Reader Response: Orchestra Radio

I have to say that I can always count on my readers to help further my education. Many thanks to reader Herb in Texas for writing in with a pointer to the situation at Seattle’s KING-FM. Herb believes that the radio station is collectively run by the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera. I have not been able to discover any further details yet. As of Wednesday morning the URL to KING-fm was unavailable and it was too early in Seattle for the Symphony to pick up their phones. However, I’m anxious to learn more about the situation…

I also received another email from Denise Ball, Producer/Manager for
the CBC Radio Orchestra. Although their situation is not quite like an
orchestra owning a radio station, it does provide some insight into a
different type of relationship between an orchestra and a radio station.

Arts Journal blogger Andrew Taylor
wrote in to say "Alan Brown, who authored the Knight study on classical
music, has made similar suggestions about orchestras materially
participating in local radio stations (ownership is the top of the food
chain, there are lots of intermediate ways to be involved). He says
that if their mission is REALLY to engage a broad public in the beauty
and power of classical orchestral performance, they are severely
limiting their impact by focusing solely on live concert hall

I agree with Andrew’s assessment and think that if orchestras want
to stop pandering for grant money to assist with their outreach
programs, they’ll need to better utilize existing sources like radio

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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