Laurence Glavin replies:
>One thing you're leaving out of the equation is the fact that WGMS is
>not only moving to a different FREQUENCY, but that facility is in a
>somewhat distant suburb, Waldorf, MD 22 miles from the center of DC.
>There's a website called v-soft.com that contains a feature that allows
>one to ascertain the actual signal strength of AM and FM stations in a
>given Zip Code. I entered the zip for the White House (even WGMS's
>watered-down fare may be too advanced for the current incumbent of same,
>but this was a search for data). The FM at 103.5 provides a dominant
>signal but the signal at 104.1, WGMS's new home, hardly registers at
>all. WGMS's reception in the City and environs can be expected to be
>seriously compromised. If it slips below the waves in terms of ratings,
>even this namby-pamby incarnation of classical may disappear eventually.
First, the frequency switch has already occurred, although the Washington
Post stations are not yet online (last I checked, WTOP is simulcasting
for now on its old and new frequencies). There is a second frequency
for WGMS (at 103.9) broadcasting out of Frederick, Maryland that covers
the northern side of town, but it too is a relatively weak signal.
My own, not extensive meanderings about town to date have shown an
adequate WGMS signal from 104.1. It is certainly better than another
(better) classical alternative, WBJC in Baltimore. But some more
extensive travel in the exurbs this weekend may change my judgement.
I wrote the posting hastily, before the implications of the relative
signal strengths were fully realized. I don't doubt that certain areas
will have poor reception, but that wasn't the point I was making anyway--
it was that for once, a classical station didn't go away ENTIRELY, and
actually displaced a pop station. That may be a function of demographics
to some extent--the commercials on WGMS certainly indicate an intended
audience of reasonably high disposable income (i.e., Jaguar commercials
As far as the gutting of classical music broadcasting in DC, that already
took place last year when WETA changed formats. All of which accelerates
the trend toward webcasting, which even WGMS has recognized with its
associated website featuring opera and classical vocal music.