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WFMT To Launch New 'Exploring Music' Website

On Monday, May 6th, the WFMT Radio Network will launch a new website for fans of that network's internationally syndicated show "Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin." The subscription website will allow classical music enthusiasts to search through and stream hundreds of hours of archived programming from McGlaughlin's award winning show.

The new website, ExploringMusic.org* will contain approximately 500 hours of the "Exploring Music" program, all available for on-demand streaming -- well more than half of the nearly 850 hours that have been produced. Each week, even more hours of programming will be added to the website.

Subscribers can search for shows, not chronologically, but rather by the McGlaughin-picked theme of a given show. Sometimes the shows are dedicated to just one composer, such as Bartok or Ravel, while other times they will be more thematic, such as "Artists in Exile," "Czech Out Those Bohemians," "Piano Concertos," or "Music in the Time of War."

After selecting a multi-hour show to listen to, subscribers will notice that the stream contains a blue line across the bottom of the player, as well as smaller red sections. The red sections let the user know where to jump right to where host McGlaughlin is eloquently speaking, while the blue areas mean music. Listeners can also choose between two different sound qualities: 320kps (the default) or 64kps(for slower/lesser Internet connections). Of course, the player also gives the listener the ability to adjust the volume, play, pause, fast forward, fast rewind, or skip ahead to the next hour's program.

Additionally, the website offers a Discussion page for fans can leave comments, background information on the show and its host, a page describing the educational benefits and uses of the website for instructors, and much more.

It was listener demand that caused this website to be created. In many of the 7,000 emails the show has received since it went on the air in 2003, listeners have been wanting to know how they can listen to shows they missed or re-listen to shows they loved. ExploringMusic.org finally answers those requests.

Steve Robinson is the General Manager of WFMT-FM and the WFMT Radio Network, as well as being the founder and Executive Producer of "Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin." Said Robinson this week: "The website, like the show, is unique. There's no place else to hear thoroughly researched commentary, thoughtfully curated music, and Bill McGlaughlin's engaging manner of demystifying classical music."

Robinson spoke proudly of the new website, noting how it is a technologically advanced mix of old and new media, which will also advance the show's nearly decade-long mission of classical music education. Like the show itself, ExploringMusic.org aims to attract listeners and music students at all levels of musical sophistication.

The subscription plans run from $2.00 for a single five-hour themed show (purchasers may return to the website and re-listen to that same five-hour show as many times as they want, with no expiration date), $7.00 for a monthly membership (unlimited access to all streams for 30 days), to $50.00 for an annual membership, allowing the user unlimited access for an entire year. As a bonus, those who sign up for an annual membership quickly will be considered "charter members" and given a free second year of unlimited access. Institutional subscriptions are being made available for schools and colleges.

Non-subscribers will be able to search the archives and listen to the first seven minutes of any hour-long show at no charge.

According to Robinson, the subscription revenues will help fund the website and the production of new radio episodes. The initial funding for the new website came entirely from private donations.

Host Bill McGlaughlin describes the new ExploringMusic.org website as an audio "treasure trove" -- the type of collection he wished he had access to when he was growing up in his native Philadelphia, where he was a frequent visitor to the public library looking for information on the music he loved.

"It's astonishing to look back and see the body of work we've explored in our ten years on the air," McGlaughlin says. "It's the answer to a dream for our fans and for everyone who works on the show."

The radio program "Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin" launched nationally in 2003 and will be celebrating its 10th anniversary later this year. The daily one-hour show explores a single classical music theme over five straight nights. McGlaughlin, who lives in New York, records his commentaries at local classical station WQXR-FM. His voice tracks are then downloaded by the "Exploring Music" producers at Chicago's WFMT, where the shows are edited, assembled, and distributed to affiliate stations.

"Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin" now airs on 55 radio stations across the country and world to a weekly audience of more than 400,000 listeners. Locally, it is heard on WFMT-FM 89.7 each weeknight at 7:00pm.

Among the many honors the show has won include the Lifetime Achievement Award from Fine Arts Radio International in 2004 and the Association of Music Personnel in Public Radio Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

* = Please note that the link for ExploringMusic.org will not go to the correct website until it officially launches on Monday May 6th.

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