Germany has one commercial classical radio station and about a dozen classical channels that are public. In the United States, there are about 200 stations that regularly play classical music, and most of them are public. However, most of these classical stations are rather small, and they are facing a stiff breeze. Unlike their German counterparts, they are not supported by mandatory radio owner fees, and public stations aren't even allowed to air commercial spots. They only have two sources, one being corporate sponsors who may be briefly mentioned on air, and the other source being individual subscribers who pay an annual fee on a voluntary basis. A tight budget increases the importance of the annual Music Personnel Conference, where representatives of classical radio stations exchange ideas and deepen their contacts with record companies. The 37th annual conference ended last weekend (Feb. 17-21) in San Antonio, and one of the hot topics was "Classical Radio on the Internet." There are already more than 100 American classical radio stations that have their own web sites, and some of them stream their music programs over the Internet. Georg Hirsch was at the conference and scanned cyberspace for online sound.
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