I just looked at the channel lineup of Sirius Satellite Radio. They have three classical channels: Opera/Classical Vocals, Classical Pops, and Traditional Classical. 100% Commercial Free, they say.
OK, no commercials. How about commentary? How about radio personalities that inform and entertain, tell you stories about the music you hear?
And narrowly defined as they appear to be, do any of these channels have room for something unexpected? Say, a little Kurt Weill, a little Heitor Villa-Lobos? Astor Piazzolla? A surprise piece of Canadian folk music wedged between two traditional classical pieces, such as Norm Hacking singing about orange cats?
These satellite channels, just like the CBC’s own new Internet channels, seem nothing more than glorified playlists to me. If I wanted a randomized playlist, I have several hundred CDs to choose from… lovely music, all of it, but who will show me something new?
Not the CBC, not anymore. Yesterday, while I was driving somewhere in town, I was listening to CBC Radio 2, as my car radio is still tuned to 103.3 MHz out of habit I guess. What I heard was some hapless, untalented artist’s barely recognizable rendering of an old Abba song. I grieve for a world-class radio station that has been put to premature death by mediocre bureaucrats engaged in cultural vandalism.