HARLINGEN, RGV – It is not just National Public Radio and local news that will be lost when RGV Public Radio 88 FM ceases to operate.
Mario Muñoz’s classical music show “New Edition” will also be lost from the airwaves. It is a one-of-a-kind production in the Rio Grande Valley.
“It is very sad that the Valley will be losing this program,” said Max Horowitz, a New York-based music promoter who has provided albums and artist interviews for Muñoz’s show for many years.
“Programs such as Mario’s can only be found on non-commercial radio. To not have a non-commercial radio station that plays music in your market, means it is next to impossible to hear several genres of music.”
The Diocese of Brownsville is selling 88.1 and 88.9 FM to California-based Immaculate Heart Media. The new buyers plan to air religious programming, meaning NPR, local news provided by the Rio Grande Guardian, and music shows such as “New Edition” will be lost to the Valley.
“I have run the classical music show for the past five years,” Muñoz said. “The 30-minute show goes out at 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday. We feature selections from the newest classical music CDs, providing commentary about the music and interviews with the performers and composers.”
In addition to Muñoz’s classical music show, the airwaves will also lose Chris Maley’s blues music show, “On The Road Side.”
The sale of 88.1 and 88.9 FM is going through now. A notice from the Federal Communications Commission announcing the sale has been pinned to RGV Public Radio 88 FM’s offices in Harlingen for the past week. The station is likely to go dark in late May.
Like Maley, Muñoz has been a fixture at 88 FM for decades. He started his classical music show five years ago. However, Horowitz has been providing CDs and albums for the radio station for a couple of decades. Horowitz runs Crossover Media, which promotes artists in a number of musical genres, including classical, jazz, world, and singer-songwriter, film scores and Broadway shows.
“We celebrate our 25th anniversary this May. We do media promotion for music artists, their album releases and related activities, such as touring. We like to work in a very thorough and holistic way. We are probably a pretty unique platform. If it is outside the normal, we can handle it,” Horowitz said.
Horowitz said he has been working with Muñoz since almost the beginning of Crossover Media.
“Mario is a great guy and a very valuable part of the classical music world. He has been a fixture at the radio station. We reach out to many radio stations worldwide. It has been a great relationship for almost the whole time we have been in business. He is very open-minded, we have done a number of artist interviews with him and he is very easy to work with.”
Although music lovers can these days likely find their favorite artists online, Horowitz said radio stations provide a valuable resource for artists.
“When an artist is going on tour, it is important to be able to connect with the local radio station, TV station, the local newspapers. It is important to have a local radio output. Besides, many people rely on it when they are driving to and from work.”
Horowitz said he has talked to Muñoz about New Edition continuing online. Muñoz said he does not want the show to end and is in talks with the Rio Grande Guardian about having the show continue in a digital format. “This is the only show of its kind in the Valley,” Muñoz said.