Company issues news release on format changes

Local classical music station shifts to classic hits

By Stephen Betts | Feb 20, 2017

Rockland — The classical radio station WBACH 106.9, which has a studio in Rockland, has switched formats, the station's general manager said Monday, Feb. 20, in a news release.

The change occurred Monday.

"In an effort to bring more local radio and the best classic hits to the mid-coast, FRANK moved to 106.9 FM today replacing the classical music format. (The) 105.5 WBYA Frank’s former home will become The Wolf, mid-coast’s Maine’s home for New Country on Friday, February 24th," according to the news release.

Both stations are committed to the community and the region, according to the release. FRANK 106.9 will feature high school basketball games in the area and will seek  to expand coverage throughout a bigger listening area. The 105.5 The Wolf will remain the home of the Boston Red Sox.

“The switch gives Midcoast and Downeast Maine more local radio and community involvement on both stations. These positive changes will give local businesses two great powerhouses to reach their customers in Midcoast and Downeast Maine. We saw that many other stations are focused on Bangor, Augusta and Portland and we felt this would be a great opportunity to serve the Midcoast," stated Mark White, general manager of both stations.

Stan Bennett, programming and operations manager for both stations said, “We would like to thank the fans of WBACH and classical music for listening over the years, and we regret any inconvenience as a result of the changes. We made them in order to better serve the musical needs of more Midcoast Mainers and deliver better local content to the region. We believe that if you give Frank and The Wolf a try, you will enjoy them as well.”

Both stations will continue to operate out of their Rockland studios.

Comments (13)
Posted by: Joseph Steinberger | Mar 01, 2017 11:32

We would love to have more classical music programming on WRFR at 93.3 fm in Rockland and 99.3 fm in Camden. Any volunteers?

Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Feb 25, 2017 11:48

Sounds like we have been given more of the same of what is already available.  What a disappointment.

Posted by: mark zable | Feb 25, 2017 06:26

This is a very sad day. The only station of its kind replaced by one of many. You sold us out, Mark and Stan.


Posted by: Maggie Trout | Feb 21, 2017 12:46

"New Country?"  Good grief.  So, maybe work to start a classical station, grabbing the former full-time WBACH host, and make it member-supported. 

Posted by: martha martens | Feb 21, 2017 12:17

I have lost one of my "best friends"

Posted by: Robert Steinmetz | Feb 21, 2017 11:37

We agree with all the previous commenters.  This is a disaster!  The programming of WBACH was superb and, with the difficulty of finding Maine Classical, we are now left without any good options.  This represents a serious downgrading of the cultural/musical sophistication of Midcoast Maine.  We are devastated!  Will someone please come to our rescue.  How about it Reade?

Posted by: Lynne A Barnard | Feb 21, 2017 11:26

Thank you SEY for sharing the details of your conversation with FRANK radio station 106.9 and thank you JWA for your comments.  I am setting off on an expedition down the coast today and plan to stop by to visit some of WBACH's advertisers -- some of whom I have done business with for years.  I plan to boycott any who continue to advertise on FRANK.  I also will be listening for the new advertisers (when I can stand the NOISE) who think they're going to be reaching a "younger" demographic and plan to boycott those as well.  Scott Hooper, where ever you are right now, know that you are hugely missed.

Posted by: judith wenzel andersen | Feb 21, 2017 10:59

First Maine Public seems to feel that this area is not worthy of their classical station on regular FM, but that we must all turn cartwheels to be able to tune them in (no, buying speakers to improve quality while streaming  doesn't solve the problem and buying an HD radio is out of the question for most of us). Very bad public relations.

Now, WBach tells us their sponsors do not feel that they are reaching the right age group. We have tried to use the companies who advertised on WBach and would love to know who was unhappy with the results. We will listen for a day or two to see who sponsors the NOISE and stop patronizing them.

We always proudly told visitors from big cities that Maine was remarkable to have two classical music stations. This is all disheartening.



Posted by: Sherwood E Young | Feb 21, 2017 08:40

I heartily concur with the previous comment.  There was only one WBach, which served a significant segment of the population in the Mid-coast area.  I have nowhere to go on the radio dial in my car to get the greatest music of all time.I spoke with a gentleman at the Rockland office yesterday, and he told me that "profitability issues" were the primary cause of the change.  Advertisers did not feel that they were reaching their target audience, due to the fact that the listeners of WBach were largely in an older demographic. I would like to point out that Binney Media has two other stations which, I am sure, turn a profit, because they appeal to a younger audience.  Couldn't they take some of the profits from those stations to fund classical music "pro bono publico," i.e. for the good of the public?  The listeners of Wbach have been kicked in the stomach, as has Scott Hooper, the morning DJ at WBach.  He was the finest classical DJ I have EVER heard anywhere, and a very nice man. Perhaps he can latch on with MPBN.  Wbach listeners have been musically disenfranchised to a great degree due to Binney Media's pursuit of the almighty dollar.  This is a great disservice to the community, the protestations of Binney Media to the contrary notwithstanding.  I am sick at heart over this.


Posted by: MARION J SAUNDERS | Feb 21, 2017 07:57

I find that I can usually get MPBN on 93.7 when in the Rockport-Camden area.  Sometimes I can get on my home radio in North Waldoboro.

Posted by: PETER LAMMERT | Feb 21, 2017 07:43

I hope Mark White sincerely believes in what was quoted above as to what the new stations will deliver vs. the sanity 106.9 provided and that he was not forced into the decision to cut off a certain listening segment of the population, at least in the mid-coast area.

I have a funny feeling it is another move by the millennial generation or Gen X, Y, or Z or who ever dictates where the mighty dollar comes from, to switch venues.It is a sad day for good music aficionados.

As it is now being said, "Another one bites the dust"

Pete Lammert Thomaston

Posted by: Araceli U Hamalainen | Feb 21, 2017 06:26

Loosing WBACH  is a great loss to our community,I used to listen this radio station all the time.

Posted by: Lynne A Barnard | Feb 21, 2017 06:17

Actually WBACH (106.9) went off air at 1:00pm on Sunday with a flip of a switch.  It was a shock.  There was no announcement prior to the change although it has been clear since the beginning of the year that something was happening as the station no longer offered it's morning news (both national and local), weather and sports. Saturday's Kids Classical Hour and Arnold Olean's Saturday night Jazz program also disappeared.  I've spent endless hours since Sunday searching for another source for classical music in the mid-coast area and find none.  It is suggested on MPR's website that streaming classical music requires the purchase of HD equipment.  This is a very unfortunate turn of events for those who do not have the financial resources or even the technical knowledge to make such a purchase.  I did some research online and found that it will cost $800.00 - $1,000.00 to replace what I have now and that doesn't include my car radio.  In addition to this figure, it costs $4.99/month to stream the music without ads.  I am in the process of resurrecting my own collection of classical music (on vinyl and cd) and will have to be my own dj going forward.  Shutting down WBACH is a huge loss to the mid-coast area.  There are plenty of classic rock stations, country music stations, Christian music stations, etc. but there was only one WBACH.


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