In a reversal of the usual state of affairs, Washington DC's sole current
classical music station (WGMS-FM) will soon switch frequencies and replace
a rock station.
The reason for this unusual turn of events seems to be a rather complicated
case of FM-band musical chairs. The Washington Post has announced that
it will operate a new radio station beginning in March 2006, as part
of a network owned and operated by Bonneville International Corp. The
Washington Post station is also rumored to be the future broadcast home
of Washington Nationals baseball games, as well as offering news and
similar features from the newspaper and its staff.
The Post radio station will broadcast from two frequencies on the AM
and FM scales currently occupied by Washington's 24 hour news station,
WTOP. The latter, also owned by Bonneville, will move to the FM frequency
currently used by sister station WGMS, a commercial classical music
station known for spinning "bleeding chunks" of works (though some parts
of their day are devoted to broadcasts of entire instrumental compositions--
but no vocals).
But instead of the more usual instance of the classical station going
away entirely, Bonneville has announced that WGMS will now move a slight
distance down the dial to a spot currently occupied by rock station WWZZ
(Z-104), which it seems will be the sacrificial lamb in this wavelength
So for once, a (presumably redundant) rock format will give way
to classical music, which against all odds retains a foothold in the
Washington radio market. No one is saying what the NPR stations here
are thinking of all this.....