CNE and the BSO: A New Era

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New Broadcast Era Begins with New BSO Season

Classical New England's Cathy Fuller and Ron Della Chiesa team up as co-hosts


Classical New England, the classical radio service of WGBH, and The Boston Symphony Orchestra, its six-decade broadcast partner, are beginning the orchestra's 132nd concert season with a new broadcast sound from Symphony Hall.

Classical New England’s afternoon host Cathy Fuller is teaming up with longtime Boston Symphony broadcast host Ron Della Chiesa to provide a fresh sound to the live Saturday night broadcasts, as well as to a new afternoon-drive segment BSO Previews. The segment kicks off Friday afternoon, Sept. 21 at 4:00 pm, with an exclusive interview with BSO opening night conductor and soloist, violinist Itzhak Perlman.

“The rapport and good humor between Cathy and Ron during our Tanglewood Turnpike segments last summer was instant and impressive,” noted Benjamin K. Roe, CNE managing director. “Cathy’s companionable style and keen insights into the music world, combined with Ron’s six-decade of experience as a veteran BSO - not to mention Boston – observer makes them a broadcast tandem second to none.”

The new broadcast duo will be heard live every Saturday night starting at 7:00 pm from Symphony Hall, with encore broadcasts on Sundays at 1:00 pm, on the five frequencies of Classical New England, including 99.5 WCRB Boston, and 88.7 WJMF Smithfield/Providence. The Boston Symphony broadcasts also air on public radio stations in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, and upstate New York. It’s the latest of several initiatives between WGBH and the BSO, including the BSO Concert Channel, a new high-bitrate online audio channel, featuring a 24/7 stream of Boston Symphony Orchestra concert broadcasts. The channel is the first in the nation to offer a continuous, high-quality audio stream of live concerts by one of the world’s great orchestras, and builds on WGBH’s vibrant 60-year broadcast association with the BSO.

With all of these changes, however, comes a milestone for Brian Bell, long-time producer of the BSO broadcasts, who will be leaving CNE. "We are grateful to Brian for his 26 years of dedicated service to WGBH. We all have benefited from his vital role in producing our broadcasts of the Boston Symphony Orchestra,” said Roe. “Brian's breadth of knowledge has enriched the experience for listeners and we wish him all the best.”

Classical New England’s new BSO duo is one of several new changes to the weekend schedule. Starting on Sept. 22, Ray Brown will be CNE's new Saturday morning host, waking up greater Boston with his particular blend of music and fascinating stories. Saturday afternoons now belong to Classical New England Music Director Cheryl Willoughby, who says of her additional on-air role, “Sharing great music with other people is a pure pleasure, not work.” Cheryl’s noon – 5:00 pm shift is now followed by Live From Fraser, the station’s signature program of the region’s finest classical artists, performing in the state-of-the-art studio at the WGBH Guest Street headquarters in Boston.

In addition, Classical New England now welcomes to its Sunday lineup From the Top, the program that celebrates the amazing performances and captivating stories of extraordinary young classical musicians. The program, of which WGBH was a Founding Parter, and the New England Conservatory of Music is the home and educational partner, will now be heard Sundays at 11:00 am, right after Laura Carlo's popular Sunday morning program Baroque in Boston.


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