The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Wisconsin Public Radio will make weekend programming changes starting this Friday, Aug. 17. WPR will add “Sunday Brunch,” a new Sunday morning classic music show; and, on Sunday night, will air “From the Top,” the acclaimed national showcase of young musicians with host-pianist Christopher O’Riley. | August 16, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

Are we classical music fans who live in Wisconsin lucky or what?

Wisconsin Public Radio already provides us with a much higher-than-average amount of classical music than most public radio stations around the country. And now WPR director Mike Crane has announced that, starting this Friday, two more classical music programs will be added.

Here is the official press release that also asks for listener feedback. (The Ear likes the Sunday changes but would still like WPR to air Terry Gross’ “Fresh Air” interviews earlier in the day – preferably mid-afternoon– and not over the dinner hour; and also to air Bill McGlaughlin’s “Exploring Music” as part of the weekday morning music schedule.)

“Beginning Friday, August 17, Wisconsin Public Radio will introduce some changes to our weekend schedule. They include two new programs and new times for some old favorites on our News and Classical Music stations and regular slots for two of public radio’s most popular programs on our Ideas Network stations.

“News & Classical Music Schedule Changes:
Listeners to our News & Classical Music stations will enjoy two new music programs and have the opportunity to hear some of our most popular programs at new times.

“On Saturdays, “To the Best of Our Knowledge” is moving to 6 a.m. Weekend Edition Saturday will continue to be heard 7-9 a.m. followed by a special edited version of Michael Feldman‘s “Whad’Ya Know?” (below) called the “Whad’Ya Know? Radio Hour” at 9 a.m.

“On Sundays, “To the Best of Our Knowledge” will air for an hour at 6 a.m. Weekend Edition Sunday will continue to be heard 7-9 a.m. followed by another hour of “To the Best of Our Knowledge” at 9 a.m.

“Then, from 10 a.m. to noon, we’ll offer a fresh approach to classical music called “Sunday Brunch.”

“Finally, at 8 p.m., we’re adding “From the Top,” a national showcase of young classical performers hosted by classical pianist Christopher O’Riley (below, with a young gues), who is known for his transcription of rock songs by Radiohead, which he has performed at the Wisconsin Union Theater

“At 9 p.m. the overnight classical music will start — an hour earlier than the current schedule.

Ideas Network Schedule Changes
Listeners to our Ideas: Network stations will experience fewer schedule changes, but we think you’ll be just as excited about them.

“On Friday nights at 7 p.m., the second hour of “On Point” will be replaced by the popular story-telling program, “The Moth Radio Hour.”

“On Saturday afternoons, we’re replacing our rotating one-hour specials with the show that made science fun, “RadioLab,” at 3 p.m. Both of these programs have found time on our airwaves in the past, now we’re pleased to offer them as a regular part of our weekend line up.

Let Us Know What You Think 

“We considered a number of options when making these changes – find answers to frequently asked questions on our website.  We are excited about “From the Top,” “Radiolab” and “The Moth Radio Hour” and the new schedule, and we hope that you will tune in and let us know what you think by emailing or by calling Audience Services at 1-800-747-7444.”


  1. I am thrilled that “From the Top” is coming back – great show, so inspiring for young musicians, and Christopher O’Riley is a fabulous host. Glad to see the reduction in air-time for “Whad’ya Know. Airing the show in its entirety twice in the weekend seemed a waste – the show is simply not funny anymore – same old format and bad jokes (“WhaKnow, or WhakNow” ? yuck!) as 20 years ago. Feldman’s bad jokes and uncomfortable pauses were never what I wanted to hear on Sunday evenings. Thank you, WPR.

    Comment by KathyO — August 17, 2012 @ 8:05 am

  2. Good changes. Always glad to have more classical music!

    Paul G.

    Comment by Paul G. — August 16, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  3. […] By Jacob Stockinger Are we classical music fans who live in Wisconsin lucky or what? Wisconsin Public Radio already provides us with a much higher-than-average amount of classical music than most public radio stations …  […]

    Pingback by Classical music: Wisconsin Public Radio will make weekend ... | Music House | — August 16, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  4. On Point, two hours, Yes, Moth Radio Hour, probably not for me. If it’s for kids, I guess that’s OK, they have to get to be part of the audience for the future of WPR.
    RadioLab, no problem. Peter Van DeGraf earlier, that’s OK as well. It seems that whoever was doing the post-Exploring Music slot has lost their airtime. It must be less expensive to have the syndicated thing than put the local person on. WFMT used to have Karl Haas on at the same time as Bill Mc G’s show, perhaps that is a sort of public radio post-dinner tradition.
    Fresh Air, and Exploring Music have fixed timeslots, more or less determined by ATC, I assume. My spouse listens to Feldman, and then to Wait, Wait after that on most Sat’s. I like Bob Parlocha’s jazz on Fri and Sat nights.
    TTBOOK looks like it has gotten a bit of a demotion time-slot-wise. We listen to it a lot. At least there is the Sunday 9 AM slot for “normal” people who are not up at 6AM. Or are they the normal ones…?

    Comment by Michael BB — August 16, 2012 @ 7:51 am

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