US loses another classical station

US loses another classical station


norman lebrecht

June 10, 2021

The owner of Northeast Indiana Public Radio, known as Classical 94.1 WBNI, has sold it to a Gospel station for $350,000.

At that price, if he’d offered more widely, a slippedisc consortium might have bought it.


  • SD’s chief diversity officer says:

    Why would we lament this?? Classical music is the music of patriarchy, colonialism, slavery and whyte supremacy. I want to rid the world of this poison.

  • Alan says:

    Music radio is all but dead. It’ll be a corpse in 20 years.

  • MWnyc says:

    That’s a bit backwards, Norman — Northeast Indiana Public Radio is the owner. It’s a not-for-profit entity that operates (until next month) Classical 94.1 WBNI as well as the NPR affiliate station 89.1 WBOI (“NPR News and Diverse Music”).

    It’s analogous to New York Public Radio being the owner of WNYC AM and FM (NPR news/talk) and WQXR (classical).

    The new owner of 94.1 FMwill be Taylor University Broadcasting Inc., the radio arm of an evangelical Christian university about 50 miles from Fort Wayne, Indiana (where thje station is located). Taylor University already has a “contemporary Christian” station (meaning country-music-inflected songs about loving Jesus); the new station, with the tagline “Rhythm and Praise”, will air African-American gospel music.

    Notable (and sad) fact: the $350,000 sale price is just under one-fifth of what Northeast Indiana Public Radio paid for the license for the 94.1 FM frequency in 2002.

  • Herbie G says:

    “Music radio is all but dead. It’ll be a corpse in 20 years.” Yes, and Covid is caused by 5G mobile phone masts.

    If I select the ‘Classical’ genre on my Internet radio, it lists more than 550 clasical music stations alone, let alone all the other genres listed. But if Alan says it’s dead, then he must be right because he probably got it from the Internet. Or was it a dope-induced dream, like Coleridge’s Kubla Khan?

    • Internet “radio” is not radio.

      • Bill says:

        Oh, how is that? I get the same content when I listen to a local classical station on the Fm radio in the car or on my iPad once I get home (ignoring the slight delay for the internet stream). Works much better for the many stations around the world outside of typical broadcast range, too!

      • Peter San Diego says:

        Do people still listen to old-fashioned radio??

  • Patrick says:

    This is not surprising from the state that gave us the slobbering bootlicker Mike Pence.

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    Perhaps all we need is a handful of actual radio stations that focus on Classical music.

    With the advent of streaming, satellite radio, and internet access, I have plenty of choices that offer me high class listening.

    A small backwater radio station is not something the world needs.

    • Herbie G says:

      “Perhaps all we need is a handful of actual radio stations that focus on Classical music.”

      Spot on, Old Man in the West!

      The BBC has turned its back on ‘Culture’ and it’s losing its over-50 audience hand over fist. It’s devoted mostly to entertainment, celebs and getting more ‘yoof’ on board. Nobody has awakened the BBC suits to reality. They simply don’t understand that masses of younger people are not interested in the BBC. They (and many older ones) have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Twitter, Zoom and Skype to entertain them.

      By abandoning one generation’s needs for those of another, they have forsaken any right to demand an exorbitant universal licence fee from all those owning a TV, which can provide literally hundreds of freeview stations and, if one pays a small price for a satellite dish and receiver, hundreds more freesat stations without having to pay Sky’s equally ludicrous fees.

      Opening a new broadcasting station in the UK would be fiendishly expensive so what we need is to re-kindle the spirit of Radio Caroline. In its day, it was set up to provide pop music, which the BBC did not cater for. We now need to do something similar for Classical music – for audiences with reasonable attention spans, as did Radio 3 in the pre-woke, pre-dumbed-down days.

      Fortunately, we don’t need a rusty old boat anchored outside our territorial waters to achieve that – we can start by streaming a new station on the Internet. I am looking into the possibilities of getting this done and I have already spoken to one or two well-known names and some others who would support this. If NL wanted to come in on this too – so much the better. I am putting together a prospectus and looking at the possibilities of sponsorship and working out the business model and the technicalities involved, which will take some time. But it’s time once again for the BBC to be challenged for failing to provide for what I think is a huge potential audience – and unlike Radio Caroline, a streamed station would provide world-wide access.

      What do you guys out there think?

      • Hmus says:

        You don’t seem to realize that “the internet” translates to “paywalled” because somewhere along tha line an internet provider has to be PAID for your access. It isn’t like a radio that one can just buy once and use. People who cannot afford exorbitant data plan prices on their portable devices or internet ‘radio’ subscriptions in their car – not to mention not affording a car to start with – are excluded.

