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WKSU shakes up schedule with more news

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal pop culture writer

Beginning Aug. 5, WKSU (89.7-FM) will make major changes in its schedule, including the move of classical-music programs from daytime into the evening and abbreviated broadcasts of folk music.

In a statement, WKSU executive director Dan Skinner said, “This combination of news and music is the sound of Northeast Ohio’s future.”

The new lineup reflects efforts by National Public Radio to reinvigorate its news programming — notably by the cancellation of Talk of the Nation and the expansion of Here and Now. It also give WKSU a weekday schedule closer in style to that of Cleveland-based public-radio station WCPN (90.3-FM).

After Morning Edition from 5 to 9 a.m., the new weekday lineup will include The Takeaway, hosted by John Hockenberry, at 9 a.m., followed by call-in show On Point with Tom Ashbrook at 10 a.m., both making their Northeast Ohio debuts. The expanded Here and Now will air at noon, then Fresh Air With Terry Gross in a new time period, 2 p.m. The World takes over the 3 p.m. hour, followed by All Things Considered from 4 to 6 p.m., Marketplace at 6, more All Things Considered at 6:30 and Q With Jian Ghomeshi at 7 p.m.

Mark Pennell’s classical music program, currently in daytime, will move to 8 weeknights, followed at 11:30 p.m. by Nightaire, David Roden’s overnight show. Sylvia Docking’s classical program shifts from its two-hour weekday slot to Saturday and Sunday evenings and overnight.

Other weekend changes include time-slot juggling on Saturdays, more talk on Sundays and the reduction in folk programming from about eight weekend hours to two, a Folk Alley Radio Show at 6 p.m. Sunday.

After the still-in-place Inside Europe, Living on Earth and Weekend Edition, the Saturday order from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. will now be Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me, Car Talk reruns, Whad’Ya Know Radio Hour, This American Life, Fresh Air Weekend (a new show), On the Media, The Regina Brett Show and All Things Considered. A Prairie Home Companion remains at 6 p.m., followed by Docking’s classical-music shows.

The Splendid Table moves from Saturday to Sunday, as part of a new block from noon to 6 p.m. of Car Talk repeats, Wait Wait, The Splendid Table, TED Radio Hour, Snap Judgment and All Things Considered. Those shows replace two classical music programs, while In Performance moves to 8 p.m. Sundays, following the Folk Alley show. Travel With Rick Steves and The Thistle & Shamrock are no longer scheduled.

The station will continue to offer an all-classical and an all-folk lineup via separate channels for online and HD Radio listeners, as well as a separate all-news channel.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal, in the HeldenFiles Online blog at, on Facebook and on Twitter @rheldenfels. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 or