It was recently announced that Palm Beach County’s only two public radio stations were sold to some outside media company planning on switching them to a contemporary Christian format. The sale comes at a point when I was finally finding myself immersed in all that public radio has to offer, and the two stations just sold played a huge role in my appreciation of public radio. With the two of them now gone, so has this appreciation that took me years to cultivate.
The first station was known as WPBI News and carried news and talk from National Public Radio. I always turned to them for the latest news and enjoyed the in-depth reporting on shows such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. In the evenings WPBI would carry news broadcasts from the BBC, giving me a chance to hear some news coverage from across the pond. And finally, Saturday nights were a real treat when A Prairie Home Companion came on the air with its tasty mix of music and comedy. WPBI was the only station in my area with a signal strong enough for me to listen to these programs at home. And now it is no more.
The other station I will miss is Classical South Florida, which was the only station in my area to play nonstop classical music. It was close enough for me to pick up loud and clear on my portable radio during my long bike rides needing a decent soundtrack. Listening to classical music while driving became an indispensable source of stress relief, and with this station gone too, all my bike rides from this point will be missing the soundtrack needed to make them complete. My drives won’t be the same either.
The loss of WPBI News and Classical South Florida is a huge one for Palm Beach County. I don’t think there was enough done to save them to ensure their continued existence to keep us all cultured and informed.
The only public radio stations left in South Florida are WLRN in Miami and WQCS in Fort Pierce. Both are very good stations provided I’m within their broadcast range. I now tune to them for my public radio needs and hope they don’t go anywhere.