Phila. Orchestra coming back to regional radio

Posted: January 19, 2013

It's not the restoration of a national radio presence, but starting Feb. 24 the Philadelphia Orchestra will return to regional radio under the terms of a new deal with WRTI-FM (90.1).

Through the end of the 2012-13 season, the Temple University station will air a series of regular Sunday-afternoon delayed broadcasts of Philadelphia Orchestra concerts, with rebroadcasts over the summer. The series is expected to resume next season, said David S. Conant, WRTI's general manager.

But first, this Sunday at 2 p.m. WRTI-FM will rebroadcast WQXR-FM's recording of the orchestra's Thursday Carnegie Hall performance of Ravel's La Valse, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, and Leonidas Kavakos in Karol Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 2.

Conant said he had been talking with the orchestra for several years about the radio series, which required the approval of musicians and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

He said the 2 p.m. broadcasts would push aside New York Philharmonic broadcasts and the children's talent show From the Top, both of which he said he hoped to move to another time slot.

The last concert in the 2012-13 series - a live broadcast Friday, May 24, at 2 p.m. - will feature Gil Shaham in Brahms' Violin Concerto.

The orchestra lost its national radio series in 1990 when Cigna Corp. pulled its funding and the orchestra was unable to find new sponsorship. Since then, it has returned to the national and local airwaves under the terms of various short-term deals.

WRTI broadcasts in Philadelphia, plus Reading, Allentown, Wilmington, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Ephrata, Lebanon, Mount Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pottsville, Scranton, Ocean City, and Coatesville.

Contact Peter Dobrin

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