“The Road to Higher Ground” Host Dr. Jonathan Øverby poses with fans at a WPR community event.

On May 20, all of WPR’s 38 stations will shift format to either WPR News or WPR Music. Most listeners will be able to hear both services where they live, but you may need to reset your radio to get the programs you want. In Milwaukee, WPR Music will replace The Ideas Network on 90.7 FM.

We’ve compiled a list of answers to frequently asked questions on a wide range of topics below. If you don’t see an answer to a question you have, please contact our Audience Services team at feedback@wpr.org or 844-266-7724.

Trouble finding a station? Explore our “Ways to Listen” page for how to listen on your radio, online, with your phone, smart speaker, HD radio and more.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where can I see the new program schedules for WPR News and WPR Music?
A: You can find statewide schedules for WPR News here, and for WPR Music here.

Q: Where can I find the list of stations for WPR News and WPR Music in my city?
A: You can find station maps and an alphabetical listing of stations for WPR News and WPR Music here.

Q: I don’t have the radio station I wanted to hear. Is there another way for me to listen to WPR News and WPR Music?
A: WPR has a growing base of listeners who don’t own radios or who prefer to listen on their computers, mobile phones and smart speakers. All of your favorite programs on WPR News and WPR Music are available online at wpr.org, via the free WPR mobile app and on your smart speaker regardless of your location. When you listen online, you can hear “The Larry Meiller Show” in Milwaukee or anywhere in the state and you can hear “Chapter A Day” any time you want.

Visit www.wpr.org/ways-to-listen for instructions on getting the WPR app, listening online or using a smart speaker.

Q: Where can I listen to WPR on HD radio?
A: HD radio broadcasts a high quality signal but requires a new receiver with HD radio technology to work. Many new cars offer it, but it did not catch on when it was released more than a decade ago. We are encouraging people to use online audio instead of HD because it is easier to find for most people, but if you prefer listening over the air, HD radio could be an option for you. Find links for HD radios you can buy online at HDRadio.com.

WPR currently operates four HD radio stations in Wisconsin:

  • 90.7-2 HD Radio – WPR News in Milwaukee
  • 88.7-2 HD Radio – WPR Music in Madison
  • 91.3-2 HD Radio – WPR News in Highland
  • 90.9-2 HD Radio – WPR Music in Wausau

Q: Why are things changing?
We are constantly evaluating our service to the people of Wisconsin and, like others in public media, WPR saw changes in broadcast and digital audience behavior during and after the pandemic.

Most of our listeners are already choosing to listen to just news and information or just music content. Combining our news and talk services into WPR News and creating an all new classical service on WPR Music will make it easier for more people to find and enjoy the programs that they want.

WPR’s remarkable 107-year history was made possible by people in the past who responded to changes in media and the needs of our state. All of us are stewards of WPR today. We take that responsibility to heart and with these changes we can ensure a bright future for WPR and continue our service to the people of Wisconsin.

Q: How did you decide which stations would be on which network around the state?
A: Our goal was to provide both WPR News and WPR Music to as many communities in the state as we could. In Milwaukee, where WPR only has one station, we chose to put on WPR Music. Decisions about other stations were influenced by the technical limits of our system of transmitters and repeaters and by our contractual obligations to broadcast affiliates around the state. WPR and ECB engineers worked closely with leadership and partners to develop the maps you’ll find here.

Q: How did the station decide on this particular course of action?
A: These decisions were not made lightly and were discussed and vetted in a thorough process over a 12-month period starting in the fall of 2021. The work included data analysis, audience research and insights from experts in public and commercial broadcasting around the nation.

All of the planning work was completed in consultation with the partners that make up Wisconsin Public Radio: UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Public Media unit, the Educational Communications Board and the non-profit Wisconsin Public Radio Association.

In the end, final decisions on the recommendations were made by Executive Director of Wisconsin Public Media at UW-Madison Heather Reese, Executive Director of the Educational Communications Board Marta Bechtol and Director of Wisconsin Public Radio Sarah Ashworth.

