It was announced in September that production of Performance Today and SymphonyCast, NPR's flagship classical music programs, would shift from NPR's Washington headquarters to those of APM in St. Paul; distribution of the programs should increase from the current 230 local radio stations with the addition of the 15 stations in the Minnesota Public Radio system.
Performance Today, which with more than one million listeners is the most popular classical radio program in the US, broadcasts concert excerpts in a wide range of classical genres from various ensembles throughout the United States. It also offers interviews, news and features. SymphonyCast presents complete orchestral concerts from prominent American ensembles, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as top European orchestras.
In recent years many US public radio stations have been reducing airtime for classical music or eliminating it from their schedules altogether in favor of news, features and talk programs. This trend has alarmed classical music lovers, but the stations generally report that their listenership increases in the wake of such changes.
American Public Media, however, has been increasing its classical music offerings, producing Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra concert broadcasts and distributing performances from the likes of the BBC Proms and the Music@Menlo festival. The network also offers Classical 24, a 24-hour/7-day feed of programming available for broadcast by member stations as they wish.
As American Public Media increases production and distribution of classical radio programming, NPR is concentrating on offering music digitally. The latter network is at work on developing a comprehensive online platform for distributing music programs digitally — classical and other genres as well. According to yesterday's statement from the two networks, APM has agreed in principle to participate in NPR's new digital service.
Sarah Lutman, APM's senior vice president of content and media, said, "American Public Media's mission is to share the finest classical music offerings from around the around with audiences on the radio and online ... We are absolutely delighted Fred Child is staying with the program. His experience with leading artists and ensembles around the world and lively on-air presence have informed and inspired millions of classical music listeners everywhere."