Frank Dominguez

WDAV Makes History

Well, something happened recently that has never happened before. I’m sharing the news here because as someone who follows WDAV, you are a very important part of this story.

On Thursday, February 24th, while eating my lunch at my desk as I usually do, I got the monthly email informing me that the latest radio ratings report for WDAV was available. I opened it dutifully, prepared to scan it for insights to share with the management team here at the station about how the station performed in January 2022 as far as numbers of listeners, the amount of time they spend listening to WDAV, and when that listening occurs.

I glanced at the first page of the Market Ranker, as the report is called, which lists all the radio stations in the Charlotte region in descending order based on each station’s “share” of radio listening in the area. I found that I had to really focus and look closely to make sure I wasn’t misreading what I saw, because I was completely unprepared for what the ranking showed.

In the most recent ratings report from Nielsen Media, WDAV ranked as the Number 1 station in the Charlotte radio market based on its share of 6.5 percent, with an average of 6,100 listeners tuned in each quarter hour and averaging 102,900 individual listeners over the course of a week.*

This was exciting enough in its own right, because it had never happened before in all the years that WDAV has existed, though in recent years we have occasionally been in the top 10. But the next day, industry publications noted that this was not just a first in our area. It turned out that this was the first time a classical music station has ever led its market in the modern era of radio ratings!

We’re delighted that so many radio listeners in the Charlotte region care about classical music and turn to WDAV to experience it. Public media like WDAV isn’t traditionally driven by the ratings, but this landmark does serve to demonstrate the impact we have in the community, and the special way in which we engage with our listeners. According to this Nielsen survey, on average WDAV listeners spent seven hours and thirty minutes a week with the station – and a significant number of our audience of almost 103,000 individuals spent much more than that! It’s a commitment of time and attention that is in marked contrast to the relationship most people have with radio these days.

It’s very heartening for everyone who works at WDAV, whether on air or supporting our programming behind the scenes, to know that the effort has earned the station this milestone moment. But we are also very aware that without the loyalty of our listeners, it simply would not have happened.

Frank Dominguez

So, I write these words with deep appreciation for your role in WDAV’s ongoing growth over more than four decades. Because of it, we can continue to provide this timeless and enduring music in the coming weeks, months, and years. We truly couldn’t do it without you.

Frank Dominguez, General Manager

*Nielsen Topline Radio Ratings, January 2022, Charlotte Metro, Persons 6+, Monday – Sunday, 6 a.m. –Midnight, Average Quarter-Hour Share and Audience, and Weekly Cume.

Reflections on 9/11

by Frank Dominguez

None of us who experienced September 11th, 2001 will ever forget it. The 20th anniversary of the event this year brings the memories back with special force. Many reflections on this milepost will mention how the world changed that day. For my part, I think of it also as an event that defined in many respects the future direction of WDAV.

On that unimaginable morning, I happened to be on the tarmac at Charlotte-Douglas airport on a flight waiting to take off for Baltimore. I was a newly minted program director traveling to attend my first public radio conference in that capacity. The plane never left, of course. An announcement informed us that all flights were cancelled, and we were directed to leave the plane.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I was annoyed as I entered the skywalk back toward the terminal. Why should all flights be canceled because of an accident? I don’t believe the announcement specified what had happened, but somehow that was the impression I had formed.

It was only as I walked through the terminal, and saw the images on the television screens around which crowds with nowhere to go had gathered, that the unthinkable reality sunk in. When it finally had, I found a pay phone (remember those?) and called the radio station, fired up with the initiative of my newfound status as PD.

At the time, we carried NPR newscasts during the morning and afternoon commuting hours, and my idea was that we should increase them to hourly while the information regarding the events continued to come in. Fortunately for me, our general manager at the time, Kim Hodgson, had something more to suggest.

“I think we have to give some thought to the music,” he told me. I braced myself, expecting Kim to say that we should discontinue our classical music format temporarily to join the continuous NPR news coverage. On the contrary, what Kim proposed was that we adjust the music programming to the circumstances. “People are going to need a break from this horrifying coverage,” he said to me. “We need to give them something calming. It’s not the time for Offenbach’s Can-Can.” I will always be indebted to him for that sage advice.

Over the next week, we strived to provide an oasis from the devastating images with a mix of sacred classical selections as well as introspective pieces. As the days went by and our leaders urged us all to go on with our lives, we gradually shifted back to our usual, upbeat sound. Eventually, even Offenbach returned. But we had been changed.

We put off on air fundraising that autumn as late as we possibly could. When we finally began, we didn’t know what to expect. Instead of resentment or indifference, though, listener/donors responded with exceptional generosity. It seemed every contributor had a comment about how the classical music on WDAV helped them get through the most awful national catastrophe most of us had ever experienced.

