Counting to 10
The timing of it all was rather amusing. I had just completed a week-long workshop in San Francisco on the use of sound in radio productions. In my remaining hours in that city, I was determined to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, which I did. And I decided I wanted to see a movie in an old big-screen California movie theatre.
Just before the previews and the film, there was an overwhelming display of sound effects along with the visual logo for the famous company - based in San Francisco - that designed the sound system. That was followed by a message spelled out in big-screen letters: THE AUDIENCE IS LISTENING.
I never forgot that. That had been one of the points of the workshop, which was intended primarily for those producing radio documentaries and news features. Yet it became one of my guiding principles in working as a classical music program host and producer.
I still like to visit old movie houses. But I wasn’t in theatres when I learned a few other radio lessons, most recently from hosting the first 9 years of Classic Mornings.
THE AUDIENCE FOR CLASSICAL MUSIC IS MADE UP OF ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE. I have heard from music professors and performers. But I also have spoken with those who were introduced to pieces of music for the very first time and rather surprised that they actually were listening to and enjoying classical music. I have chatted with U of I students and Saturday morning market patrons who are avid listeners. During the annual visits to Campbell Hall by 4th graders from throughout the area, I’ve come to learn that some of them or members of their families are listeners. I always ask them if they play an instrument, sing, dance or write. And I encourage them to do that as well as listen.
THE AUDIENCE IS INTERESTED IN LEARNING. Listeners tell me they enjoy the bits of information I provide, not to mention the mix of well-known and lesser-known pieces of music and performers. I imagine they could be anybody from students to trivia players and aspiring game show contestants to life-long learners or just inquisitive folks.
THE AUDIENCE IS IN SEARCH OF GREAT MUSIC. I can tell when listeners are trying to track down a piece that they consider to be more than just a nice tune. You can hear it in their voices on the telephone or see it in the way they suddenly become poetic when they describe it in an email message. It’s clear they’ve discovered music that really connects with them!
THE AUDIENCE IS LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING A GOOD TIME. Radio is an entertainment medium. I’m a radio listener as well. I enjoy and look forward to the companionship of particular radio hosts and spending time with them.
Given all of that, I wanted to make the 10th year of Classic Mornings, which began on April 1st, a year-long celebration. Why should one day represent what each day is supposed to be! So in case you weren’t listening on April 1st, don’t worry about having missed the 9th anniversary/launch of the 10th year. There’s a lot more to come each weekday morning. Though we’re closing in on a decade of Classic Mornings, I’d prefer to think of it as the beginning of the 10th year of our getting together for a few hours one morning at a time to listen to great music, with stories and celebrations tossed in.
Oh, and before I forget, there’s one more thing I’ve learned: THE AUDIENCE IS APPRECIATIVE. The response during fund drives for Classic Mornings has been amazing. And with our 3rd annual WILL Marathon coming up on Tuesday, April 16th and coinciding with the beginning of the 10th year of the program, it ought to be quite an event.
I invite you to tune in all year long for Classic Mornings, Monday through Friday from 9-noon on FM 90.9 or online at will.illinois.edu. And please be a part of another successful WILL Marathon on April 16th. I’ll give you the telephone number and email address in advance so that you have it handy: 217-244-9455 or willpledge.org. Thank you for your support – of Classic Mornings and WILL-FM!