Friday, June 14, 2013

WDAV doesn't sound the same these days

Which, from my point of view, is a great thing: The crackle is gone. Ever since a direct lightning strike whacked the station's primary broadcast antenna in August, the signal inside my house has carried static, no matter how much I fiddled with my internal antenna. That didn't prevent me from listening, especially when I was too lazy to dip into my CD collection, but it was like finding a few frozen crystals at the heart of the ice cream I'd waited for all day. But a new main antenna started broadcasting Tuesday, and I could hear the difference at once.

Until I travel, I don't always remember how lucky we are to have this station. I was in Charleston last month, enjoying opera and chamber music at Spoleto Festival USA. So I searched for a classical music station on the hotel's clock-radio, in order to wake up in the same mood. No luck: I had to jangle myself awake to rock 'n' roll.

Later, I went to ClassicalNet and found a list of classical music stations across the United States   ( It told me that 28 stations east of the Mississippi River carry mostly classical music and news, day and night. Only nine were in the South, two in the Carolinas: WDAV in Davidson and WCPE in Rolesville, outside Raleigh. (The site also listed WFDD in Winston-Salem, but its repertoire is much more mixed.)

WDAV has been breaking ground for as long as I've been listening, from recordings made live at Spoleto to "Concierto." The latter, billed as the nation's first bilingual classical music program (Spanish and English), can now be heard as far away as San Diego and Puerto Rico. Frank Dominguez, who's in his 20th season with the station, has just been named general manager and content director, so I expect even more innovations.

I seldom write about public radio or TV during fund drives, because it seems too bluntly like begging on their behalf. (The latest drive has just ended, though I don't think they'd reject further contributions.) But every so often, I have to give a shout-out to one of the organizations that adds a unique element to Charlotte culture. Check out the programming at, tune in that extra-clear signal, and see if you don't agree.


Steven Pearcy said...

Well, this was exciting stuff. Now, back to my nap.

John said...

It might be, if you bothered to listen. Classical music remains popular after hundreds of years for a reason. It's been part of our culture on many levels. From church music to Saturday morning cartoons, and it inspired the compositions of many of our modern movie soundtrack composers.

Most of today's music will be forgotten in 10 years, but Bach, Beethoven and others will continue to impact our culture for hundreds of years to come!

CharlotteO Moon said...

Hey John,
Classical music may be pleasing to your ears, but you are so out of touch with today's society. Today's music will be forgotten about in ten years? How about the rock music I am still listening to from the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's? Sure John, The Beatles, Led Zepplin, The Who, AC/DC, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, Judas Priest, Ozzy, U2, etc...they will just all fade away. No one cares about Bach, as it is boring and causes snoring.
Your culture and music is a dying breed, as we compare the number radio stations which play classical music versus stations that play rock music.

John, be proud to be one of the few listeners of WDAV. Restore the snore!

Jim Sellers said...

Now you kids just fight it out amongst yourselves.

Wolfgan von Travis said...

This isn't a zero sum game. That's why we have many choices on the radio dial. I appreciated having WDAV as one of those choices when we lived in the area, and miss it now that we don't. There's no need to be a snob about it either way. Listen to what you enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Wait... did I wake up in a time warp? Today's music equals the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who? Van Halen? Does it occur to you that your "today's music" mix does not reach to this millenium, much less today? I think you and John share the same disdain for music of today. Where is your Beyonce, Taylor George, Britney Spears, Kanye, even Black-Eyed Peas? Anything anyone sang on "American Idol"? So, while you dismiss John, you are really no different from he. Think any music from the 2010s will last even the 50 years of the Beatles?
As for your favs, please listen again to The Beatles. Eleanor Rigby is nothing if not symphonic. One of the most intriguing things about the rock music of the era you reference is exactly the orchestral influence. Try listening to Beethovan, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, etc., with a different mindset. If you really like music, it won't stay boring long.

Anonymous said...

I'm writing to join the appreciative radio listeners whose radios are perpetually tuned to WDAV. When it was off the air, I sorely missed its broadcasts. Since they've returned, I've been aware on a daily basis of the increased richness in each day. I find no fault with those people who prefer other types of music, but for me the sound of beautiful classical music enhances my life tremendously.