Photo: Jesse Costa/WBUR
WFIU’s schedule is changing soon, as we both move a few programs to accommodate the return of some familiar fare, and add some new shows we think you’ll love.
Starting Monday, July 1, we’ll pick up Morning Edition at 5 a.m., and all our hourly newscasts will come from NPR. Beginning the weekend of July 6, we’re adding a number of programs to our Saturday afternoon lineup: a repeat airing of This American Life at noon, followed by Ask Me Another, Wits, and The Dinner Party Download.
Sundays will change as well. At noon, you can hear a repeat airing of Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!, followed by two new shows, Fresh Air Weekend and Vinyl Café. Sundays will become the year-round destination for opera with World of Opera each Sunday evening at 6.
We’re also returning two longtime favorites to the program lineup, both in new locations: Living on Earth will appear at 7 on Saturday mornings before Earth Eats, and The Thistle & Shamrock will follow A Prairie Home Companion Saturday evenings at 8.
Parts of the weekend lineup of our digital-only WFIU2 are also changing.
About the new programs
Ask Me Another is a new NPR show featuring puzzles, word games, and trivia played in front of a live audience in New York.
Ask Me Another’s mélange of brainteasers is a descendant of Weekend Edition Sunday’s puzzle segment with Will Shortz, infused with the quick wit of Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!. Listeners play along, testing their knowledge of history, geography, literature, grammar, spelling, pop culture and even mathematics along with the competitors called up to the stage.
The host is comedian and storyteller Ophira Eisenberg, who guides listeners with witty banter aided by the comedic riffs and songs of house musician Jonathan Coulton.
Each episode features an interview with a Very Important Puzzler—a notable actor, comedian, or author whose identity is revealed via puzzle clues throughout the show), who then takes a turn in the contestant’s chair facing trivia games written especially for him.
Unafraid to do math on the radio, the show might include questions such as: “What is the total number of Brontë Sisters plus the total number of Marx Brothers?”
Wits brings world-class comedians, actors, and musicians to the stage of the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn., where host John Moe gives them and the audience the time of their lives.
Both a throwback to the radio’s golden age and also wholly modern, Wits mixes improvisation, sketch comedy, conversation, and music. Past guests have included Paula Poundstone, W. Kamau Bell, Patton Oswalt, Colin Hanks, Kathleen Edwards, Rufus Wainwright, and Ben Lee.
The Dinner Party Download is a fast and funny hour of unconventional news, cuisine, and culture intended to help you dazzle your friends at this weekend’s dinner party. Hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam recently have welcomed writer Dan Savage, actors James Franco and Jessica Walter, and musicians Fitz and the Tantrums.
Fresh Air Weekend is an anthology of Terry Gross’ best recent interviews.
Vinyl Café, from the CBC, is a Canadian cousin to A Prairie Home Companion, written and hosted by Stuart McLean. The name “Vinyl Café” refers both to the show’s musical content and the fictional record shop owned by McLean’s character Dave.
A popular segment of the program is the “Dave and Morley Stories.” As written and read by McLean, they describe the misadventures of a fictional Toronto family consisting of Dave, his family, and several pets.
Opera returns to Sunday evenings on WFIU when we welcome back World of Opera to our program lineup after an absence of several years. As we say goodbye to Saturday afternoons live at the Met, World of Opera becomes a consistent source of opera on WFIU for 52 weeks a year. The program’s host is Lisa Simeone.
Why we’re replacing the BBC and the Met
Though we’ve been paying a hefty fee that entitles us to unlimited BBC World Service programming, we have been using only an hour each weekday at 5 a.m., and two newscasts each weekday. A looming 30% cost increase in BBC fees caused us to rethink our use of the service. We decided it would be a better investment of our listener dollars to expand our commitment to our most expensive and most-listened-to program, Morning Edition.
Replacing the BBC Newshour and the two weekday news updates also reinforces our commitment to be south-central Indiana’s primary source for news from NPR. BBC World Service programming will continue to represent one-third of our broadcast week on our digital-only WFIU2 channel.
The Metropolitan Opera, while offering world-class performances to public radio stations for free, poses challenges to stations and their audiences: The operas can begin and end at wildly different times, disrupting programming on either side; the Met forbids broadcasts outside of Saturday afternoons; and the program service is available for only half the year.
Despite these challenges, we have chosen to stay committed to broadcasting opera, choosing for the first time in memory to invest listener dollars into opera programming.
We hope you enjoy both opportunities you’ll now have to take in an opera each weekend: Sunday nights at 6 on the main channel, and Saturday afternoons at the familiar time of 1 on WFIU2.