GUEST: Matt Abramovitz, WQXR Vice President, Programming,  


  • Conversation with Matt Abramovitz
  • Q&A with Matt Abramovitz
  • Public Comment
  • Community Advisory Board Business


Matt Abramovitz began his presentation by stating WQXR’s mission:   to create and bring a larger, more diverse audience to the listenership.  To do this, WQXR is focusing on three areas 1) investment in its core function as a radio station, 2) growth through building on new platforms and 3) creation of an ecosystem of enrichment, raising “all boats” and expanding classical music’s global reach.

Abramovitz then highlighted some of WQXR’s new initiatives.  For Black History Month, more black composer, conductors, and artists were included in radio programming, representing a 250% increase over baseline.  Specific new programming included Leonard Bernstein’s Black America, A Conversation with Terrace McKnight and The Making of Harry Belafonte.  On Women’s International Day on Friday, March 8, WQXR hosted a 24-hour music marathon of woman composers, which included 131 pieces, 10 of which were musical debuts, and 66 composers.  WQXR also launched an industry challenge in their blog post, asking broadcasters to follow suit and include more women composers, not only for a day but for life. In addition, David Dubal hosted an in-studio interview with pianist Anne Sophie Mutter.  The goal of this programming is to bring people together through music.

Beyond the radio, WQXR is providing gathering places for musicians. For example, the WQXR Christmas Party in the Greene Space was a live broadcasted with artist and many station hosts. live. Another example is 19 for 19:  Artist to Watch in the Upcoming Year where all artist groups came together for one night to perform in The Greene Space and this show was broadcasted live.

WQXR is also launching and Artist Advisory Group (AAG) to seek input from major artist performers on how WQXR can fulfill its mission, and it just finished in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera,  it first 10 episode podcast, Aria Code.  

In answer to a question from the CAB, Abramovitz discussed balancing music with interviews.  While there is a great desire for interviews, for WQXR, the balance is more towards music. WQXR now broadcasts on three frequencies, 105.9, 90.3 and a Poughkeepsie station.

Q & A with Matt Abramovitz

Several public attendees expressed how important free live performances were for engaging them as young people and hoped that WQXR could do more of that.  One suggestion was to create a concert for young people /classics for kids to air every Saturday morning. Abromzvitz noted that WQXR had sponsored a Kid Fair and “free concert” at the Brooklyn Conservatory, entrance fees were half off.

Several CAB and audience members noted how much they had enjoyed past on-air broadcasts of live performances and they suggested WQXR consider doing a new live series.  Abramovitz noted that in the on-demand environment of today, there are opportunities for WQXR to be more adaptive. and responsive, while on-air performances cannot always be available for streaming and so its broadcast life is limited.

There was a lot of discussion about the best tactics for engaging younger people and extending the reach of WQXR members. For membership fundraising drives, Abramovitz noted that CD are a high-value premium.  A young listener attendee questioned the value of the CDs.  Younger people use Spotify or Pandora, etc.  noting “who has a CD player in their car anymore?”  With this there was more discussion of the challenges involved in bringing new and younger audiences to WQXR listening and membership. Abramovitz noted that WQXR was looking to change the user experience with classical music, as for example the Craft Beer Jam and Classical Music Fest hosted in Brooklyn by WQXR.  Abromavitz then paraphrased Paul Driscoll, editor of Opera News re his approach:  My job is to infect new people, and some people will be immune and there is no way to catch them. 

CAB and attendees were interested in the response to the blog spot challenge of playing women for life. The blog was well received on twitter, it was tweeted and retweeted many ties. There was also lots of positive responses on Facebook.  Many agreed to meet the challenge. WQXR will monitor and track the inclusion of women composers over the next year to measure impact.

A member of the public requested more history of the music presentations like Jeff Spurgeon does. PUBLIC COMMENTS

  • Another requested more voices of the composers explaining their works.  
  • Cora Fung wished that our CAB meetings were better attended and offered to help in promoting the CAB meetings through local community newspaper. CAB members, Carole Chervin will follow-up.
  • CAB member/ WQXR member, Marlene Birnbaum, wished that playlists could be made available earlier that 24 hours, i.e., she loved the 24-hour Marathon of Women Composer's but wished she had known sooner so she could plan to listen more.
  • Kudos for WQXR for the New Sounds program, Aria Code, and the Women Composer 24-hour Marathon, and, Kudos for the formation of the Artist Advisory Group AAG). 
  • Re addressing the challenge of bringing more young and newer listeners into the WQXR listening audience, there were many suggestions to do cross-arts programming, i.e., Hip hop with classical music, dance with classic music, and poetry with classical music. 
  • There was a request for more synergy across stations (WQXR & WNYC), and Matt Abramovitz noted that every Monday Clemency Burton-Hill does a segment with Allison Stewart on All of It.



A report on the proposed panel on Labor unions was given by Vice-Chair Erica Johnson.  The working title is Framing Social Movements in the Media, a focus on Labor Unions.  Chair, Barbara Gerolimatos gave an update on the April meeting panel, Local News:  An Endangered Species. The Incremental Improvement document generated as a result of the informal February strategy meeting was discussed.  The recommendation by Carole Chervin to set aside 10 minutes at each CAB business session for CAB members to give their own specific feedback on station policy and programing was suggested and approved.

Julia Fields agree to share the Newsletter responsibility with Grace Clark.  The meeting CAB dates and topics through June were reviewed as was the recruitment timeline for new CAB members. Dr. Mary White shared that Mayo Stuntz, Jr., the Chair of the BoT announced that COO Depelsha McGruder will assume the role of Interim CEO of New York Public Radio effective April 1, 2019. Sofia Edmundson forwarded the announcement onto the CAB at our request that evening. Long term strategic planning is ongoing and will be led by Alex Hu along with a yet-to-be- formed smaller Ad Hoc committee.



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Guest:  Panel Discussion:  Local News:  An Endangered Species

Meeting: 6:30 PM, The Greene Space, 44 Charlton Street, New York (Google map)



Adam Wasserman (excused)

Alex Hu (excused)

Anita Aboulafia (excused)

Barbara Gerolimatos, Chair

Carole Chervin

Chad Bascombe

Curry Sloan (excused)

David N. Sztyk (resigned)

Donna Blank

Erica Johnson, Vice-chair

Grace Clarke (excused)

Jacob Wojnas, Vice-chair

Julia D. Fields





●        15 members of the public

●        Mary White, BOT Liaison





Jane Tillman Irving

Kathryn Tornelli, Vice-chair (excused)

Lisa Nearier

Liz Buffa (excused)

Marlene Birnbaum

Michael Brown

Michaela Balderston

Nancy Walcott (excused)

Peter Kentros (excused)

Samantha "Sam" Pedreiro (excused)

Stan Ince



italics = not present