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
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
National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System,
is the long-time producer of Morning Pro Musica.
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
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.