Eastern N.C. radio network shuffles news, classical programming

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Public Radio East in New Bern, N.C., will shift away from mixed-format program schedules next month.

Starting Feb. 5, the station will move to an all-news format on 89.3 WTEB, its most powerful signal. On its other signals — 88.5 WZNB in New Bern, 90.3 WKNS in Kinston and 91.5 WBJD in Atlantic Beach — the station will air an all-classical format.

The network now airs NPR newsmagazines and classical music on WTEB on weekdays and news, entertainment and music programming on weekends. The other stations air news programming during the day, a local Americana program weekday evenings and a mix of news, entertainment and music on weekends.

“News and information is our bread and butter,” said GM Dale Spear. “I’m putting our most expensive programming” on the most powerful signal, he said. The stations that will air classical cover “virtually the same area” as WTEB, Spear said.

Splitting news and classical will also give the station a better sense of how much support classical has in the region, Spear said. “I’m trying to give classical music a chance to support itself,” Spear added. “Can a music format in a rural area survive?”

“The move will allow us to measure the strength of each of the services once the change has been made,” he said.

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