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Eagle Editor-in-Chief Scribner Refuses to Retract False Morning Pro Musica Info

by Glenn M. Heller 
"A Plea for Classical Music" is the title given to a poignant letter-to-the-editor published in The Berkshire Eagle this past Tuesday, June 6th. It is signed by Great Barrington resident Helen E. Radin. (To read Ms. Radin's letter, click here!)

Just beneath the letter, The Eagle inserts an "editor's note" proclaiming: "Robert J. Lurtsema's "Morning Pro Musica" program is no longer on the air because the host is ill and his program has been terminated."  The Eagle note goes on to state:  "WAMC still offers 10 hours of classical music on weekends, 11 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays." 

"Editor's Note" is False
It turns out that The Eagle "editor's note" is factually incorrect.  Incorrect enough to mislead Eagle readers and WAMC listeners and classical music devotees into believing that Morning Pro Musica is simply no longer available for broadcast, and that WAMC is no longer able even to receive the program from its producer to broadcast to the WAMC radio audience.

Morning Pro Musica-Alive and Well in Boston
WGBH in Boston, 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

According to Leah Hollenberger, director of media relations for WGBH, Morning Pro Musica is still very much in production, definitely still on-the-air, with the same fine selection of music as always, and available for those radio stations wishing to broadcast the program to any audience in any radio market outside Boston.

Scribner Contacted
David Scribner, Editor-in-Chief of The Berkshire Eagle, and a good friend of Eagle columnist Alan S. Chartock, WAMC-FM's chairman and executive director, was contacted by telephone at The Eagle Wednesday afternoon and alerted to the misinformation published in Tuesday's newspaper as well as to WGBH's official statement contradicting The Eagle's faulty allegation in its "editor's note".

Mr. Scribner was notified that the program presently being offered by WGBH is still called Morning Pro Musica and is hosted by a substitute host in Mr. Lurtsema's absence, and that this program is indeed still in production, with the same type of music as before Mr. Lurtsema's departure, and is still broadcast over WGBH-FM in Boston and available for broadcast elsewhere. 

Mr. Scribner's response was that he disagreed with WGBH's statement and that as far as he was concerned, the program known as Morning Pro Musica "was cancelled", no longer produced, no longer being broadcast on-the-air, and that an entirely "different musical program with another host" is being offered by WGBH in its stead.

Scribner Still Doesn't Get It
When it was clarified yet a second time to Mr. Scribner that the show's own producers refuted him and that his information was simply not correct, Mr. Scribner categorically refused to acknowledge WGBH's statement as being factually accurate.  Even when offered Ms. Hollenberger's telephone number at WGBH, Mr. Scribner refused to agree to contact the organization to check out the veracity of his "facts" and whether he might be wrong.

He stated that he was standing by the "extensive knowledge" of his editors and by the statements made by those editors, and by what they wrote, and that he would "not print any retraction or correction".

Scribner a Regular Guest on WAMC Shows
Mr. Scribner has often appeared as a guest on various WAMC-produced shows, appearing many times with host Mr. Chartock as a panelist on The Media Project. He has also appeared on The Round Table and on a listener call-in program Vox Pop

Morning Pro Musica also on the Internet
Ms. Hollenberger says that Morning Pro Musica airs over WGBH 89.7 FM in Boston on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 7 A.M. till 12 Noon with Doug Brisco acting as substitute host for the program during Robert J. Lurtsema's leave of absence. She says that during these weekend over-the-air broadcasts, MPM can also be heard simultaneously over WGBH's Internet website, via streaming audio, by logging onto www.wgbh.org, the official website of WGBH.

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