Portland’s only commercial classical music station, WBACH, is off the air and has been replaced with a simulcast of a country music station.

A statement Monday from Binnie Media, which owns the license, did not say why the switch was made.

“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,” operations manager Stan Bennett said in the statement.

WBACH, at 96.9 FM and 106.9 FM, has broadcast for 25 years, although there have been some interruptions. It was off the air more than half a year before returning to Portland airwaves in 2013.

Binnie Media of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has offices in Portland, where it operates several other stations, including 99.9 The Wolf, a country music station. That station will now broadcast on 96.9 FM as well, according to the company.

“Now country music fans can hear Wolf Country crystal-clear in offices and apartment buildings downtown where they may have had difficulty in the past,” the statement read.

A note on the WBACH website Monday said simply, “This site is no longer on the air.”

Former on-air host and program director Scott Hooper said he was let go several weeks ago after 22 years at the station. He said that at the time of his departure he was the station’s only full-time local on-air host. Hooper declined to give other details of his termination or discuss the station.

Listeners noticed the station was off the air over the weekend and began posting about it on social media.

Dean Stein, who plays violin for the Portland String Quartet, lamented the demise of WBACH.

“WBACH provided the staples of the classical repertoire, and I often found myself recommending it to people new to classical music,” he said. “I am sorry that a commercially viable classical music station cannot survive in this day and age and will miss their music.”

The loss of WBACH does not mean the end of classical music on the radio in Maine. Maine Public offers several signals for classical music programming.

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PPHEricRussell

 

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