WUSF ditches classical in favor of all-day news & buys Sarasota station for classical

08/04/10 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

A major shake-up on the radio airwaves in Tampa Bay was announced today. WUSF, 89.7 FM announced that it will no longer play classical music on its main station and will move to an all news and public affairs format during the daytime.

WUSF has purchased a Sarasota FM station, WSMR 89.1, that will become an all-classical music format on September 15.

We spoke with JoAnn Urofsky, WUSF’s general manager.

"We're very excited to have purchased WSMR 89.1, in Sarasota. And on September 15th, we will put classical music programing on that station 24 hours a day. And WUSF 89.7 change to an all news and information format, with jazz overnight."

"And that's beginning September 15th , as well?"

"Right. Everything changes on September 15th."

"I saw a line-up of your weekday news programing, from 5 in the morning until about 10 at night. It will be news and public affairs. What about your weekend schedule? Is that going to stay the same?"

"No, the weekend schedule changes as well. And we'll have some new programs in there, such as Parent's Journal and People's Pharmacy, on Saturday mornings. We'll still continue with Weekend Editions, Saturday and Sunday, and Car Talk and Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me. We're going to move up This American Life till noon time. And we have a new program that's been on our HD2 channel, called Snap Judgment, that I think people are really going to like. And a lot of others."

Why don't you run through the weekday programing because that's where a lot of the big changes are happening. If you could tell us some of the new programs you're bringing in? One of them, our listeners will be familiar with. You'll playing Fresh Air at noon every weekday?

"Exactly. Starting at 5 in the morning, we have Morning Edition from 5 till 9. BBC News Hour at 9 a.m. The Diane Rehm Show for two hours, from 10 a.m. till noon. Fresh Air at noon. Tell Me More at 1 o'clock. 2 o'clock, Talk of the Nation. We'll have The World at 3p.m. At 4p.m., just as it is now, we'll have All Things Considered, followed by our usual evening line up of All Things Considered from 4-6 p.m., Marketplace at 6 o'clock, then at 6:30 p.m., BBC News Monday through Friday, with the exception of Tuesday when we have our public affairs show Florida Matters. At 7 p.m., we'll re-air Fresh Air. At 8 o'clock, we have a program from the CBC, called Q. At 9 o'clock, we have The Story, and at 10 o'clock, it's all-night Jazz."

"One of the things we've known from our listener surveys is that a lot of people listen to both of our stations. A lot of people listen to WMNF and WUSF, and some people switch back and forth depending on when there's news. How do you think that this might effect listener-ship on WMNF?"

"Well, I'm hoping that more news in the marketplace will encourage people to listen to all kinds of news, and make their decisions on what they think for themselves. I think it will be very complimentary."

"Our staff is very excited about it. I'm very pleased to do this without losing any staff members. Unfortunately, we won't gain any staff members, so we'll all be working a little bit harder. But I think everybody's getting used to that anyway."

This Sarasota station, many people might not be familiar with it. What's the range of that station?

"The range is [that] it covers all of Sarasota County, Manatee County, most of Charlotte County, it reaches south into Lee County, just a little bit, and it will be north into Pinellas and portions of Hillsborough. We probably won't have as much signal on the north ends, which would affect Pasco County, and north of that, and also Polk County. But we are going to investigate a translator that would help extend that signal, so that people in those areas can hear the station."

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Love your station! Look forward to the extended news and info. format coming next month. THANK YOU!