On a recent Monday evening, WKAR classical music hosts Mark Schwitzgoebel and Jody Knol, along with radio station manager Peter Whorf, met up with WKAR listeners at an East Lansing pizzeria to talk about classical music on the air and in our community in mid-Michigan.
It was the second time this month that WKAR listeners had a chance to get together with the folks who play the music they like to hear. Whorf says one of the more interesting things he has been hearing is a continued interest in a variety of music from WKAR.
"Not just classical, but also continued interest in jazz and folk music programming. Will it continue? Which it will," says Whorf. But the most important issue for many of those he meets at the gatherings is maintaining classical music on FM radio in mid-Michigan.
"Our listeners are concerned that there is an ongoing commitment to [classical music]. Since there are not the choices that used to be there. And at the same time, there's real encouragement for what we're doing and where we're going. People are aware that we're going to be creating more local classical music programming. There's huge support for that," he says. "So there a mix of support for keeping classical music on the radio, creating local classical music programs, hearing live performances."
The classical conversations gatherings also offer the fun of reconnecting with radio family. "And that's what I think Mark and Jody are," says Whorf. "People feel very attached to these hosts as friends and companions and people who are sharing a love and interest in music. There's lots of hugging."
WKAR listeners will have another chance to meet with Peter Whorf and WKAR hosts and staff on November 13, at Schuler Books in Eastwood Towne Center in Lansing.