Q: Did the station conduct any audience research and try to find out what the public wanted?
A: During the fall and winter of 2022-23 we worked with Jacobs Media Strategies to gather input from broadcast and online audiences, supporters around the state, business sponsors and others. We conducted focus groups, a survey focused on technology use and a large sample general survey open to anyone.

Audience input is essential to our planning processes, that’s why our survey invitation was sent to more than 51,000 people in our email list, aired statewide on both of our broadcast networks, posted at the top of our website and boosted with ads on Facebook and our daily email newsletters. More than 6,000 people responded, our highest response rate on record. We are grateful to the thousands of people who shared their input.

While those surveys are now closed, you can provide your feedback on the changes by emailing feedback@wpr.org or at 844-266-7724. All feedback will be shared with station leadership.

Audience data will continue to influence future decisions we make about the kinds of content we offer on air and online even after these changes are made on May 20.

Q: What is happening to Larry Meiller, Kate Archer Kent and Rob Ferrett?
A: On May 20, “The Larry Meiller Show” will be expanded to two hours and WPR will launch a new, weekday morning news and culture program called “Wisconsin Today.” Co-hosted by Kate Archer Kent and Rob Ferrett, “Wisconsin Today” will cover current and emerging issues with a decidedly Wisconsin point of view each weekday morning at 9 a.m. on WPR News.

Q: Why are you moving “Chapter A Day” to the evening?
A: We are incredibly proud of “Chapter A Day’s” history – it is the third longest-running broadcast radio program in the world – and so we didn’t make this decision lightly.

We have aired a repeat of “Chapter A Day” at night for many years and it has always done well for us. Listeners have told us that they sometimes miss episodes during the day because of work and other commitments, while the nighttime broadcasts have helped them wind down for a good night’s sleep.

After May 20, listeners will actually have more access to “Chapter A Day” than ever before. It is now going to be heard on both WPR networks for the first time: on WPR Music at 7 p.m. and on WPR News at 9:30 p.m. each weekday.

WPR is also going to make episodes available online BEFORE they are available for broadcast each weekday so listeners can continue to hear it via wpr.org and on their smartphones at 12:30 p.m. if they would like. By listening online, you can start a new habit, listening to the latest episode of “Chapter A Day” while walking their dog or working out in the morning at 6 a.m. or anytime you want.

If you have questions about how to listen to WPR online, visit www.wpr.org/ways-to-listen

Q: I don’t have the internet or prefer to listen on the radio, why is WPR telling me to listen online?
A: We love the radio, too, that’s why we continue to offer more Wisconsin radio content to more people in Wisconsin than any other station in the state.

We are promoting online listening because we have a growing audience who either don’t own radios or who prefer to listen on their computers, mobile phones and smart speakers. It also allows us to offer another way for listeners in Wisconsin – and around the world – to access and enjoy our content. If you’re able, we encourage you to consider online listening because it will allow you to get everything you love on the radio and even more WPR content.

Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission offers help in finding affordable and discount internet programs for people on a limited income. You can find that on the PSC’s website here: https://apps.psc.wi.gov/InternetDiscountFinder

Q: Are any programs being canceled?
Yes, although the number of programs ending is limited and no paid hosts or producers are being let go – in fact we’re hiring an additional classical music host in Milwaukee as part of these changes.

“The Morning Show” and “Central Time,” currently heard on WPR’s The Ideas Network stations, will end so Kate Archer Kent and Rob Ferrett can focus on “Wisconsin Today,” the new show they are co-hosting on WPR News at 9 a.m. weekdays.

Syndicated programs “1A Plus,” “As It Happens,” “Q” and “Milk Street Radio” are among a handful of national programs that will no longer be heard on WPR stations after May 20.

We are also sunsetting three regional programs heard for one hour each week: “Route 51” in Wausau, “Simply Superior” in Superior and “Newsmakers” in La Crosse. Those hosts will continue to work at WPR and produce and host weekly local segments that will air during “Morning Edition.” These segments will be phased in beginning this summer, they will not begin on May 20. This change places our regional coverage in front of our largest audience during “Morning Edition.”

Three late night music programs hosted by volunteers in Green Bay will also be sunset on May 20, they are “The Blue Side” hosted by Mary Flynn, “Beyond the Barrier” hosted by Chris Kuborn and “Kalihweyo’se” hosted by Chris Powless. We are grateful To Mary, Chris and Chris for their dedication, service and time over many years.

Q: Why did you choose to put WPR Music on in Milwaukee instead of WPR News?
A: While WPR News will not be available on the radio in Milwaukee, all of its programs – including “The Larry Meiller Show,” “Wisconsin Today,” and other news and information content – will continue to be available in Milwaukee and around the state via wpr.org, the free WPR app and on smart speakers. If you have an HD radio, you can hear WPR News on 90.7-2 HD. Learn more here.

While we discussed the possibility of putting it on 90.7 FM in Milwaukee, we chose to put on classical music because WUWM already offers the city the most popular NPR programs, including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” We wanted to offer listeners in the area more choices. Duplicating the programs of WUWM would not have provided more choices to people in Milwaukee.

We have also heard from Milwaukee listeners for years that they want us to bring classical music radio back to the city and this will do just that. We think they will love what they hear. WPR Music on 90.7 FM will be the first full-time classical music station in Milwaukee since the commercial station WFMR changed formats in 2007.

Q: Does this mean you won’t have news coverage in Milwaukee anymore?
A: Not at all. In fact, our Milwaukee bureau is our second largest news team in the state. Our interim news director is based there and Alex Crowe will continue to host our statewide broadcast of “Morning Edition” from our Milwaukee studios. Milwaukee will continue to be part of our statewide news.

WPR and NPR hourly news breaks will continue to be heard in Milwaukee on WPR Music 90.7 FM. And all of our news programs, including “Wisconsin Today,” and articles will be available to stream or read on wpr.org and the free WPR app.

Q: Why is WPR Music focused on classical music?
A: Interest in classical music remains strong in Wisconsin and across the country. Audience numbers for classical music at WPR – and other stations around the nation – have been stable or growing as more listeners from all age groups appreciate what it offers compared to more mainstream music. We will also continue to offer some of the best jazz, world and folk music on the weekends.

Beloved WPR hosts Stephanie Elkins, Norman Gilliland, Lori Skelton, Ruthanne Bessman, Dr. Jonathan Øverby and Sile Shigley will keep you company day and night with beautiful, expertly curated music and performances you can’t find anywhere else. We will also be adding an evening host in Milwaukee, stay tuned for more on that later this spring.

Q: Will I hear any news on WPR Music?
A: Yes, WPR and NPR hourly news breaks will continue to be heard during our classical music programs on WPR Music. And, all of our news programs and articles will be available to stream or read on wpr.org and the free WPR app.

Q: I’m a sponsor, how will this affect me?
If you are a client with on-air sponsorship ending before May 20, 2024, these changes will not affect your contract with WPR. Learn more about the benefits of WPR sponsorship here.

If you are a client with on-air sponsorships running May 20, 2024 or beyond, our business sponsorship team will reach out to all affected clients personally. We will work with clients on a case by case basis to adjust their current contracts and help them reach their desired audience and sponsorship goals on WPR News, WPR Music and WPR’s digital platforms.

If you haven’t heard from us, please email David Newman at David.Newman@wpr.org or call 920-562-5269 and he will connect you with your representative.

Q: Is WPR facing financial difficulties?
A: While changes in the economy have affected WPR like other media outlets, no hosts or staff are being laid off as part of these schedule changes. The organization is in good financial shape.

Q: I’m excited about these changes, how can I support them?
A: That’s great to hear, we’re excited too! You can always help us by spreading the word. Let your friends and family know that you love WPR and encourage them to listen on their radios or online.

Listener support is our single largest source of funding and we couldn’t produce the news, information, music and entertainment programs you rely on without it. Make a gift at wpr.org/donate or contact us about including WPR in your estate plans or becoming a business sponsor.