Despite my recent fuss over two major college radio stations being sold off and turned into “popular classical” stations, I do not hate classical music. No, it is by no means my first listening choice especially while driving and I don’t collect a lot of it. Still, there are times when it fits the time or mood, so I like to always have a few good streams available of well-staffed stations that will explain this music about which I don’t know nearly as much as I do “classic rock” and oldies (and, I like to have multiple choices so I can avoid the one area of classical music that I don’t like…opera).
My project to again go through all of the world’s English language radio stations that stream online to pick out the really good ones has been proceeding, albeit slowly. I found this one several weeks ago and had planned on waiting to highlight it until I had a few more to add to my Radio page. With my research now half complete with nothing else to add (plus wanting to make sure nobody believes that I think good classical music outlets are not desperately needed on today’s North American radio dial), I though it would be a good time to go ahead and highlight this station.
As usual with me, it is something extra about this station that has attracted me to it besides its usual format and playlist (which are indeed excellent). Of most note in this case is not a musical program but, instead, spoken word.
For many years, the legendary Studs Terkel called WFMT in Chicago his radio home. His daily show ran from 1952 to 1997 where he interviewed a vast array of people from musicians of all types to politicians, writers, activists, architects, and anybody else that Terkel found interesting (and ol’ Studs found almost everybody to be interesting in one way or another).
Even though the show ended long ago and Terkel died in 2008, he was such a big part of Chicago and WFMT in particular that the station continues to keep him around on their schedule. Almost every Friday night at 10:00 PM US Central Time, The Best of Studs Terkel runs for an entire hour with views and comments that are often just as timely today as they were when they were first broadcast.
While that program is what I am highlighting in this entry, don’t misunderstand that it is the only good thing about WFMT. This is a station with a whole stable of knowledgeable hosts and a fantastic sounding stream. It is definitely deserving of being among the few other classical music stations that I recommend.