical music but christian shlock rock.

    Let’s face it. People did not contribute sufficiently. I gave monthly.

    This area is inundated with people of values that do NOT sustain higher forms of music and art. Look at the politicians elected. The sea level rise denied.

  29. Posted Jul 27, 2015 at 3:17 pm by Julia

    I almost cried when I heard the can this be? We need to staart a petition!It is so sad that there is NOTHING available of the radio…

  30. Posted Jul 28, 2015 at 12:29 pm by Salvador Vizcarra

    I found the music therapeutic and I will miss the station. I find it hard to believe a city with this much wealth has no interest in the fine art of music! Sad!

  31. Posted Jul 28, 2015 at 1:37 pm by Leonard Banco

    As a seasonal resident of Miami Beach I was surprised and dismayed to receive a letter from APR this week informing me that they went for the big bucks and sold the station! As a regular contributor, we never received any communication over 8 years other than the regular solicitations from any public radio station. NO indication that demise was imminent.

    Did we ever see an income and loss statement, or hear anything about their annual financial gap? How do we register our protest with the FCC and block this money grab. Yes, APR is not-for-profit, only when they make a profit.

  32. Posted Jul 28, 2015 at 3:08 pm by Al

    Look at the way the people drive down here.

    That tells you everything.

  33. Posted Jul 28, 2015 at 4:26 pm by diye4ever

    Well I wondered what happened untill I found out no more classical music…thats really not fair as theres plenty of pop stations and they had to give up classical that easy…at least theres still 100.3FM that plays big band swing to calm me down from a hards days work…

  34. Posted Jul 29, 2015 at 9:21 am by Ana Perez

    Very sad , we really enjoyed it , it’s a shame 🙁

  35. Posted Jul 29, 2015 at 2:54 pm by Barbara West

    Is this part of the dumbing down of America? Positively shameful!!

  36. Posted Jul 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm by Diane Lee

    I am so sad! This station was such a blessing in the car after a stressful day at work. And I discovered composers and artists I’d never known. This makes me so sad. We the people need classical music to add balance to the diverse musical genres of today. I hope we can get another classical station to serve this area very soon.

  37. Posted Jul 30, 2015 at 1:14 pm by Secretone

    I also feel this loss keenly. But let’s stay positive, people! South Florida is truly a cultural oasis compared to places in Ohio and Illinois, in the Midwest, where I used to live. This is a growing area that is attracting bright and talented people from all over!

  38. Posted Jul 30, 2015 at 3:37 pm by John

    how do we get back the money we sent in the last fund drive we got nothing for our contributions

  39. Posted Aug 12, 2015 at 11:53 pm by Rob

    How awful! I listen online from Boston, it’s like being in South Florida during the winter – and it’s a better station than we have here!

  40. Posted Aug 19, 2015 at 5:53 pm by Jill Panvini

    To be honest I was never satisfied with our South Florida Classical Music Station. They over played guitar music (somebody must have contributed their guitar music library) and underplayed opera (except for the Met on Saturday afternoons). I could never get a clear signal even though I live in Ft. Lauderdale. Moreover there were the constant fund raising events. Feel sorry for the people who just contributed and for what? They are now without a classical music station.

    But there is an alternative at least for home listening. Go online and tune into a classical music station in some other city. Doug Fox’s Opera show airs on Tuesday nights on WMNR Connecticut. There’s WMHT in Albany and WQXR in NYC.

  41. Posted Aug 24, 2015 at 12:17 am by Isai

    Horrible event for Florida! It was the only source of the Classical music. Loss of great programs.

  42. Posted Oct 12, 2015 at 3:29 pm by Daniel Hao

    As a long time Florida resident I was deeply saddened by the loss of Classical South Florida, Classical Music has always been an asset to any society fortunate to have such a station devoted exclusively to classical music, it is as much about history as it is about music.

    It literally tells a story instrumentally when one listens carefully, music in its purest form. As a catholic I know catholicism has always had a close relationship with classical music and it’s composers.

    Tragically American society has become shaped by music that is vulgar full of sex and sexual depravity and swear words, and you have tens of thousands of radio stations devoted to that format, and we cannot even have just one classical music station?

    What does this say for American society, its culture its peoples? Classical music was once described as audio poetry of the heart and soul. I pray one day it makes its return to a regular South Florida radio station ASAP!! I will support it anyway I can

  43. Posted Oct 21, 2015 at 8:12 am by Joyce Bacharach

    Will there be any broadcasting of Live from the Met?

  44. Posted Nov 26, 2015 at 11:17 pm by j benoit

    You cannot beat big money and jesus!

  45. Posted Nov 29, 2015 at 3:26 pm by Maria del Carmen Dominguez

    How depressing! Awful! Miami and the rest of South Florida will be deprived of the delight of listening to classical music at home, the office or in the car. Classical music is nourishing to the soul and mind. Classical music… the best tool to impart
    cultural upbringing to any community. A true tragedy for South Floridians. Very, very sad.
    It is useless now to turn on the radio to listen loud noise except when listening to Radio Paz 830 AM limited to catholic Hispanics only which is unfair to the rest of South Floridians.
    A total shame and scandal!

    music enhances lives through finess and peace. Classical music is the greatest tool forccultural upbringing to a community

  46. Posted Jan 01, 2016 at 7:36 pm by Sally Flash

    Just got down here and tuned to the classical music station only to find it gone!!! Can’t beliee it, and am suspicious when someone says they aren’t making enough money. In Ohio, the university stations carry the FM classical, so maybe this could be done here?

  47. Posted Dec 25, 2020 at 3:29 pm by David Ortiz

    Five years later, there appears to be no comments expressing concerns over the absences of classical 24 in South Florida’s airwaves. Is it because most folks were content after classical 24 found a new home in WLRN HD2?
    I have recently been attracted to classical music (now that I am in graduate school at FIU) and I am shocked that I just purchased a portable radio and cannot find any classical music over “standard” AM/FM bands.
    If you have access to HD radio on your car, or you use an app, great, you found a way to stay tuned. But, from a social perspective there is now a major barrier to accessing classical music here in SFL: HD technology. On the other hand, I do not need to remind anyone of the amount of garbage that is being broadcasted on the radio, yet, not a single station can find the financial means to be able to provide classical music over AM/FM analog making the purchase of another technology necessary (and making most inexpensive radios silent on classical).
    I felt solidarity reading all these comments regarding the disbelieve of what had occurred; five years ago. But I am curious as to how folks now feel regarding classical music only accessible through HD (hybrid digital) radio only or if “everyone” simply adapted to the new technology and moved on (as history seems to always depict).

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