While nothing that nightmarish has happened since then, the world has given us all too many shocks in the intervening years, not the least of them the pandemic we’re still living through. And even when things are relatively calm, individual listeners are always experiencing personal calamities, along with the mundane highs and lows that are part of life.

9/11 taught us what an important role classical music plays in the lives of our audience, and the profound responsibility WDAV has in sharing this music with them. That is a lesson that, like the day itself, we will never forget.

Pictured: Main image by © rabbit75_ist via

The Genesis of Concíerto

Frank Dominguez

Frank Dominguez, WDAV General Manager and Content Director, Host, Concíerto

When Hispanic Heritage Month ends in mid-October, it will coincide with an important milestone for me: the 5th anniversary of the debut of my bilingual classical music program Concierto.

Back then I had been working at WDAV for sixteen years, and had never thought of producing such a program. It was our general manager at the time, Ben Roe, who asked me if I was bilingual, and whether I could produce a classical music program in Spanish. My response was, “Sure… but why?”

Ben explained the potential he saw in such a program to attract a new audience based on the demographic trends evident in the region and the country. I set about the task, and the result has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my career.

Even though the idea had evaded me, I knew that classical music was loved by many Hispanics and had always been an important part of their cultures. My parents, who immigrated to this country in 1948 with the equivalent of a grade school education, did not know much about classical music. But they knew enough to tune the radio to WQXR in New York where I grew up, and soon realized how drawn I was to the music as a child.

I also had working class relatives who listened to classical music, like my older cousin Frankie who had a bust of Beethoven in his bedroom. And we had neighbors who were passionate about the music like Domingo, who was a doorman on the Upper East Side, but never failed to buy season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera.

On Concierto we alternate classical music by Spanish and Latin American composers with more familiar fare from the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, but performed by Hispanic and Latino musicians and ensembles. In this way we demonstrate the deep roots classical music has in Spanish-speaking countries. The bilingual presentation adds an element of authenticity, and hopefully announces to newcomers that they are welcome.

Now five years later Concierto is heard on about 35 stations nationwide, ranging from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the San Fernando Valley in California. The feedback we get from listeners is overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Spanish speakers are delighted to hear their cultures represented in a different and positive way, while English speakers are pleased to discover appealing repertory and artists unfamiliar to them.

I would never have imagined it when I started working at WDAV, but I sure am glad.


Listen to Concierto on Sunday evenings at 10:00 p.m. on WDAV Classical Public Radio.

Are you in the Charlotte area? Tune into 89.9FM Classical Public Radio.
Prefer to stream? Listen live at or on Apple and Android apps.

WDAV Gets into Holiday Spirit

The holiday season is a great time to be a part of WDAV, whether you’re on the staff like me or you’re a listener and supporter. First, there’s the wonderful seasonal music. As usual, we will increase the holiday selections as we get deeper into December, and let the holiday feeling linger a little longer by continuing to play Christmas music until the 31st.

There are wonderful special programs we look forward to every year, some of which we produce ourselves. This year we continue our collaboration with St. John’s Baptist Church for another live broadcast of Charlotte Lessons and Carols from St. John’s at noon on December 7th, which we’ll repeat twice more later in the month. Our special guests this year are the choral group Renaissance led by Robert Pritchard and the Wingate University Singers under the direction of Kenney Potter, plus the Ballantyne Brass Quintet. I hope you’ll plan to join us either in the warmth of the St. John’s sanctuary or on the radio.

Many international listener favorites are returning as well, including live broadcasts from King’s College in Cambridge, England and the perennially popular New Year’s Day concert from Vienna.

It all makes for a festive way to bring the year to an end, and to reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish, and what we have in store for the New Year: on air, online and out in the community.

None of it is possible without the support of devoted listeners who become members. So in the spirit of gratitude and optimism that is so appropriate at this time of year, we say thanks to you, and invite you to continue the musical journey with us on into the New Year.

Wishing you all the warmth of the season,

Frank Dominguez
Interim General Manager

***Make sure you check out for details on our upcoming Holiday Programming


WDAV has Olympic Fever

With the Summer Olympic Games starting Friday, the world will be focused on London as athletes from across the world compete for medals in sports from rugby to table tennis. WDAV is turning our focus to the British capital, too. Join us from Friday, July 27 to August 12 for a festival of English music and performers!

