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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

OT: CPRN Vanishes

The Classical Public Radio Network went off the air today, its pieces absorbed into KUSC and KVOD. Former affiliates like KUAR are now picking up classical programming feeds from other sources, such as American Public Media's Classical 24. Among the many reasons why they're pulling the plug is it wasn't pulling its own weight, though they knew that up front:
But [KUSC President Brenda] Barnes acknowledges that CPRN had recognized the decline in classical music’s prominence on public radio. CPRN’s carriage grew bit by bit since its launch, but a recent NPR study found news programming eclipsing classical in total hours on public radio stations for the first time, according to Barnes.

“That particular trend doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon,” she says. “The growth opportunities for classical broadcasts just aren’t there.”

Meanwhile, many listeners are turning to iPods, web streams and other online services for music, which in turn fuels station decisions to trim more airtime for tunes and add news.Barnes recently asked business students at the University of Southern California how many listened to classical music on the Web and was surprised when half the class raised hands, she says. One student said, “If you’re serious about the Internet, you need to develop something that’s going to grow with me.”

“That was one of those moments when I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, he’s right,’” Barnes says. “And how the heck do we do that? All of that is leading to our wanting to understand this better.”

KUSC and KVOD will continue with original programming, but that will make them one of a fairly small minority of classical radio stations that do so.

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