- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Nearly two months after changing formats, Classical WETA-FM (90.9) is facing the challenge of integrating about 50,000 CDs into a new music library.

The Arlington public radio station, which shed its news format for Beethoven and Brahms back in January, is in the development stages for its new facility, Program Director Jim Allison said.

Mr. Allison, who joined the station from longtime classical outlet WGMS-FM, brought along the WGMS music library, which numbers about 30,000 CDs. Former WGMS parent Bonneville International Corp. donated the selections when 104.1 assumed its new “George 104” adult-hits identity.

Add that sum to WETA’s own collection of about the same number and you have “quite a project,” Mr. Allison said.

“We have a lot of organization to do,” he said, adding that the WETA library is sitting mostly in boxes.

Although the combined number of CDs exceeds 60,000, Mr. Allison said shelving will be built for 50,000 CDs after adjusting for likely overlap.

The Classical WETA blog will chronicle the process — expected to last about three months — beginning in the next few weeks, Mr. Allison said.

For now, the temporary disarray has limited the station to an interim music database of several thousand CDs from WGMS. But WETA will feature a “deeper playlist” once the new music catalog is finished, Mr. Allison promised.

As for differences between classical programming on a public station versus a commercial station, Mr. Allison said public radio is uniquely suited for the genre.

“It actually provides greater opportunities to feature a broader repertoire” and longer pieces, he noted.

Falwell TV

Liberty University, the Lynchburg, Va., college founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, has agreed to buy a Roanoke TV station for $6 million.

If the sale is approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the Federal Communications Commission, WDRL-TV would join Liberty’s existing media footprint of a low-power TV station and an FM radio outlet.

“Now, the University’s key athletic and academic events and other quality inspirational programming will be broadcast daily to every household in central Virginia and north-central North Carolina,” Mr. Falwell said in a statement.

The Liberty Channel would feature shows from well-known pastors and Sunday services from Thomas Road Baptist Church.

WDRL, which airs locally on Channel 24, is a full-power independent station that currently features daily reruns of “The Nanny” and “Mad About You.” In July, the station filed for debt relief under Chapter 11 bankruptcy terms.

George Borsari, a lawyer for WDRL, told the Roanoke Times this week that he doesn’t know of any opposition to the deal, which Liberty expects to close in 90 days. Until then, the school will operate the station under a temporary broadcasting agreement.

“It is our hope not only that many will hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but that many young people in the region will become aware of all Liberty University has to offer,” Mr. Falwell said.

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