BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC STATION Phoenix 2003 - KBAQ-FM 89.5
The digital age has given classical and chamber music its best-ever recording quality and fidelity, yet the masters are still getting the short shrift by technology. With LED display push-button car stereos and receivers tuning in whatever signals aren't putting up too much of a struggle, it's near impossible to find a station in Phoenix that gives a flyin' fugue. The only way we found listener-supported classical KBAQ-FM 89.5 (or "K-Bach") was to get a cheap portable radio with a turn dial that sweeps across the airwaves like an old broom that knows where all the corners are. And we had to scan counterclockwise from right to left -- the other direction got us stuck in a frequency that merged a Tejano station with Bible-thumping evangelists. But were we ever delighted to catch Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem Opus 48" in its entirety at a late morning hour where you'd be lucky to hear the long version of "Light My Fire. " And we heard Schubert, Dvorák and Chopin, all without radio edits. As for specialty programming, the noon lunch hour offers a daily Mozart Buffet, 5 p.m. drive time is occupied by NPR's Performance Today, and live symphony simulcasts at the stroke of 7.