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A Show's Demise: Two Views

May 04, 1997|Daniel Cariaga | Daniel Cariaga is The Times' music writer

Times change, and so do radio stations. On this, longtime "Opera Show" broadcaster Fred Hyatt, whose program on KPFK-FM (90.7) recently ended after 26 years, and the station's general manager, Mark Schubb, agree. They analyze the demise of the Hyatt show differently, however.

Schubb says the cancellation of the Sunday afternoon program, which last aired March 30, came at the end of a steady decline in listeners to classical music on the Pacifica network's L.A. outlet at the same time that "the other guys--like KKGO, KUSC and KSUN--have clarified and defined their classical-music formats."

All of KPFK's music programs, Schubb says, have been "eclectic for our whole history, only now there is less classical in the mix than ever before."

Another recent casualty of programming changes was Jeannie Pool's Monday noontime "Music of the Americas," which Schubb called "too arcane and challenging." During a recent fund drive, he says, Pool's show netted only 10 calls in a two-hour period.

FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Sunday May 11, 1997 Home Edition Calendar Page 95 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
Music director--Due to an editing error, Paul Salamunovich was incorrectly called the former music director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale in last Sunday's Music News. He has held that post since 1991.

A live, political show from Berkeley, "Living Room," hosted by Larry Bensky, has taken over Pool's time-slot. On Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5, where Hyatt used to preside, two world-music programs, "Cosmic Barrio" and "Sounds of Jamaica," can be heard.

Releasing Hyatt's show from the Sunday schedule, Schubb told The Times, came only after a long period of trying to save it.

"I gave it a year to see if it could find an audience," the general manager recalls. "At one point, we even made the show longer, to see if that would help."

Declining to give specifics, Schubb indicated that "the percentages we have come up in our fund drives and through letters and phone calls" did not justify continuing the show.

"People listen to what they want to hear, not to what they think they should hear," Schubb says. "It's too easy to push that button."

Hyatt, who broadcast his first KPFK opera show in November 1970, says the current state of affairs at listener-sponsored radio is purely financial:

"Dollars dominate. All that matters is coming up with matching funds. As a result, KPFK's original intent--to serve the people--and the noble principles of the Pacifica network have been replaced by concepts of practicality. And now, they're really punching the so-called multicultural thing.

"It's all very cynical."

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BRIEFLY: Krzysztof Penderecki's "Missa" will have its world premiere in July 1998 at the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene, a joint commission of the festival and the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart in Germany to commemorate the 65th birthdays of both Penderecki and festival director Helmuth Rilling. . . .

The Loyola Marymount University Concert Choir will travel to New York for an appearance in Carnegie Hall on June 29, to be conducted by its leader, Mary Breden. Along with an equal number of alumni members, the 100-plus singers are saluting former Los Angeles Master Chorale director Paul Salamunovich, a former Loyola Marymount instructor.

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