WCLV Going Non-Commercial

Classical WCLV/104.9 Lorain, the Cleveland market’s commercial classical music station, is joining its new sister stations in noncommercial land beginning January 1, 2013.

The status change is part of the transfer of WCLV to Ideastream, owner of public radio outlet WCPN/90.3 and PBS affiliate WVIZ/25. WCLV moved its studios to the Idea Center before that announcement was made.

Cleveland Classical Radio, with management led by WCLV president/co-founder Robert Conrad (an OMW reader, by the way), has been operating WCLV for Ideastream after the public broadcasting outlet took over the station’s license. (Ideastream took over Radio Seaway, Inc., the station’s licensee.)

The application to transfer WCLV to Ideastream included an assurance that the public broadcaster would continue to operate the station as a classical music operation.

The move will allow WCLV under Ideastream to follow a path well traveled by classical music stations elsewhere that have converted to noncommercial operation…among them, New York City’s WQXR, which (after a frequency change) transferred to the ownership of public broadcaster WNYC.

It would presumably also allow WCPN to add WCLV as an HD2 sidechannel, though we know of no such plans in the works at this early stage. WCPN currently operates in HD Radio, but has no sidechannels at this time.

In a late night edition of Press Release Theatre, the official release on the WCLV move to noncommercial status is reprinted below…


WCLV 104.9FM, Northeastern Ohio’s Classical Music station, will begin operating as a noncommercial station on January 1, 2013. The audience will continue to enjoy familiar WCLV programming with familiar voices presenting the greatest music of the past five hundred years and the rich arts and cultural resources of today.

With the transition, WCLV is following commercial classical music radio stations in New York City, Boston and Seattle that have successfully converted to a noncommercial format.

WCLV is now affiliated with ideastream, the multiple media public service organization that operates noncommercial stations WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN. Studios for all three stations are at Idea Center® at PlayhouseSquare.

The transition will allow generous businesses and organizations to support the work of WCLV, and will give individuals who appreciate hearing classical music on the radio the opportunity to provide support through donations large and small.

“For five decades, WCLV has served as a focal point and megaphone for Northeast Ohio’s arts and culture resources and activities,” said Robert Conrad, WCLV’s President and Co-Founder. “This change to a noncommercial format will allow the station to continue serving our audience and to grow and evolve, much as our region’s vibrant arts and cultural assets are evolving and growing today.”

“The Northeast Ohio community identifies arts and culture as a primary asset of the region,” said Jerry Wareham, President and CEO of ideastream. “Because of the extraordinary generosity and good work of co-founder Robert Conrad, his partner Richard Marschner and their colleagues, the citizens of the region will continue to benefit from the availability of classical music and arts and cultural programming on the radio,” he continued.

Established in 1962, WCLV has gained an international reputation as a leading classical music broadcaster and producer and distributor of culturally oriented programming.

In 1965, WCLV began the Cleveland Orchestra radio broadcasts, now heard twice weekly at 104.9 and distributed world-wide.  WCLV was one of the first FM-only commercial stations to carry the Metropolitan Opera live from New York. From 1969 to 2009, WCLV was the anchor station for the weekly City Club Forum broadcasts, which it continues to air. Other programs of note produced by WCLV for local broadcast and national distribution include Weekend Radio and selected concerts by Apollo’s Fire – The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra. 

Local live broadcasts by WCLV include a monthly series of CIM Live programs from the Cleveland Institute of Music, wall-to-wall coverage of the bi-annual Cleveland International Piano Competition, and regular broadcasts from Baldwin-Wallace University, Cleveland State University and Oberlin College. In 2008, Jubilation, the Stuart Church Choir Festival began its annual live broadcasts, currently presented from St. John’s Cathedral. In the spring of 2012, the station aired four broadcasts from the newly established ChamberFest Cleveland. Regular delayed-broadcasts by the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire – The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra and the concert series of the Cleveland International Piano Competition are also presented.

In addition to its highly regarded musical programs, WCLV keeps its audience informed with hourly Wall Street Journal Reports, four daily broadcasts of the BBC World Service News and local news reports at 7:00 and 7:30 AM, 12:06 PM and 5:00 and 5:30 PM.  

Over the years, WCLV has won many honors: four Gabriel Awards, three for Best Radio Station Nationwide and one for Best Religious Program; a NAB Marconi for Best Classical Radio Station; New York Radio Festival Silver and Gold medals for Best Classical Station Worldwide; two Ohio Governor’s Award for Support of the Arts; a Gracie for best interview program dealing with women’s issues; and numerous local awards.

In 2001, to assure continuation of classical music on the radio, ownership of WCLV was donated to the community through a nonprofit corporation and transferred to ideastream in 2011.

ABOUT ideastream
ideastream is a multiple media public service organization that applies the power of media to education, culture and citizenship. It includes WVIZ/PBS, 90.3 WCPN, educational and public service cable channels, broadband interactive video distance learning, the Internet and other interactive media.

Based on careful and ongoing ascertainment of community needs, ideastream acquires, creates and delivers content that connects those who seek knowledge with those who have it.

ideastream leverages technical, creative and financial resources through partnerships with other organizations that share interests in education and public service. Support comes primarily from contributions made by individuals, foundations and corporations. Funding from state and federal agencies also plays a critical role.

ideastream has attracted national attention as a new model for public service media. The services of ideastream multiple media are utilized by more than 2.8 million people a month.


One Response to WCLV Going Non-Commercial

  1. rg says:

    Thanks for the mention! I’ll be doing more NE Ohio people in the future…stay tuned.

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