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Vermont's Sole Commercial Classical Station Will Change Formats

For the past 17 years WCVT has broadcast classical music to listeners in Chittenden County and central Vermont, but the station’s owners say the format will change in July.   

WCVT is owned by the Radio Vermont Group whose flagship station is WDEV in Waterbury, which signed on the air in 1931.  The group also includes WDEV-FM, WLVB in Morrisville and WEXP, “The Fox” in the Rutland area.

Radio Vermont Group General Manager Eric Michaels says the format change is primarily due to the fact that WCVT's market is now covered by Vermont Public Radio’s classical service.

VPR went on the air in 1977 and aired a mixture of classical music and news on a single network until 2007, when it split them into two distinct networks of transmitters.  Initially, VPR Classical covered only some parts of the state but since then it has expanded to include most areas.

WCVT broadcast a classical music service that originates in Boston, but also used local hosts. 

The station’s popular morning announcer, Brian Harwood, has a long history in central Vermont radio.

Harwood, 75, announced his retirement on Friday. He was a long-time member of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors.

Michaels says Harwood’s retirement provided the impetus for the decision to change formats.

He says station owner Ken Squier will make an announcement in the near future detailing the new format. But Michaels says the changes will be in line with, “the local ownership and the local direction that we very much believe in.”

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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