Letter: BPR’s programming switch hits sour note

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Am I living among the yahoos? With no warning, my favorite jazz and classical music programming was changed to a frequency unavailable to listeners in Candler and elsewhere in Western North Carolina to make 88.1 a news channel with the lame excuse that people in the mountains can’t access news. Who are they kidding?

All of us who depended on the music for expanding waves of harmony and well-being to soothe ears already inflamed by too much news are plumb out of luck.

What wrong-minded decision prompted this loss? I’m not supporting Blue Ridge Public Radio anymore, and I urge us all to protest in the way that will be felt by the uncaring producers of this horrendous negligence and indifference toward their supporters.

— Shirley Elias

Editor’s note: Xpress reached out to BPR General Manager Jeff Pope with the letter writer’s points and received the following response: “I’m sorry you disagree with BPR’s decision to swap the 20 frequencies of our two formats — BPR News and BPR Classic — so we could bring more news to more people in WNC. BPR has served loyal listeners for more than 40 years with classical music and news programming. Our belief is that greater access to trusted news and respectful dialogue can create a more informed and connected civil society.

“The ‘Big Switch’ took effect Oct. 31, and BPR robustly messaged it on air and online beginning Oct. 10. We are currently evaluating BPR’s ability to expand its broadcast coverage in areas where service changed. With investment costs topping $200,000, support from dedicated listeners like this reader can make that possible.”


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6 thoughts on “Letter: BPR’s programming switch hits sour note

  1. NFB

    Don’t hold your breath on the promise of “evaluating” the expansion of service that BPR once gave some areas but not longer does. Nearly 4 years ago management of BRP promised to return to local programing for their classical music, saying that the use of a generic national syndication classical music program was for the “interim.”

    This was in July of 2019, and we are still waiting for local classical music programing to replace the souless, Anytown USA “Classical 24.”


  2. indy499

    Get in the 2020s and get a music service.

    Phrases like horrendous negligence when talking about radio programming is just silly.

    • NFB

      BPR uses the public airwaves and are supposed to be a local broadcasting service. The complaint, even if a wee tad on the hyperbolic side as far as syntax goes, remain legitimate.

        • NFB

          BPR continues to play classical music. They simply moved it to another frequency that does not serve people within Buncombe County even though the station itself is located here. Furthermore it has not made good on a promise it made nearly four years ago to hire people for more local programing.

        • NFB

          BPR continues to play classical music, but is ignoring listeners in its home county, which is a significant portion of the audience it is licensing the public airwaves to serve. This goes along with its failure to make good on the promise it made (see link in my original post) to hire staff so that the station would have a local focus rather that spending contributors money for a generic, syndicated program.

          The General Manager uses his response to the letter to solicit more money, but given BPR’s recent history people should be forgiven for not trusting that the money would be sued for the purposes stated.

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