WWFM Enters Philadelphia Market with HD Signal
WWFM The Classical Network has returned its programming to the Philadelphia market, bringing the Central Jersey station within reach of more people than any classical music station in the U.S.
The expansion via digital radio brings Philadelphia music lovers a fully digital, full-time classical music station on 89.5 HD2. This follows a similar expansion into the New York market this past December through a partnership with WKCR-FM, the legendary student station at Columbia University. Listeners with a digital radio can now hear The Classical Network from Delaware through western Fairfield County in Connecticut.
With music education as the heart of its mission, WWFM is dedicated to presenting the full breadth and depth of classical music. “Most classical stations present the ‘greatest hits’ of the past 300 years,” says WWFM General Manager Peter Fretwell. “WWFM covers 1,600 years of music, including the Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance eras, opera, and even Broadway and movie scores.”
The extended reach will allow the station to expand its programming, Fretwell promises. Partnerships are already underway with the Curtis Institute of Music and the Chamber Music Society of Philadelphia to broadcast concerts on WWFM. Similar partnerships have led to regular appearances on WWFM by New York ensembles, including musicians from the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music. A new series is planned to air concerts from the 92nd Street Y. Many of these concerts feature recent works and performances by young musicians – tomorrow’s classical music stars.
“There are huge areas of classical music that are no longer explored on the radio,” Fretwell said. “HD presents an opportunity for classical and jazz music stations nationwide to reinvigorate themselves by offering programming that is unavailable elsewhere.” While only 22% of U.S. radio stations offer HD broadcasts, more than 90 percent of the U.S. population live in metropolitan regions that offer HD signals. “WWFM is ideally located to pick up thousands of new listeners,” Fretwell says.
The Classical Network can already be heard throughout Central New Jersey, along the Jersey Shore, in eastern Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley area via analog and HD signals, and in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, via satellite transmission. The station also reaches listeners across the globe through the Internet.
Fretwell believes in the future of digital radio. “It’s clear that people are open to buying HD radios if they have a reason to do so. We expect that as word spreads about the incredible quality of the HD listening experience, and the diverse programming they can expect on WWFM, people will buy them. We envision this as a 10 to 20- year progression, not unlike the long acceptance curve for FM. It started in the late 1930s, and FM did not really begin gaining dominant market share until the 1970s.” HD radios and tuners are available in tabletop, stereo component, and car models from many electronic retailers and on-line sites.
Fretwell reports that the current base of listeners is enthusiastic about the station’s expansion. “Those who love classical music want to spread it. They are excited to see us grow.”
WWFM is a full-time classical music station operating from the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College. WWFM also operates JazzOn2, a 24/7 jazz station that can be heard on its digital stations and online at JazzOn2.org.
More information on WWFM and its programs can be found at wwfm.org.