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WPR's News & Classical Schedule Changes
On Monday, January 14th, Wisconsin Public Radio will make some changes to the schedule on its News and Classical Music stations to provide better service to listeners.
On weekdays, the afternoon news block will expand until 7 p.m. to provide news for listeners who commute later in the day. On Saturday evenings, WPR will extend Higher Ground with Jonathan Overby an additional hour, to 11 p.m., followed by Jazz with Bob Parlocha.
With these changes, Wisconsin Public Radio listeners will enjoy an extra hour of NPR's All Things Considered in the afternoon. Currently, the popular NPR news program runs from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. The new schedule will extend the program from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and allow more listeners to stay connected to the latest local, national and global news stories that affect their lives and communities. The afternoon news block will conclude with Marketplace from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The additional hour of news on weekday evenings will shift other programs to later in the evening. Fresh Air with Terry Gross, which currently airs at 6 p.m., will now air from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. And Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin, which currently airs at 7 p.m., will now air from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Overnight Classical Music with Peter Van De Graaff will now start at 9 p.m.
No programs are being cancelled or replaced with these changes - only the scheduled start times are changing. While we are making slight reductions to our music hours, WPR remains committed to both classical music and jazz programming.
* On Friday evenings, Exploring Music will be followed at 9 p.m. by Riverwalk and Jazz with Bob Parlocha.
** Listeners to WHAD - WPR's Ideas Network station in Milwaukee - will also enjoy an additional hour of Higher Ground with Jonathan Overby on Saturday nights. However, the program will be followed by Tent Show Radio at 11 p.m. on that station only.
We are excited about the new schedule and hope that you will tune in and let us know what you think. Please listen and share your thoughts with us by emailing Listener@wpr.org or by calling Audience Services at 1-800-747-7444.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about these changes
Why are you adding an extra hour of news in the afternoons?
All Things Considered and Marketplace aren't just some of our most popular programs, they are also some of the best sources of news and information available. Some listeners have requested an additional hour of All Things Considered for their late afternoon commutes. Our audience research also suggested listeners would be better served with a longer news block in afternoons. Whether commuting by car or cooking at home, the expanded schedule provides more opportunities for listeners to stay connected to the news and issues that affect their lives. Expanding news in the afternoon allows us to showcase the work of NPR reporters around the world and WPR's award-winning news staff.
I really loved (Marketplace/Fresh Air/Exploring Music) at the old time. The new time makes it harder for me to listen to these shows, what can I do?
Any schedule change can take some getting used to and we hope you'll continue to listen at the new time. If you just can't adjust
your schedule, consider listening online, via your mobile device or through the podcast. Here are some options:
Fresh Air: Available for online listening any time at npr.org/programs/fresh-air, via the free podcast in the iTunes Store and on the free WPR app for mobile devices under the "Programs on Demand" tab. Fresh Air online is presented chronologically, with each interview segment separated. You can listen to past shows as well.
Exploring Music: Unfortunately, Exploring Music at wfmt.com/exploringmusic is not available for online listening or download because of concerns over music rights.
It seems like there have been a lot of changes at WPR lately, why is this?
Wisconsin Public Radio has a wonderful audience of more than 450,000 listeners each week and, while we're proud of those numbers, we are committed to serving more listeners throughout the state. We do not take changes lightly and will only make them after a careful review of listener feedback and evaluation of audience usage patterns.
Audience numbers aren't the only way we measure service, but they are an important tool we use to identify opportunities for improvement. Over the past year, we've been evaluating our work, reviewing listener comments, learning from our colleagues in public broadcasting across the nation and developing strategies to help us serve more listeners.
In addition to changes in our program schedule, like the additional hour of All Things Considered, our strategy includes investments in new technologies - like the WPR app for smartphones and tablets - and increased marketing to audiences around the state.
WPR has a long history of innovation and enjoys a national reputation for high standards and a commitment to serving our audiences. As we continue to make changes to our schedule, one thing that won't change is our commitment to those high standards and service.
Can you tell us what other changes you're planning?
At this time our focus is on weekday afternoons. We may make additional changes in the future, but we're not ready to comment on those yet. Rest assured, any changes we make will be thoughtful and designed to provide the best programs at the most convenient times to listeners around the state. We understand that changes can be difficult. We take your feedback seriously and will use it as we evaluate the effectiveness of these changes.
As part of our new program strategy, we made changes to the weekend schedule on both the Ideas Network and News & Classical Music Network this summer. With our News and Classical Music stations, we are always sensitive to the needs of listeners who appreciate both news programming and our music content.
If we find the changes are not serving listeners well, we will make adjustments. Your feedback now is useful as we evaluate this decision. We hope you'll continue to listen and agree that WPR is the best place in radio for unbiased news, thoughtful conversation and inspiring entertainment.
Why are you starting Classical Music with Peter Van De Graaff one hour later?
We are committed to sharing classical music broadcasts with listeners. Classical music continues to be an important part of our service. In addition to the music we offer each day on our News & Classical Music stations, we have a 24-Hour Classical Music Service available on HD radio, online and via our mobile app.
And, if you enjoyed listening to classical music at 8 p.m. and haven't tried Exploring Music with Bill McLaughlin, we hope you'll give it a try. It features both wonderful classical music performances and engaging stories about the people behind the music and the times in which they lived.
I'm a big fan of jazz, why are you reducing the weekend hours for jazz on WPR?
While the current changes will reduce the hours of jazz programming on WPR, we continue to explore new jazz programs on our News and Classical Music stations. For example, we are exploring the idea of offering some of our regional jazz programs to a statewide audience. If there are any jazz programs that you'd like to hear on WPR, please let us know as we consider more options for jazz listeners.
While it's not a jazz show, we encourage you to give Higher Ground with Jonathan Overby a try on Saturday nights. Each week host Jonathan Overby offers a thoughtful mix of music with African roots and more. The program will start its new expanded schedule on our News & Classical Music stations (statewide from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) on Saturday, January 19th. It can also be heard at the same time on WHAD in Milwaukee.
For questions or comments about our programming, call Audience Services