The Playgoer: NY Theatre on the Radio

Custom Search

Friday, April 22, 2011

NY Theatre on the Radio

WQXR, New York's last remaining classical music station, used to be owned by the NY Times, who sold it to public radio a couple of years ago. At the time I wondered what the impact might be on the theatre scene since the station was a prime venue for radio advertisements, given the overlap in arts audiences.

Well it turns out my fears were unfounded since, being a public broadcasting station, there are still plenty of commercials--they're just read by the announcer instead of produced by an ad company. ("This program is made possible by...") And I've noticed plenty of theatre productions--both commercial and nonprofit, Broadway and Off--doing some sponsoring to get their ad copy read on the air.

Now the station is going even further and producing a weekly feature: "Around Broadway" with guest star...NY Times' Charles Isherwood! I guess you can take the WQXR out of the Times, but you can't take the Times out of WQXR, huh.  (Ben Brantley used to do a very similar feature on the old QXR--reading abridgements of his reviews--along with lots of other Times reporters.)

I must say, though... given the state of classical music these days as a mostly nonprofit enterprise (nonprofit in live performance, but commercial in recording) I'm pretty disheartened by their Broadway-centric approach to this. Rather than actually celebrate the arts--and forge some "strength in numbers" with nonprofit stage companies in these days of arts funding cuts, not to mention nonprofit radio--it ends up looking like they just want in on some of that Broadway Brand buzz. Indeed, the two installments so far have focused on Broadway shows and the logo is a photo of Patti LuPone in Gypsy.

So while I'm glad I hope they think about renaming the show or at least expanding the focus to help further the sense of an NYC nonprofit community.  Or are they all in too much desperate competition with each other to do so!

You can listen to past and future installments on the site, if not live on the radio on Wednesday mornings at 9:30.

No comments: