If you live in the Chicago area you certainly know about WFMT Radio and its programming. And if you don’t, than let me share with you the history of this legendary station.
A division of WTTW11, WFMT made its debut on Chicago’s airwaves in December of 1951. Founders Bernie and Rita Jacob’s vision was to create a station they themselves could enjoy, respect, and share with others. Their goal was to create a station with programming that would strive to entertain, engage, and above all, respect its listeners with a quality and variety of programming they hoped would be found nowhere else.
While virtually every other radio station in Chicago has changed format or call letters, WFMT has indeed remained dedicated and stands alone in presenting the best of classical music and other fine arts programming. WFMT’s reach extends way beyond Chicago’s borders, a significant benefit in helping the station reach the broadest possible audience, for what increasingly is a declining market.
Through the WFMT Radio Network and its Beethoven and Jazz Satellite Networks, the station offers broadcasts of major symphony concerts, grand opera, drama, mainstream jazz, and folk music to over 650 outlets in the U.S. and around the world. Pretty darn impressive reach for a radio station focused on classical music and fine arts programming, especially when funding for this kind of offerings is increasingly hard to find.
Like most radio stations, carefully selected recorded music makes up most of WFMT’s broadcast hours. Unlike most radio stations, WFMT devotes enormous resources to live and taped presentations by performing artists. Yesterday, in between listening to auditions for a competition for The Union League Civic and Arts Foundation, I chatted with one of the judges Steve Robinson, General Manager for WFMT Radio. Steve shared with me a new program WFMT launched just recently called: Introductions, celebrating the Chicago region’s most talented pre-collegiate classical musicians.
Saturday mornings from 11:00 am to noon CT, soloists and small ensembles perform live in WFMT’s Levin Performance Studio, while larger bands, orchestras and choruses are recorded at their home locations. With demographics aging, focusing on developing a younger following, WFMT’s move into this market offers up all kinds of opportunity for those seeking exposure in the development of their careers.
So, if your in high school or just entered college and live or go to school in the Chicago area, here is a chance to get on WFMT and start promoting your work and artistry. Trumpeter, Daniel Taubenheim, a sophmore at Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest, IL and the high school winner from the Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Competition, as well as the young adult winner, flautist, Madeline Christenson, a sophmore at Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL, will both appear on this program in the near future.
While winning a competition or being a featured soloist with a performing group certainly may make it easier to get on the program, you can visit the main Introductions page to join WFMT’s social network page and read about what others are saying about this new show. And if you don’t live in the Chicago area, call up the general manger of the station in your area that is focused on the fine arts and share with them what WFMT is offering to its listeners!