For the First Time in History, a Classical Radio Station Takes Top Place in its City
It might just be a fluke—but the details tell me this trend could spread
A few days ago, Frank Dominguez of WDAV, a classical radio station in Charlotte, sat down to have lunch at his computer. He opened an email with the latest radio ratings from Nielsen. But what he saw left him dumbfounded.
“I found that I had to really focus and look closely to make sure I wasn’t misreading what I saw,” he explained, “because I was completely unprepared for what the ranking showed.”
His tiny station was now the dominant player in Charlotte. As general manager of the station, Dominguez knew this had never happened before in the city. The next day he learned that it was an even larger achievement. As he proudly announced on the station’s blog, “this was the first time a classical music station has ever led its market in the modern era of radio ratings.”
“If I were managing a major music media business, I’d send a whole team of market researchers and analysts off to Charlotte to dig deeply into this unexpected situation. For them the details are ominous.”
Even if you don’t live anywhere near Charlotte, North Carolina, this is news worth studying—at least if you’re interested in music and culture, or just changing demographics. And there are reasons to believe (as I outline below) that something similar might start happening in other cities too.
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