        Even 50 years ago in the US, if I had not been able to stumble upon classical music by accident, by turning a radio dial, I may never have encountered it early enough in life to understand it.

  • Monsoon says:

    Unless they were making original recordings of local concerts, I don’t see what was lost.

    Classical music radio stations that just broadcast commercial recordings are obsolete in the streaming/youtube era.

  • NYMike says:

    Yep – what the US needs is another “christian music” station burping out inane harmony and lyrics for its ignorant folk.

    • Old Man in the Midwest says:

      It’s actually going to be a Buddhist station focusing on Throat Singers and gamelans.

      There will be daily utterances from the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra.

      Chanting at 9pm Central Time US.


    • E Rand says:

      Bigot. Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Stravinsky, Mozart, all were deep believers who wrote Christian music. Were they ignorant too? Hard to imagine carrying the burden of carrying such hatred for so many of your brethren.

      • bgn says:

        “Christian music” stations in the USA generally don’t broadcast Bach, Bruckner et al. Once in the salad days of usenet (mid-1990s) I encountered a proprietor of a Christian music record shop online–he was posting bog-standard complaints about the decadence of current classical-music culture– and asked him whether he carried Bach’s music. He answered that in his parts there was no demand for classical choral music.

  • I’m surprised that went for so little, but it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, population-wise. Must have been impossible for pledge drives to cover the costs.

    Wikipedia notes…” The classical programming will continue online at, via the WBNI mobile app, on WBOI’s HD radio service (Channel 2), and via smart speakers and mobile devices.”

  • PFmus says:

    Just what the US needs – another station spewing religious enmity to a population already deprived of educational resources.

  • Rickst29 says:

    Although ‘Internet Radio’ should be a high-quality alternative, most Classical Internet stations broadcast in MP3, at extremely low bit rates. In my own city, the public radio station sounds WORSE over Internet than it sounds over analogue FM.

    If radio stations want to attract classic listeners, they need to stream at higher bit rates (e.g. 320 kbps instead of 128 kbps) or they need to use better quality codecs (e.g., OPUS instead of MP3). Or both! MP3 is over 30 years old, analog FM broadcast is over 70 years old. We “audiophiles” have long since moved on from that stuff. For the case of OPUS (or older OGG, or even AAC) replacing MP3 it’s mostly software, and it should be easy to upgrade.

    I contribute to a high-quality ‘Classical’ Internet station more than 10,000 miles from my house, and feel that others should do the same. I find it impossible to listen to ANY USA-based “classical public radio station” over Internet, because they all use MP3 at 128kbps or even less. That noise hurts my ears.

  • SlippedChat says:

    There is a 24-hour U.S. classical music broadcaster, based in North Carolina and available on the Internet at

    There is no paywall, because no subscription, or any other payment for that matter, is explicitly required. Instead, the station regularly reminds people that it doesn’t receive government funding and is “listener-supported,” and it has on-air fundraising drives several times each year.

    Quite a few of the announcers are volunteers, enthusiastic and sincere, although a few are still prone to occasional pronunciation slip–ups (LOO-chee-ah-no PAW-ver-ROT-ee, etc.).

    Saturday evenings (eastern U.S. time) are listener requests, as are many Fridays. Sometimes there are “theme” weekends (emphasis on piano, or Russian music, or film scores, etc.). A sacred music program on Sunday mornings. A “Monday Night at the Symphony” featuring recordings by a single orchestra. (A few days ago it was the London Symphony. Later in June, the Philadelphia, Concertgebouw, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.) On Thursday evenings there’s recorded opera, hosted by a knowledgeable man who is himself a singer, and the station also carries the Saturday afternoon Metropolitan Opera broadcasts in season.

    I find it especially useful when traveling.

    I have no connection with this station other than as a listener. Just passing the information along in case others here are interested.

  • Damien Wilson says:

    While ‘classical music’ was written by composers during the time of Colonial rule, it is not in my view any champion of the ugly and invidious racism of past cultures. To associate this music with slavery, racism, misogyny, et. al., is a poor and entirely wrongheaded view of history and of the arts in general. Must we hate Michaelangelo because of the ugliness of the Medicis? Does Beethoven’s “All Men are Brothers” suffer because he didn’t also say “…Men and Women?” Classical music will not die; orchestra halls may dim, yet as the graphic arts, the music’s beauty will shine for those who take the time to listen and discover its eternal beauty.

    Damien Wilson, Madison, WI

    • Saxon says:

      Damien writes: “While ‘classical music’ was written by composers during the time of Colonial rule”

      Huh? What colonies did Saxony have when Bach wrote his music? Or did Austria have when Mozart wrote his? The “colonial era” is from the late 19th century until after the middle of the 20th century.