In the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California, there are currently two radio stations regularly offering classical music: KDFC - 102.1 FM, broadcasting from San Francisco and KXPR - 90.9 FM, a PBS station, broadcasting from Sacramento. Of course, the commercial station, KDFC has numerous and highly annoying commercials which tend to spoil the classical ambience.
Radio broadcasts of classical music in the San Francisco Bay Area:
102.1 FM - KDFC: KDFC. KDFC is probably one of the most annoying classical music radio stations on the air; if you stray more than arm's length away from the volume dial on your receiver, it is liable to switch to one of its very frequent and very long commercial breaks. Christmas Eve (12 hours) and Christmas Day are the only commercial-free days on KDFC, and they even manage to spoil that by contiually telling you how "commercial free" they are for 36 hours... Their latest trick is to weave commercials and classical music snippets together to make one unholy combination...
90.9 FM - KXPR: KXPR. broadcasting from Sacramento, this station tends to have a weak-to-nonexistent signal in many parts of the Bay Area. It is operated by Sacramento Public Radio, www.capradio.org.
1510 AM formerly was called K-Mozart and was a classical music station under the call letters: KMZT: KMZT. A couple of years ago, 1510 has been converted into an "oldies" rock and roll music station, but sometimes, late in the evening it reverted to broadcasting classical music. Now it is a repeater station in Emeryville for KPIG radio from Freedom, CA, which is just south of Santa Cruz, and it broadcasts a funky mixture of old rock ' n roll, hillbilly, blue grass, folk and oldies music.
KUSF, 90.3 FM is the radio station of the University of San Francsico, a private university. Sometimes it will sometimes broadcast classical music in the evenings. Their program guide, available at www.kusf.org/ lists the following classical music shows: Monday, 10 PM - 11 PM: Classics without walls, Wednesday, 10 PM - Midnight: Early Music Program, Saturday, 8 PM - 11 PM: The Classical Saivo (?) and Sunday evening: Opera.
KPFA, 94.1 FM, often broadcasts some classical music Sunday mornings. KPFA is listener-sponsored radio station in Berkeley and is part of the Pacifica network.
What are the alternatives? Basically, buying and playing records, cassettes and CDs. However, satellite television offers a good alternative. DirecTV, one of the leading satellite television providers, offers over two dozen audio channels along with its video channels. Unfortunately in early November 2005, DirecTV dumped their original "music choice channel" service with uninterrupted classical music, while the video portion lists the piece, the orchestra and the CD it is from. It its place, they shoehorned in "xm satellite radio" service, which includes intrusive voice-talkover announcements several times each hour. This is a significant degradation of service for those of us who prefer our audio uninterrupted by commercials (or even commercials for xm radio for that matter). See essay below for details.
DirecTV may be contacted at its web site, DirecTV. DirecTV is a satellite television broadcasting service which is superior in many ways to cable TV: more channels, over two dozen free music channels including classical, pop, rock and jazz and a on-screen programming guide and two movie channels without any commercial interruption: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) (Channel 256) and Fox Movie Channel (FMC) (Channel 258).
Xm radio voice-over announcements interrupt their audio classical music channels when mindlessly repeated on DirecTV channels Xm radio announcements spoiling music
As a child, I was forced to listen to live Sunday afternoon broadcasts of the New York Met Opera because my parents loved listening to it. They played it very loud and it boomed thought the house, even through my upstairs bedroom. In 8th grade music class, they also forced us to listen to and learn about classical music. (This was in the middle of the oblivious, conservative 1950s, before schools became more "relevant" to school children). I didn't appreciate classical music or opera then, but I have grown to enjoy classical music as an adult. I particularly enjoy the Baroque style. In the San Francisco Bay Area, classical music disappeared from KQED-FM (88.5) public radio several years ago (replaced by all corporate news (just what we need more of, huh?)).
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Web page last updated on 23 November 2005.