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WWFM The Classical Network Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary


WEST WINDSOR, NJ:  WWFM The Classical Network will mark its 30th anniversary on Sept. 6, 2012, celebrating a tradition of broadcasting great music to a region that has expanded to cover more people than any other classical radio station.

Operating as a service of Mercer County Community College, The Classical Network has delighted listeners for more than three decades with a variety of music spanning close to 1,000 years -- from the Middle Ages to the present. The programming reflects the diversity of music brought by its hosts -- Broadway and show tunes on The Dress Circle (WWFM’s longest-running show, now in its 28th year), hosted by Ted Otten and Michael Kownacky; piano masterworks on The Piano Matters with author, pianist and Juilliard instructor David Dubal; interviews with musicians on Cadenza, hosted by David Osenberg; and a spotlight on current issues and trends in the performing arts on A Tempo, with Rachel Katz. (For a full list of shows, see the attached.)

“Mercer County Community College is so pleased that WWFM The Classical Network is part of our campus community,” said MCCC President Dr. Patricia Donohue. “In addition to being a wonderful cultural asset in the region, the station provides abundant learning opportunities for our students, our listeners and all of us."

WWFM’s analog and digital broadcasts can be heard throughout Central New Jersey, along the New Jersey shore, in eastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley region and, via satellite, in Steamboat Springs, CO. The station’s signal expanded to New York City through digital radio at 89.9 HD2 in December 2011 and to Philadelphia at 89.5 HD2 in July 2012. The Internet, which includes a live stream of both the classical and jazz stations, has attracted listeners from across the U.S. and abroad, including from England, the Netherlands, Brazil and Singapore.

WWFM has developed deep relationships within the region’s arts community.  The station has worked with ensembles, artists and performance venues in our listening area, including the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Princeton University Concerts, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College whose concerts are broadcast as part of the Celebrating Our Musical Community series.  With the station’s entry into New York and Philadelphia, these partnerships have expanded to include the 92nd Street Y, Trinity Church Wall Street, and Le Poisson Rouge, among others, allowing WWFM to offer exclusive broadcasts of world-class performances throughout the week.  WWFM also presents performances by the next generation of musicians from institutions including the Manhattan School of Music, The Curtis Institute and Westminster Choir College in its Celebrating Our Musical Future series.

The station introduced YOU-Tunes, an online initiative to support young musicians, in March at http://www.wwfm.org/youtunes/index.html.

WWFM began broadcasting on Sept. 6, 1982, presenting both classical and jazz programming.  By the mid-90s, WWFM chose to devote itself solely to classical music, and by the early 2000s was broadcasting around-the-clock.  In the fall of 2008, the station brought back jazz programming through JazzOn2, which broadcasts on WWFM’s digital HD channel 2, providing music to an even more diverse listenership throughout the Princeton and Trenton area. The MCCC student station airs on the HD channel 3.

JazzOn2 offers a variety of jazz ranging from Dixieland to fusion, delivered by volunteer hosts from the community. "Long-term listeners will recall that in eveningtide the music at WWFM would swing uptown to jazz from 6 p.m. to midnight,” said JazzOn2 Program Manager Winifred Howard.  “September 2008 marked a return to jazz, this time as one of three new HD channels in the WWFM network, HD2.  Jazz on HD2, hence our nickname, JazzOn2, was reestablished to reflect the Trenton area's rich jazz history and current jazz scene; and to encourage the youth to stay in school, and admonish each one and all, to never lose your muse."

“WWFM is a force for music education for all, sophisticated listeners and novices alike,” said Stephanie Lewis, a WWFM sustaining member.  “In a world in which classical music is disappearing from schools and from the airwaves, WWFM brings access to classical music to listeners of all levels.” 

As a public radio station, WWFM relies on committed and consistent supporters, who enable the station to survive and expand, even during the most recent recession. “Even after 30 years, WWFM is a mere youngster among surviving full-time classical stations. That makes the challenge of sustainability a bit more daunting,” says General Manager Peter Fretwell.  “But every time a WWFM listener becomes a member, every time a member becomes a sustaining member, every time a member includes us in their estate planning, we get a step closer to being a sustainable arts institution.”

As part of its year-long celebration, WWFM will hold special events for its members, as well as special musical projects such as a “Thirty to Watch” series focusing on up-and-coming artists who are the future of classical music.

More information is available at wwfm.org and JazzOn2.org.


WWFM The Classical Network, P.O. Box 17202, Trenton, NJ, 08690
wwfm.org; (609) 587-8989

Specialty Programs from WWFM The Classical Network


A Tempo  - Rachel Katz explores trends and challenges facing the performing arts, such as how the changes in the economy, technology and social trends are impacting the arts.


Cadenza  - David Osenberg sits down with world-class artists – from the long-established to the up-and-coming – to talk about their music and careers.


Celebrating Our Musical Future  - Israel Herman presents concerts by college and youth ensembles, including the Manhattan School of Music and the Curtis Institute.


Distant Mirror  - Allan Kelly samples works from the colorful tapestry of early music, from Medieval and Renaissance music to early Baroque.


Half Past - Carl Hemmingsen explores music written in the past half century, including orchestral, solo and chamber works.


In a Broadway Minute  - Philadelphia Inquirer theater critic Howard Shapiro provides pithy, entertaining reviews of Broadway shows and insights about theater trends.


            Indivisible by Four  - Carl Hemmingsen examines the repertoire of chamber music, from Baroque to contemporary works.


Living Well  - Jennifer Vose offers food for thought, personal stories, and thoughtful suggestions for becoming and staying active, managing stress, and other topics relating to living well.


New Releases  - Bill Zagorski brings listeners highlights of recently released CDs, ranging from new recordings of classic masterpieces to debuts of contemporary works.


            On the Wind -Israel Herman takes a look at the breadth and variety of music written for wind instruments and ensembles.


            Picture Perfect - Ross Amico (and occasional guest hosts) features the great music written for the silver screen.


            Sounds Choral -  Marjorie Herman explores the vast repertoire of choral and vocal music, covering both sacred and secular music.


Strictly Vinyl  - Bill Zagorski samples recording gems from the era of LPs, many of which remain unavailable on CD.


            The Dress Circle  - Ted Otten and Michael Kownacky feature the best of Broadway and beyond, with an insightful and lighthearted look at stage music.


            The Lost Chord - Host Ross Amico takes a look at unusual and forgotten repertoire, including an eclectic mix of the overlooked and the extraordinary.


The Piano Matters - Pianist and author David Dubal highlights the range of piano repertoire in performances by some of the greatest pianists of the last century.


Webcasts of these programs can be found at http://wwfm.org/webcasts.shtml.


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