Consider the imminent killing of legendary classical radio station KXTR aka Radio Bach is a promise broken…
That’s because as former local Entercom boss Bob Zuroweste stated in the past, Entercom founder Joe Field "promised" to keep the classical music format on in Kansas City when he blew up the station on FM and moved it to 1660 AM where it resides today.
On death row.
As the guy at the helm when Entercom first assassinated classical music here, Zuroweste’s take on the company’s plans to drop classical on 1660 and replace it with – zzzzzzzzzzz – business news and Mike Shanin:
"Well, the company assassinated it, not me, " Zuroweste laughs. "I was just the henchman. I’m the one who had to do the act, but I agreed with it because classical music wasn’t appealing to advertisers and the demo that appealed to advertisers and there were not a lot of listeners. And that happened all over the country. So it was a good move to put The Buzz on and it was a success."
Zuroweste declined to revisit the subject, but several sources confirm it was Entercom boss and founder Joe Field – a classical violinist – who was credited at the time with saving classical radio in Kansas city by ordering that KXTR be moved to 1660 AM more than a dozen years ago.
Entercom blew up KXTR in the year 2000 and following months of controversy in when even KCPT Channel 19 considered picking up the format rolled it back out on 1660 AM.
It wasn’t much, but it was something, a promise from a corporate chiefain that classical music would always remain a part of the fabric of Kansas City radio.
"Because we wanted to have some exposure for classical music listeners," Zuroweste says. "It wasn’t because of the controversy, it was because we wanted to give the classical lsiteners something."
As for the pending move from classical to business on 1660, "I think it’s a good move," Zuroweste says. "Because listening to music on AM makes no sense."
Will the controversy arise again now that Entercom is breaking its word and taking classical off the air?
"Yeah, it was a controversy when KXTR had a 2 or 3 share back then," Zuroweste says. "But it’s been less than a share or half share for quite some time now. I mean, they lost 80 percent of their audience when they moved to AM."
And the breaking of Entercom’s promise?
"Shift happens," Zuroweste says. "Nothing is forever, all good things come to an end – that’s life. Besides, I’m not there anymore. At the time I was speaking for the company, but obviously it’s out of my hands now.
"I mean, if somebody wants to listen to classical music in Kansas City they can find it. There are so many other alternative forms, whether it’s on your computer, your phone."
Back when Zuroweste pulled the plug on KXTR FM, he confirmed that his wife was highly irrate about it.
"She didn’t kick me out of bed, she locked me out of the bedroom," he says. "But that was tongue in cheek. Hey, all of my kids learned to play classical piano – every one of them. And my son plays classical guitar. But classical music just isn’t commercially viable anymore."