Classic Mornings

The Classic Mornings Market Report


No, it’s not what you think, though I had thought about it for a moment or so.  I imagined a daily program: a classical music version of one of those business news magazines on radio. It would relate the weekly box office receipts for major orchestras as well as for superstar soloists and conductors. There would be stories about contract signings, record company mergers and all sorts of features on topics like the asking prices for priceless violins and cellos or the fluctuations in factory orders for recorders, guitars and metronomes.

The more I thought about it, I realized that those topics might be of interest once in a while – and indeed, there are publications in which you can read about some of them on a regular basis. I’m not sure that it would translate into inspiring radio. For one thing, listeners are more interested in hearing the music that results from (or survives) all that goes on in the music business.

I did make it my business to head out to the Market at the Square in Urbana a number of times this summer – twice to spend a bit of time at the Illinois Public Media booth. That’s one opportunity to meet some of our listeners and viewers. It’s also a marketplace of sights and sounds of the community – part of it, anyway.

So, what do I have to report?  Visitors seem to be drawn to the orange and blue Illinois Public Media pens. Some would take one of each, some just one or the other color. I didn’t undertake even an informal study to determine which was the preferred color. Little people, not old enough to be excited about the pens, were indeed excited about Daniel Tiger stickers. 

Those were warm days when I was there. If nothing else, we could offer passers-by a momentary shelter from the sun or a chance to sit for a few minutes while entering their names into the drawing for a stainless steel mug. I’d love to have been able to offer them the shade of an age-old Urbana tree.  I imagined serving some of them a cup of tea, but they seemed just as pleased to take with them a Downton Abbey souvenir tea packet.

No, there was no waiting line to talk about Classic Mornings. I could only wonder if any of those passing by were either occasional or regular listeners.  From our location at the market we were able to hear a number of musicians playing anything but classical music. Yet I’m aware that those who tune in for the program listen to all sorts of music. I gladly would have chatted with them about their likes and dislikes. Instead, I let so many more people speak to me with their their t-shirts, tote bags, and tattoos.

A high school student at a neighboring booth shared stories about a being a part of a club that designs robots and engages in competitions with other such clubs. They had on display a robot that supposedly flings Frisbees an impressive distance and with such accuracy that the discs can land inside a targeted basketball hoop. Little did the student know that just his story about the robot would find its way into a classical music radio host’s blog.  His enthusiasm made me wonder about someone many decades ago sharing the excitement of building an electronic apparatus that would enable people to listen to stories and music that travel via airwaves.

I did get to speak with a number of listeners and viewers. As you might expect, many expressed enthusiasm about the WILL stations. And some offered the kind of criticisms that can only come from fans of a variety of programs. It’s good to hear a bit of all of that. That’s why we’re out there. And it’s just a small part of our listening to you. We hear from you on the telephone, online and at various live events throughout the year – like the market.

While the market visitors came in search of produce, baked goods, or just the Saturday morning open air, I came away with impressions – in addition to some of those other goodies.  As I watched people searching for something special, deep down I knew that during the week, when they came to listen to WILL-FM, I’d give them something special on Classic Mornings.

Are you in the market for great classical music and for stories and celebrations to go along with it?  Be sure to join us for Classic Mornings Monday through Friday from 9-noon, with the Classic Morning Prelude just before at 8:50 on FM 90.9 and online at