WABE has been one of the few remaining multiple format NPR News stations. As stations in almost every major market have dropped blocks of music programming to focus on news, WABE finally announced late last week they will be dropping classical music between Morning Edition and ATC. The changes will occur around the end of 2014.
WABE has considered changing daytime weekday programming for several years. The entry of Georgia Public Radio into Atlanta via WRAS seems to have ignited the changes at WABE. Earlier this year, GPB crafted a part-time local marketing agreement with college rock station WRAS to carry GPB’s news programming from 5:00am until 7:00pm. WRAS 88.5 goes back to rock from 7:00pm until 5:00am.
Since GPB’s change, the impact of WRAS on WABE seems more psychological than actual. The October Nielsen Audio data shows WABE has 7 times the weekly cumulative persons than WRAS. Both stations cover Atlanta with dominant signals. But, both remain part time news stations.
WABE will replace morning classical music with a new two hour arts and culture talk show hosted by Lois Reitzes. Her current classical program, Second Cup Concerts, has long been a pledging dynamo for WABE since 1979.
A key question is whether WABE has helped or hurt itself by not going all the way: embracing news 24/7. That would have been a substantial challenge to GPB. WABE’s move might confuse listeners and GPB can take advantage it by expanding its LMA with WRAS to full time news.
WABE Classical Music Host
GPB Vice President of Radio