What is changing at witf-FM?
witf-FM 89.5 and 93.3 will change to an all news and information format throughout the day and overnight. The Board of Directors unanimously approved the change on June 1. The all news-information service will start Monday, June 25, 2012.
Why is witf making this change?
We believe that witf can provide more public service in our region by providing high quality national and regional news and information than by presenting recorded classical music. In the past decade, the quantity of quality journalism, especially in broadcast platforms, has declined. NPR and witf have an established track record of providing trusted news globally, nationally and regionally.
The new witf format emphasizes our coverage of "all things regional," from our Capitol bureau chief (Mary Wilson), from our arts and culture desk (Joe Ulrich and Cary Burkett), from our news reporter/hosts (Craig Layne, Megan Lello and Tim Lambert) and from StateImpact PA reporter on energy (Scott Detrow).
Why did you cancel classical music on 89.5 and 93.3?
Making witf-FM a news and information service makes witf more relevant and valuable to our listeners. Because radio is a format-driven medium, a single-format radio station is also consistent with how listeners use radio. But classical music will still be provided (see below), and we will be increasing our coverage of the arts and cultural events, performances and personalities.
witf cherishes the tradition of classical music that has been a part of our service since 1971, and we do not make this decision lightly. It is part of a carefully considered strategic plan.
How can I access classical music?
We will be increasing the amount of classical music by providing it via witf.org--a 24/7 classical music internet channel available anytime, and anywhere you can get an internet signal. Internet radio listening is increasing on mobile devices, in cars, and from tabletop internet radios. Here's how to access it:
- Listen Live web page
-witf Classical stream (RealPlayer, iTunes, Quicktime, Winamp)
- witf Classical stream (Windows Media Player)
witf has an iPhone app and will soon have an Android app, to make mobile listening even easier. witf Classical will be available on both iPhones and Android in August.
What about the Harrisburg and Lancaster Symphonies, and other classical groups?
witf 89.5 and 93.3 will continue feature performances by our region's own performing and presenting groups, including the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and Market Square Concerts. These concerts, called Center Stage, will broadcast on Saturday and Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. Center Stage will also showcase other musical groups and genres, such as jazz and folk. We will celebrate and promote the region's musical creators and performers.
What are the new programs, and what programs are going away?
New weekday programs are the Diane Rehm Show, Here And Now, Talk of the Nation, On Point, The Story and the BBC World Service. New weekend programs are The Splendid Table, On Being, Marketplace Money and our new local concert series Center Stage.
Programs no longer in the schedule are: Classical Air, Music Through the Night, Only a Game, The Metropolitan Opera, Echoes, From the Top and Thistle & Shamrock.
How do you know this is what listeners want?
Arbitron, which provides statistically valid listener data to radio stations nationwide, has measured witf's audiences. From 5 am to 11 pm weekdays, with the same number of news and classical hours, there are twice as many listeners for news programs as for classical music. Specifically, there are 105,300 news/information listeners and 55,600 classical listeners. Source Arbitron; Total Market; 12+; Average Fall 2008-Fall 2010.
In late May 2012, witf conducted an online survey of witf's most frequent listeners (931 listeners completed the survey).
In summary then, not matter how the questions are asked, for most questions there is about a 3-to-1 level of support for news and information compared with classical music.
Was this decision a cost-cutting measure, as witf has made in the past?
This is a public service issue; it is not a cost-cutting measure. There are no layoffs associated with this decision and we expect our programming costs to stay about the same. We do expect listening and contributions to grow as a result.
What about coverage of theatre, visual arts and other cultural institutions in our region?
The "all things regional" approach strengthens witf's coverage of the arts and culture in the region by devoting two of witf's most experienced producers to a new Arts and Culture desk. Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich (hosts of Classical Air) will produce profiles, interviews and segments about personalities, events and issues in the world of music, visual arts, theatre, museums and literature.
Where is my favorite program? How can I find out what's on, when?
Most of your favorite programs are still there, some at different times. You can see the entire new schedule HERE.
How can listeners express their views about the format change?
Listeners are encouraged to send their comments to
or call us at 800-366-9483 or 717-704-3000.
Support for witf is provided by:
Support for witf is provided by: