Last month WETA-FM announced that it would replace much of its classical music programming with news broadcasts [Style, May 26]. Back in the early 1970s, WGMS went through a phase of changing from the "good-music station" to the bad talk station. Protests to the management were unavailing.
Fortunately, I am a former advertising salesman and know where the bottom line is. One day I noted every sponsor's name, then either phoned or wrote a note to the executive in charge of customer relations, pointing out how the talk programs could turn off buyers of the company's products. The results were quick and gratifying.
Try it some time. Remember -- the sponsors, not the station managers.
HELEN LILLIE MARWICK
WETA has been the beginning of a new day for me since I moved to Alexandria in 1976.
It has served as a pleasant call to start the new day at 6:30 a.m. and to encourage me to exercise in bed. I am 86 years of age and have arthritis, and I am recovering from the heart attack I had four years ago.
I loved hearing Rachmaninoff, Mozart and other great composers while following doctor's orders to exercise.
WETA had the reputation for outstanding taste. Now it is in the same class as all the other stations with constant talk, talk, talk. No doubt this will affect its financial status, for many residents in my apartment complex feel the same as I do. I hope WETA reconsiders this sad change.
MARTHA S. HASTSOCK
Bravo for printing the recent letters of Jack Goldberg and Robert Herring concerning the drastic change in WETA's programming ["Close to Home, June 13]. If Mr. Goldberg declares "let the well-behaved revolution begin," count me in.
My wife and I were longtime WETA contributors and volunteers, delighted to answer the phones and take contributions from faithful listeners during fund-raising drives. We did this because we believed in the station, in its efforts to separate itself from the garrulous rhetoric and brash, trendy music that deluges Washington's radio waves these days. WETA was the area's one unpolluted bastion of classical music, considerably more than WGMS, which is not only replete with commercials but with announcers who are in love with their voices striving to be personalities.
To foster Jack Goldberg's "well-behaved revolution," we have not only resigned as WETA listeners but also as volunteers and contributors. With news and commentaries blanketing the Washington area from so many sources, we will never understand why WETA opted to join the crowd rather than remaining unique.
And isn't it amazing that in an area that applauds itself on being a vibrant cultural center of symphony, opera and theater, its one authentic classical music station would not have capitalized on this great benefit?
Let me get this straight. WETA-FM's decision to replace classical music with "Morning Edition" is greeted by 1,350 calls, letters and e-mails protesting the switch and only 25 favoring it, yet the station is happy because no corporate underwriters have pulled out and "several potential underwriters expressed interest" [Style, June 15] -- and this is non-commercial radio?
Kind of makes you wonder about underwriters who are attracted by a diminishing number of listeners. Maybe, instead, the underwriters should look into WGMS or WBJC, where classical music greets the former WETA listeners and contributors.