The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical Music: Wisconsin Public Radio’s music app is first-rate and gets five stars. The Ear has it, and so should you. Plus, a viola duo performs a FREE concert of music by Bach, Bartok and Stamitz on Friday. | March 7, 2013

ALERT: This Friday from 12:15 to 1 p.m., the weekly FREE Friday Noon Musicale at the First Unitarian Society, 900 University Drive, Alexis Carreon (below top, the personnel manager of the Madison Symphony  Orchestra who also plays viola with the MSO) and Marie Pauls (below bottom), with pianist Stacy Fehr Regehr, play duets for viola by J.S. Bach (Brandenburg Concerto No. 6), Bela Bartok and Carl Stamitz.

Alexis Carreon

Marie Pauls

By Jacob Stockinger

Increasingly Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) is one of the few remaining public radio stations in the U.S that still highly values classical music and devotes many, many hours per day to it.

WPR Logo

And now if you have smart phone or an iPod Touch, you can take WPR with you.

True, you need wi-fi -– not just regular FM or AM radio reception. But wi-fi is increasingly prevalent and popular in both public and private places.

This app (below) helps solve the problem that I have always had with Apple and its FM radio capability, which for some odd reason, Apple includes only on the iPod Nano right now, not on the more expensive and fancier iPhone or iPod Touch, even though the hardware and software required for FM reception can’t be that big or difficult to include. (And how about getting a photo card slot on the smaller Airbook? Seems to The Ear like a bad and short-sighted decision on Apple’s part.)

Anyway, now if you have to interrupt a broadcast to go grocery shopping or do some other task, you can take WPR with you.

Wisconsin Public Radio app

I have spent some time experimenting with the app.

It is generally clear and easy to use, although the “program” screen didn’t list titles at one point, and then did.

The “Live” screen is, I find the most useful. It features the regular channel for classical music and news; the Ideas channel for talk and call-ins; and the 24-hours a day digital music channel. It has a pause, store and catch-up function. And the app also allows you to explore WPR schedules, state news stories and archives.

I used it while waiting in a dentist’s office. Also, recently I used it on a bus to Chicago and then once I was in Chicago when I couldn’t find something else I wanted. It worked great for not only music but also for “The Midday” stories, quizzes and guests with Norman Gilliland as well as “To the Best of Our Knowledge” and Michael Feldman. It also worked for bringing me  syndicated programs from National Public Radio: “Morning Edition,” “Weekend Edition” and “All Things Considered,” to say nothing of ‘The Writer’s Almanac” with Garrison Keillor; “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross; “Exploring Music” with Bill McGlaughlin (below); and “From the Top” with Christopher O’Riley.

Bill McGlaughlin at  microphone

You can download the WPR app for FREE at the iTunes stores for MAC-based devices and at Google Play for Android-based smart phones.

Go ahead, give it a try. You can always delete it you don’t like or it doesn’t meet your expectations.

But I am betting that you will like it and that it will surpass your expectations. The Ear gives the app five stars out of five. If you use it, let me know what you think of the results.

Oh, and there are other radio apps I have that I used to stream classical music over the Internet.

One is the famed WQXR station in New York City. It features live broadcasts from Carnegie Hall that you can also access visa NPR’s blog “Deceptive Cadence.”

WQXR app

Closer to home, you can also try the app for WFMT in Chicago, the home base of Bill McGlaughlin.

wfmt app

Other public radio stations have specialized programs for vocal music, opera, piano music, music history and so on. You can check them out at the various app stores.

Are there radio apps you especially recommend?

The Ear wants to hear – and so, I suspect, do many of his readers.

Let all of us know in the Comments section.



  1. On my iPad I have an app called TuneIn Radio, which streams radio stations worldwide, including those you’ve mentioned plus, for example, BBC4. My home PBS station is WOSU, in Columbus Ohio, which has two stations, one of which is classical music 24/7.

    Comment by Donice — March 10, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

  2. Jacob, thanks so much for your kind review of our free mobile app. We hope others will take your advice and try it out.

    And, for you and all your readers, please share your comments with us by reviewing the app in the Google Play or iTunes stores. Your comments will help us improve the app in the future.

    Comment by Jeffrey Potter, WPR Marketing Director — March 7, 2013 @ 8:52 am

    • Hi Jeffrey,
      Thank you for reading and replying with your invitation for readers to review the app.
      I think it is terrific, better than others I have tried by far.
      But of course, all of these apps will keep getting more sophisticated and useful as the technology behind them advances.
      So the competition never sleeps or ceases.
      Thank you, Wisconsin Public Radio, for helping to bring more music, more news and more human interest feature stories into my life.
      Best wishes,

      Comment by welltemperedear — March 7, 2013 @ 9:14 am

  3. For some time I’ve had an app named just “Public Radio” which streams all the public radio stations in the US, including all the WPR iterations and WORT. It uses the location function to help you find stations near you if you’re traveling, but right now I’m in Madison listening to KQED in San Francisco. The only one that gets iffy is Hawaii. Sadly, classical music programming is missing on most. The best I’ve found is MPBN in Maine — very little chatter, lots of good music.

    Comment by Susan Fiore — March 7, 2013 @ 8:12 am

    • Hi Susan,
      How very interesting!!
      I have never heard of this wonderful sounding mega-app.
      How did you find it or obtain or set it up?
      I am sure I am not the only one who cares or is interested is following your example.
      As always, thank you for writing and for replying so helpfully and insightfully.

      Comment by welltemperedear — March 7, 2013 @ 9:17 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,259 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,315,386 hits
%d bloggers like this: