Anyone reading this blog at 5AM definitely gets an answer to their question... !! A reader/listener asked how programming the show is put together. My show is one of 4 in the United States that programs over 80% opera, art song and vocal music. (if there are more, I would love to know about them).
First, an explanation of the station is in order, which will comprise Part 1 of this entry.
WHFR is a "college alternative" station - its station charter and FCC liscence require that the station ONLY plays music that cannot be heard elsewhere in that market. So the programming is a lot like the weather in Michigan - just wait a few minutes, and it will change.[sic]
Most shows at WHFR are 2 hours - mine is 3 hours long 1 day a week, and as most opera listeners know...that is not enough time to play a complete opera. No one at the station is allowed to have a show over 3 hours - the concept is to provide as many "students" as possible the opportunity to experience radio broadcasting.
I say "students", because some of the hosts are well into their 30's/40's, but there are quite a few who are 19, 20 and still students full-time at the college. To become a host, you are required to take a class in radio technology, which mostly covers FCC rules and how to run the equipment. Then you "graduate" and if your show meets certain guidelines, you get to host a show. There are roughly 40 hosts at the station right now. I am also the Classical Music Director.
Some of this may be tongue-in-cheek, but what it means is roughly every 2 hours, the format changes. Because it part of the station charter, I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THIS. I have to emphasize this because every week I get complaints when the opera ends and indie rock begins. There is a lot of indie rock, free-form jazz, local blues, video game music, hip-hop/rap,soundtracks, psychobilly, techno and yes...opera/classical.
Please also keep in mind that everyone at this station (with the exceptions of the Station Manager, General Manager, and Operations Manager) is a volunteer. We are our own board ops, we do all the prep work, and as long as we stay within the charter, we have a modicum of freedom with programming...
and so this ends Part 1...