Classic Mornings

Tricky Treats


What if the ritual was the other way around? What if the treats were disguised rather than the people dressed up in costumes anticipating the treats?  And what if in the end, even with a bagful of treats, none of the ghosts, goblins or even superheroes could begin to find the ones they’d been hoping for because the packaging and labels had been completely changed? What a trick, right?

Well, brace yourself. It seems to be more and more like that when you attempt to purchase a CD of a classical music selection you’ve heard on WILL-FM.  It’s almost like navigating the contents of a large candy assortment without one of those enclosed “maps” or wondering whether you’re looking at the map upside down.

There have been some major corporate mergers and acquisitions in the recording industry in recent years. As a result, the company labels and/or catalog numbers of many recordings have changed. A selection that once appeared with certain other selections may now be part of an entirely new compilation. Or it may be available only in a boxed set with quite a few other CDs. I can understand how some listeners might just forego the treat and simply hope to hear it again on the air sometime soon.

I’m sort of in the middle of all of this, which is why I’m mentioning it to you. Those of us who host the local programs enter the information that appears on the playlists, which you can view online at our website. We have the assistance of an NPR computer program with a huge database. There’s the option of using the information supplied in that database, altering it or simply adding our own for each selection.

I choose a little of each option, depending upon the selection I’ve played. If I’m not sure that the selection as re-packaged and listed in the data base is actually the one I’m playing, I will enter the information of the recording that’s in the Friends of WILL Library. Or if the only listing is for a 100 CD set, I likewise will enter the information of the recording in front of me. That may not be as helpful as knowing the most recent CD which includes the particular performance. But the basics are there – what was played and who played it. That’s what most listeners want, either while a selection is playing or afterwards.

At some commercial websites, there are used CDs available. So if I’m providing outdated information, it may still be helpful in locating those. Otherwise, it may take a little detective work to locate a recording of the selection. In some cases, you’ll have to make a decision as to whether you want to spring for a boxed set of 5,10, 20 or 100 CDs – there are some sets with that many CDs! 

It might help you to know that sometimes the recording date can be a key piece of information – i.e. when it was recorded, not the release date.  A recording may have been issued several times over the decades and the online release date may well refer to the most recent one. The best place to find the recording date is the booklet that accompanies the CD. But if you don’t have the booklet, you’re at the mercy of online listings.

For some, it’s as simple as finding a site that allows you to download just the track you want. Even if they don’t give you the chance to sample it beforehand, you’re not losing that much if it turns out not to be the performance you heard.

In the end, know that you always can contact us for assistance. It has made my day when I’ve assisted a listener in finding something that they heard on Classic Mornings which originally made their day!

There are plenty of musical treats that I “hand out” to the listeners in central Illinois each morning. The only trick is to tune in to be able to enjoy as many as you’d like. Join me Monday through Friday from 9 to noon on FM90.9 and online at