Fans of classical music need turn their dials no further than 89.1 FM this weekend, when KHOI will air its first slate of classical programs.
Roger Berger, a retired Iowa State University professor, will lead the station’s venture into another genre with his show “Saturday Afternoon Opera,” which will air weekly from noon to 3 p.m.
Berger said his programs, which will present excerpts from his favorite composers’ work, would span the different epochs of opera’s development.
He’ll play music by such time-honored composers as Puccini, Monteverdi, Bizet and Wagner, whom he said are among the form’s “big guns.” But he won’t hesitate to feature more recently composed music, such as that of the contemporary composer John Adams.
“Everything’s fair game,” he said. “Opera is by no means a dead art form.”
KHOI Music Supervisor Andi Smith expects classical programs to air until 6 p.m. every Sunday. (Their precise beginning times will be determined by that date.)
“About three hours of that is going to be baroque music,” Smith said. She added that music from the so-called classical period (which followed the baroque) would be heavily featured.
“Our inaugural classical music program Sunday will be Mozart,” she said. “We do know that there’s a large listening audience for classical.”
KHOI won’t restrict its classical broadcasts to weekends alone. Beginning Sept. 17, a two-hour broadcast of classical music will air each weekday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Smith said the choice of WOI 90.1 to cease its classical broadcasts encouraged the station to embrace a new genre.
Speaking of the change, Smith predicted KHOI would “fill that void” created by WOI’s programming decision.
“I’m really grateful to be able to fulfill the demands and desires of the classical listening audience,” she said.
Nate Logsdon, Smith’s fellow music supervisor and president of the KHOI-sponsored label Maximum Ames Records, said he would welcome the classical programs the station will play. He doesn’t think he’ll be the only one to do so.
“A very big section of listeners will respond positively,” he said.
In an interview Wednesday, he urged knowledgeable listeners to approach the station if they wished to host classical music programs. At present, KHOI lacks many hosts familiar with classical music. Until hosts are available, the station will rely on automated playlists.
“We are here to serve the community,” he said. “If you hear classical music on KHOI and you are inspired to become a part of our radio station, you are invited to do so.”
Update (2:22 p.m.):
KHOI Program Coordinator Urusula Ruedenberg reports that a program called "Baroque and Beyond" has been added to the broadcast schedule for Sept. 17. Hosted by Michael White, it will air from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.