KUSC is making classical music relevant
The return of Rich Capparela and Dennis Bartel, and the demise of K-Mozart, boost the station in the ratings.
By Sean Mitchell
In the last year, listeners to classical music radio in Los Angeles have noticed something different about segments of the weekday sound of KUSC-FM (91.5) – evidence of human beings talking to them live between the symphonies and concertos of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms. It's a change from the public station's deliberately generic classical programming that for the last nine years was prerecorded for distribution to more than 50 other outlets across the country with as little trace of Los Angeles or the announcers' personalities as possible.
Now, in afternoon drive-time, host Rich Capparela serves up irreverent observations about Los Angeles and traffic, along with bits of news he has gleaned that day about the classical world – in addition to selections from the classical canon. In the mornings, another KUSC alumnus returned home: Dennis Bartel shares his quietly ironic views of just about everything alongside the music, indicative of his background as a published author of fiction and nonfiction.
Apparently reflecting public approval of these changes and combined with the demise of its only significant rival, KMZT-FM, KUSC's audience has boomed to an average weekly listenership of 525,800…
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