On-Air Highlights

Christmas Specials on Radio

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Dec 2, 2015 10:27 AM

WITF is your soundtrack to Christmas with a variety of spoken word and music specials.  Enjoy classical music as well as more contempoary pieces.  With the exception of Morning Edition and All Things Considered, all regular programming has the day off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Enjoy!


December 23

9:00am - 10:00am - Tinsel Tales Three - Audie Cornish, Ken Harbaugh, Nina Totenberg and other voices from NPR's past and present tell stories of the season in this hour-long special. Some tales are funny; some are touching; some are insightful or irreverent or nostalgic or surprising. You might recognize them from our broadcast archives -- or you might fall in love with them for the first time. Hosted by Lynn Neary.  Repeats at 7:00pm. 

December 24

9:00am - 10:00am - Tinsel Tales One -  This program features stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk -- these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

10:00am - 12:00pm - A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols - Hosted by Michael Barone, this is a live service of spoken-word and music (choral and organ) broadcast from the chapel of King's College in Cambridge, England. The 30-voice King's College Choir performs the legendary Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service of Biblical readings and music.

12:00pm - 2:00pm - Messiah With the PSO - Handel's much adored oratorio, Messiah, returns to Heinz Hall! Led by Music Director Manfred Honeck and featuring a cast of guest vocalists and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, this work is a religious story of hope, inspiration and timeless expression.

2:00pm - 3:00pm - Tinsel Tales Two - NPR fills millions of homes each holiday with humor, warmth, and a host of festive voices. Continuing with the tradition of the first Tinsel Tales program, this is another collection of the best and most requested holiday stories. Joy, hope, and childhood memories overflow as NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

3:00pm - 4:00pm - Song Travels: Home for the Holidays - Join Michael Feinstein for an hour of yuletide cheer and music. This edition of Song Travels journeys from Hollywood's vintage silver screen to New York City's iconic Birdland club. The Michael Feinstein Big Band performs selections from the classic movie White Christmas, and Feinstein shares rare recordings from some of his favorite performers.

//All Things Considered and Marketplace 4:00pm - 7:00pm//

7:00pm - 8:00pm - Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Join the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir, accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square, for their annual Christmas concert.

8:00pm - 9:00pm - A Chanticleer Christmas - Featuring holiday favorites, new and old, presented live in concert by the superb 12-man ensemble known as "an orchestra of voices."

9:00pm - 10:00pm - Welcome Christmas - The perennial Christmas favorite from VocalEssence, one of the world's premiere choral groups, led by Philip Brunelle. Join host John Birge for an hour of traditional carols and new discoveries.

10:00pm - 12:00am - St. Olaf's Christmas Festival - A service in song and word that has become one of the nation's most cherished holiday celebrations. Tickets to the event - which takes place at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN - are always gone months in advance. The festival includes hymns, carols, choral works, as well as orchestral selections celebrating the Nativity and featuring more than 500 student musicians in five choirs and the St. Olaf Orchestra.

December 25

12:00am - 1:00am - The Canadian Brass: Christmas Time is Here - Featuring arrangements of music by Vince Guaraldi and Luther Henderson as well as traditional favorites from "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman" and more - timeless classics infused with jazz and lush harmonies.

1:00am - 2:00am - A Handel & Haydn Society Christmas - Celebrate the season with this hour-long special featuring Christmas choral music from America's oldest continuously performing ensemble, Boston's Handel & Haydn Society.

2:00am - 3:00am - Jazz Piano Christmas - NPR Music brings you another classic concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Hear a variety of virtuoso pianists play unique renditions of holiday favorites. Hosted by Felix Contreras.

3:00am - 5:00am - A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols -  Hosted by Michael Barone, this is a live service of spoken-word and music (choral and organ) broadcast from the chapel of King's College in Cambridge, England. The 30-voice King's College Choir performs the legendary Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service of Biblical readings and music.

//Morning Edition 5:00am - 9:00am//

9:00am - 10:00am - Welcome Christmas -  The perennial Christmas favorite from VocalEssence, one of the world's premiere choral groups, led by Philip Brunelle. Join host John Birge for an hour of traditional carols and new discoveries.

10:00am - 11:00am - Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir -  Join the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir, accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square, for their annual Christmas concert.

11:00am - 12:00pm - Christmas with Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs - One of the great holiday traditions in America, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges -- two of the most prestigious historically black institutions in the nation -- get together to present a spine-tingling concert program. This encore presentation features the best works of the last several years. It's a joyous celebration of the schools' tradition of singing excellence, with their trademark mixture of spirituals and carols. Korva Coleman hosts.

12:00pm - 2:00pm - Wheatland Chorale - The Wheatland Chorale, one of Central PA's finest vocal ensembles, presents a Christmas concert around the theme of "Mystery to Joy". Led by Artistic Director Eric Riley, the group performs a wide array of choral gems ranging from the Renaissance to modern day. Of special note are familiar carols arranged by contemporary Norwegian composer, Ola Gjeilo, as well as his own setting of "O Magnum Mysterium".

2:00pm - 3:00pm - Pink Martini's Joy to the World: A Holiday Spectacular - The internationally acclaimed "little orchestra" Pink Martini bedecks the airwaves with festive holiday songs from across the globe. From timeless classics to rarely heard gems, hear a multi-denominational, multi-cultural jubilee, overflowing with enough holiday spirit to warm your entire family. Hosted by All Things Considered's Ari Shapiro.

3:00pm - 4:00pm Hollywood Holiday - Join Lynne Warfel for an hour of holiday movie music that ranges from the sentimental to the completely cranky. From "White Christmas" and cozy homes for the holidays, to Grinches and Scrooges, Hollywood Holiday takes in your favorite holiday movies from a musical point of view.

//All Things Considered and Marketplace 4:00pm - 7:00pm//

7:00pm - 8:00pm - Jonathan Winters' A Christmas Carol - An updated version of a public radio tradition hosted by NPR's Susan Stamberg. Master comedian Jonathan Winters presents a distinctive reading of Dickens' holiday classic, with a special performing edition prepared by Dickens for his own presentations. Also featuring Mimi Kennedy.

8:00pm - 9:00pm - Tinsel Tales One - This program features stories from the NPR archives that touch on the meaning of Christmas. David Sedaris, Bailey White, John Henry Faulk -- these and other NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

9:00pm - 10:00pm - Tinsel Tales Two - NPR fills millions of homes each holiday with humor, warmth, and a host of festive voices. Continuing with the tradition of the first Tinsel Tales program, this is another collection of the best and most requested holiday stories. Joy, hope, and childhood memories overflow as NPR voices, past and present, tell stories of the season. Hosted by Lynn Neary.

10:00pm - 11:00pm - Tinsel Tales Three - Audie Cornish, Ken Harbaugh, Nina Totenberg and other voices from NPR's past and present tell stories of the season in this hour-long special. Some tales are funny; some are touching; some are insightful or irreverent or nostalgic or surprising. You might recognize them from our broadcast archives -- or you might fall in love with them for the first time. Hosted by Lynn Neary

11:00pm - 12:00am - Pink Martini's Joy to the World: A Holiday Spectacular - The internationally acclaimed "little orchestra" Pink Martini bedecks the airwaves with festive holiday songs from across the globe. From timeless classics to rarely heard gems, hear a multi-denominational, multi-cultural jubilee, overflowing with enough holiday spirit to warm your entire family. Hosted by All Things Considered's Ari Shapiro.

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