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WAMC's Chartock Admits Cancellation 

Morning Pro Musica Contract

by Glenn M. Heller
June 10, 2000
In an afternoon telephone interview at his WAMC Northeast Public Radio office in Albany on Wednesday, Alan S. Chartock, chairman and executive director of WAMC, admitted to cancellation of the contract between WAMC and WGBH in Boston to broadcast Morning Pro Musica, a long-running weekend classical music program.  Mr. Chartock's decision to stop broadcasting the popular program has caused many upset WAMC listeners to barrage local print media with letters. 

Lurtsema's Leave Gave WAMC Its Excuse
MPM host Robert J. Lurtsema's leave-of-absence from the program is the rationale which WAMC has publicly given in its press releases for no longer carrying the program over the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. But the show still airs in Boston with substitute host Doug Brisco filling-in for Mr. Lurtsema.  Not until yesterday had WAMC actually admitted to cancellation of the contract between itself and WGBH, the program's producer.

WGBH, a major production house for radio and television programming for both National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System, is the long-time producer of Morning Pro Musica.

WGBH Contacted
Leah Hollenberger, director of media relations for WGBH, was asked in a telephone interview earlier Wednesday whether WAMC still has a contract with WGBH to carry Morning Pro Musica, which continues to air over WGBH-FM in Boston every Saturday and Sunday morning from 7 A.M. till 12 Noon. 

Ms. Hollenberger was also asked whether it was WAMC which unilaterally canceled the contract to broadcast the popular program.

Ms. Hollenberger confirmed that WAMC is no longer carrying the program, but she said she preferred that reporters' questions as to which of the parties, WGBH or WAMC, initiated cancellation of the contract be directed to WAMC officials who, she said, would more appropriately be able to answer such questions. She added that WGBH welcomes any radio station outside the Boston area that might wish to broadcast the critically-acclaimed show.

Chartock Refuses At First to Answer Query
When Mr. Chartock was contacted at his WAMC office later in the day, he was asked to confirm or deny that WAMC cancelled its contract with WGBH to carry "Morning Pro Musica".  After first refusing to answer the question, and then attempting to redirect the telephone call to his assistant executive director, David Galletly, Mr. Chartock came back on the phone, and after additional hesitation and after again being asked to simply confirm or deny the allegation, Mr. Chartock, in a lowered voice with seeming reluctance, finally admitted,  "We have no contract."

According to WGBH's Ms. Hollenberger, Morning Pro Musica is still very much on-the-air. She says that MPM airs every weekend over WGBH 89.7 FM in Boston, and that like Mr. Lurtsema, substitute host Brisco is committed to maintaining a selection of music as fine and as eclectic as ever.  She added that WGBH-FM's MPM broadcasts may be heard simultaneously over WGBH's Internet website, www.wgbh.org.

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