Program changes on 91.5
By Ruth Phinney ~ Posted Wed, 05/27/2009 - 2:19pm
With the retirement of Simon Pontin from the Sunshine Show and Salmagundy, we at Classical 91.5 are for the first time in over 30 years having to look at what program content to choose to enhance our classical music service and maintain, and hopefully grow, our audience for the future. As hard as it has been for listeners - and staff - to say goodbye to a dear friend, this is a new era for Classical 91.5 and an opportunity to make our service even stronger for listeners of today - and tomorrow.
Overall, listeners have counted on WXXI-FM 91.5 to be their source for classical music for 35 years -- and that has not, and will not change. But the world of classical music is changing all around us. If WXXI is going to remain a leader in classical public radio, we must recognize these changes and figure out a way of making classical music interesting and accessible to new listeners, while maintaining the reliable content that has satisfied listeners for decades.
As Program Director for Classical 91.5 I believe the secret to success is in keeping some of the old, while introducing some new things. For instance, the birds that have greeted listeners every morning at 6:00 are still heard; and The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor is still on the air, although the Saturday broadcast time has changed to 8:01 a.m.
On Saturday mornings at 8:00 a.m. we have introduced a program that listeners have been asking for for many years -- Performance Today with host Fred Child. Although very different from Salmagundy, Performance Today provides a unique variety of music and interviews, with a focus on classical music. Since Performance Today is a two-hour program, Fascinatin' Rhythm has moved back one hour, to 10:00-11:00 a.m. I know that the changes we make here at Classical 91.5 mean that your listening habits have to change as well, but I do hope you'll give it a try, and let us know what you think.
We are also reaching out to provide more access to our content, with playlists available in a more timely fashion at wxxi.org, podcasts of Julia's artist & "Search for A Star" interviews, and Brenda's RPO Chats with Christopher Seaman... and very soon a "What's playing now" highlight at wxxi.org so you can see what's playing as you listen online. If you use Facebook, you'll notice that there are now Fan Pages for each of our classical hosts, as well as a general WXXI Fan Page. These are just getting started, but you'll want to check them often to find out what your favorite classical host will be highlighting. Give it a try and let us know what you think!