An American Symphony Orchestra League survey confirms that classical music holds
a shrinking share of radio airtime -- a source of concern to orchestras, which
rely on classical stations to cultivate audiences. The survey, sent in April to
orchestras in the United States and Canada with budgets above $1.5 million,
covered several broadcast- and webcast-related questions, and garnered a high
response rate of 54 percent (62 of 115 orchestras). Some results:
27 percent reported having lost a classical radio station in their area over the last five years. Most were commercial stations licensed in the countryÕs largest cities, reflecting the high demand for frequencies in major radio markets. Only one respondent noted a classical-station gain.
77 percent reported at least one full-time classical signal reaching their area, and 46 percent specified two or more options for classical listening. Orchestras located in less densely populated regions were more likely to have multiple classical services than orchestras in large cities.
86 percent of respondents broadcast some or all of their concerts on one or more stations.
Only eleven respondents syndicate a national series of concerts -- a significant reduction from previous years. However, many orchestras reach a national audience by contributing concert material to two National Public Radio programs: the new weekly SymphonyCast and the daily Performance Today.
Four respondents report having webcast their concerts, but another seven note that their concerts reach the Internet audience through streamed radio-station signals.