The Line Up

FRIDAY: The Opening Ceremonies

  • Our festivities kick off Friday morning with Matt Rogers as he plays each of the Olympic Themes written by composer and conductor John Williams – one per hour of Matt’s program.
  • At noon, Matt brings you the Mozart Café featuring – what else? – Haydn’s “London” Symphony as the main course, plus recipes from Charlotte’s Big Ben Pub.
  • At 5pm, Fred Child hosts Beethoven’s Ninth: Live from London, a special concert to kick off both the BBC Proms – the world’s largest classical music festival – and the London Olympic Games. The broadcast begins with a music-rich pre-game, which includes highlights of the BBC Proms as well as colorful comments from Daniel Barenboim, Olympic athletes, and London locals. Then hear conductor Daniel Barenboim lead the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Beethoven’s last and greatest symphony.

JULY 28-AUGUST 12: The Games

Hear a feast of music by English soloists, conductors and orchestras, and works by composers ranging from William Byrd, John Dowland and Henry Purcell to Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and William Walton.

  • Each weekday at 2pm you can hear a different English Artist Spotlight. We’ll feature a recording by English classical musicians such as pianist Stephen Hough, conductor John Eliot Gardiner, and trumpeter Alison Balsom.
  • Enjoy a different complete symphonic work by an English composer each weeknight on the Symphony @ 7.

It’s a “jolly good show” chock full of English classics from July 27 through August 12.

And keep checking our blog for more Olympic surprises!

-Frank Dominguez
Program Director

Frank Dominguez is Finalist for Radio Personality of the Year

Posted March 9, 2012 – Radio Ink magazine has announced that WDAV’s Frank Dominguez is a finalist for two National Hispanic Radio Awards — Radio Personality of the Year and Programmer of the Year — for his work as producer and host of Concierto. Finalists will be judged and winners will be presented with the prestigious Medallas de Cortez at a ceremony during the Radio Ink Hispanic Radio Conference on March 21st in San Diego.

Frank Dominguez

“I’m humbled by the nominations – and shocked!” notes Dominguez, who launched the weekly show in October 2010. “The conference later this month will give me a great opportunity to meet other finalists, learn from their experiences and strengthen our young show.” Concierto, produced by WDAV Classical Public Radio, is America’s first nationally distributed bilingual (Spanish-English) classical music program that calls special attention to the contributions to the art form by Latin-American and Spanish composers and performers. It has received generous support from the WDAV Listen Live Fund, as well as the Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Concierto can be heard Saturdays at 10 p.m. on WDAV 89.9, and online 24 hours a day at The 24-hour stream is also available via any Android, iPhone, or iPad device equipped with the “WDAV Classical Public Radio” app.

“Hispanic radio is an important part of the overall radio industry and is often overshadowed by mainstream radio,” said Deborah Parenti, Executive Vice President/Radio of Radio Ink. “These awards are designed to give recognition to those who have contributed to elevate the overall reputation, professionalism, and image of Hispanic radio.”

The Medallas de Cortez awards were created by Radio Ink magazine to recognize outstanding achievements and leadership in the Hispanic radio marketplace. They were named after Raoul Cortez, a pioneer in Hispanic radio in America; his image appears on the medal presented to winners. Radio Ink solicited nominations from the industry, then determined finalists based on specific criteria for the selection of nominees.

About WDAV Classical Public Radio

WDAV Classical Public Radio is one of America’s leading producers of original classical-music programming. In addition to producing 156 hours per week for its own broadcast use on 89.9FM, HD-1, HD-2, and channels, the station produces nationally-distributed programs, including World of Opera, Concierto, SummerStages, and, in partnership with ETV Radio of South Carolina, Carolina Live. A service of Davidson College in Davidson, NC, WDAV’s  mission is to make classical music accessible to everyone. The station’s 89.9FM signal reaches a 22-county region centered in the Charlotte, NC metro area and ranging from Rock Hill, SC to Galax, VA. WDAV’s broadcasts can also be heard live online 24 hours a day at and iTunes, as well as on any Android, iPhone, or iPad device equipped with the “WDAV Classical Public Radio” app, or the “TuneIn,” “NPR Music” or “Public Radio Player” apps.


WDAV to Broadcast Christ Church Cathedral Choir Concert Mar 29

Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Oxford, England, begins its 2011 USA/Canada concert tour with first-ever appearances in the Carolinas. On Tuesday, March 29, 2011, the choir performs at Charlotte’s Covenant Presbyterian Church, and WDAV Classical Public Radio will be on-hand to present a live broadcast, beginning at 7 p.m. The next evening, Christ Church Cathedral Choir performs at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, NC. From recordings of these two Charlotte-area concerts, WDAV will produce an Eastertide choral program, to be made available to public radio stations across the country. You can find out more about it at our Eastertide with Christ Church Cathedral Choir page.


Your First Classical Love

What was your first classical love – that first piece of music that “lit your fire” for classical music? Several WDAV staffers share their funny-wacky-touching classical love stories below. Take a listen, and then let us know YOUR first classical love using this form – or by posting your story on the WDAV Facebook page!