Temple radio to start Philadelphia Orchestra broadcasts

It’s not the restoration of a national radio presence, but the Philadelphia Orchestra will return to regional radio under the terms of a new deal with WRTI-FM.

Starting Feb. 24 and through the end of the season, the Temple University station will begin airing a series of regular Sunday afternoon delayed broadcasts of Philadelphia Orchestra concerts.

Broadcasts will run between Feb. 24 and the end of the 2012-13 season, with re-broadcasts over the summer. The series is expected to resume next season, said David S. Conant, WRTI’s general manager.

But first, this Sunday at 2 PM, WRTI-FM will rebroadcast WQXR-FM’s recording of the orchestra’s Jan. 17 Carnegie Hall performance of Ravel’s La Valse, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, and Leonidas Kavakos in Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 2.

Conant said he has been talking with the orchestra for several years about the radio series, which required the approval of musicians and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

He said the 2 p.m. broadcasts would push aside New York Philharmonic broadcasts and the children’s talent show From The Top, both of which he said he hoped to move to another time slot.

The last concert in the 2012-13 series — a live broadcast on Friday, May 24 at 2 p.m. — features Gil Shaham in Brahms’ Violin Concerto.

The orchestra lost its national radio series in 1990 when Cigna Corp. pulled its funding and the orchestra was unable to find new sponsorship. Since then, it has returned to the national and local airwaves under the terms of various short-term deals.

WRTI broadcasts in Philadelphia, plus Reading, Allentown, Wilmington, Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Ephrata, Lebanon, Mt. Pocono, Wilkes-Barre, Pottsville, Scranton, Ocean City and Coatesville.