Limited ProgramStaff Writer Steve McKerrow, in "Classical...


March 10, 1994

Limited Program

Staff Writer Steve McKerrow, in "Classical music hits high note in Arbitron ratings" (Feb. 18) would seem to be the bearer of good news to the Baltimore area -- until one stops to examine what the so-called programming at WBJC and WJHU really consists of.

As a listener of these stations for more years that I care to mention, let me inform you that one of the stations has a policy of playing almost exclusively from a list of basic repertory items, especially overtures.

The other station does much better, although it still works within narrow guidelines, but at least gives us music of greater variety and substance on a more continuous basis.

But there, too, the programming is lop-sided because it represents the eternal biases of the disc jockeys: Two of them in particular should be bashful about the narrowness of their views.

If I had not taught myself years ago that I must seek out the masterpieces on my own, and purchase them even without ever having heard them, I would not today have learned to love the "Art of the Fugue" or the "Missa Solemnis," or Delius' "A Mass of Life" or the Walter Piston Viola Concerto -- just to name four works which WBJC would not be caught dead playing for the classical listening public.

The sad fact, of course, is that the stations in question receive promotional copies of numerous lesser-known masterpieces, along with the latest "1812 Overture," but the listeners will never hear them.

One of the stations used to have access to a fine collection of American musical comedies or show music, and we in radioland used to hear it on a regular basis.

Alas, it has disappeared from the airwaves (along with nearly all organ music and choral music), to make more radio time available for yet another Rossini or Mozart overture.

My advice to anyone in the metro area who is interested in learning about fine music is this: Visit your local CD shops; attend live concerts, especially at the college campuses; and read about the classics, and buy what is truly significant.

Otherwise, you'll probably never hear it on WBJC or WJHU, though the latter is certainly to be thanked for its excellent jazz programming, especially as given us by the inimitable Andy Beanstock.

Edward A. Riggio


Erin Go Bragh!

The title of this letter is the toast many of us here in Baltimore will propose March 17 in bars, restaurants and parties at home. Like St. Patrick, those who volunteer to be the designated drivers on that day should be honored, for they help in doing what even the luck of the Irish cannot: stop drunk driving.

Designated drivers are in fact part of a growing national awareness that has led to a 32 percent drop in drunk driving deaths from 1982 to 1992.

This St. Patrick's Day, the Winner Distributing Co., along with many popular St. Patrick's Day gathering places in Baltimore, will be working to keep that trend improving by encouraging customers to use a designated driver and to drink responsibly.

We want customers to have fun on St. Patty's Day, but we also want them to heed a very strong warning -- Don't drink and drive!

George J. Acton


The writer is vice president and director of marketing for the Winner Distributing Co.

Bleak Future

Transportation Secretary O. James Lighthizer, the BWI Business Partnership, the governor and apparently your architectural critic Edward Gunts at one time or another have praised Baltimore-Washington Airport as a "user-friendly airport."

Perhaps it is, but it is certainly not a neighbor-friendly airport.

Mr. Lighthizer and others promote BWI as the economic engine of Maryland, emphasizing that BWI "brings in $2.5 billion a year to the state." That is most certainly an impressive sum; however, if BWI is such a powerful economic engine, why doesn't the state use some of this economic benefit to alleviate the deleterious effects of BWI on its neighbors?

Mr. Lighthizer closes his Feb. 26 letter by noting that "BWI enjoyed a 33 percent increase in passengers served in the last quarter of 1993, and the future looks even brighter."

BWI may have enjoyed it, but its neighbors most assuredly did not, and the future looks even bleaker.

Edmund A. Klebe


Include It All

As one born and raised in the area of Mount Washington west of Falls Road and east of the Jones Falls Expressway, I wish to question why this area was omitted in the article about the neighborhood written by Joan Jacobson on Feb. 13. Also, she failed to mention the Shrine of the Sacred Heart and St. John's Church, which are in the heart of Mount Washington and have contributed much to the community.

Hereafter, when writing about a community, please include it all.

Charlotte Hensley


Playing a Game of Political Football

Two editorials in The Sun, on Feb. 12 and Feb. 20, attacking the proposal to use football stadium funds for school construction, have been designed more to inflame regional divisions than inform its readers.

As authors of the proposal, we feel compelled to set the record straight.

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