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New Orleans Public Radio Restores Classical Music To The FM Dial

Classical 104.9 FM hosts James Arey (left) and Jack Hopke.
Kenneth Lass
Classical 104.9 FM hosts James Arey (left) and Jack Hopke.

WWNO 89.9 FM New Orleans Public Radio has begun broadcasting classical music on a new radio station, Classical 104.9 FM. With the launch of this twenty-four-hour all-classical station, New Orleans becomes the only Gulf Coast community between Houston and Tallahassee where music-lovers can hear classical music on FM radio anytime throughout the year. Classical 104.9’s signal is expected to reach standard FM radios throughout New Orleans, the Eastbank suburbs, and the major Westbank communities.

New Orleans Public Radio will continue to transmit classical music on WWNO HD2, available in metro New Orleans and the Northshore via HD radios, and beyond via internet at The program schedule and content will be the same on 104.9 FM and HD2.

“We have been waiting several years for the opportunity to restore classical music to the FM band,” said WWNO General Manager Paul Maassen. “New Orleans is one of America’s oldest centers of classical music performance, and a community where all kinds of music should be available to everyone. Now people in metropolitan New Orleans can hear classical music on FM radio throughout the day—at home, in cars, and at work.”

Maassen continued, “As resources grow, we aim to record and broadcast local performances by New Orleans-area classical music organizations. We want to help support the classical music community by attracting people to local concerts where they can enjoy the thrill of live performances.”

Prominent on the 104.9 schedule will be Classical New Orleans, wide-ranging classical music selections, plus local music features, airing from 9:00am to 1:00pm Monday through Friday. This new program will be hosted by two announcers long-associated with WWNO: Jack Hopke (Mondays and Tuesdays), and James Arey (Wednesday through Friday).

Complete schedule information is at In addition to around-the-clock musical selections, the Classical 104.9 schedule offers locally and nationally produced programs including:

Continuum - America’s longest-running early music radio program, produced and hosted in New Orleans by Milton G. Scheuermann, Jr. and Thais St. Julien. (Sundays 8:00-9:00 pm)

Performance Today – Recorded live performances from around the world, plus interviews and features. Hosted by Fred Child. (Weekdays 1:00-3:00 pm)

Exploring Music – Each weekly series guides listeners to deeper appreciation of a new musical topic. Hosted by Bill McGlaughlin. (Weekday evenings 8:00-9:00 pm)

Metropolitan Opera Saturday Matinees – Broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York for eighty-six years. (Saturdays during the Met season, beginning at 12:00 noon).

Like 89.9 FM WWNO, Classical 104.9FM will be supported primarily by listener support and local business underwriters. Membership gifts to WWNO will also support operation of Classical 104.9.

Capital support to launch Classical 104.9FM comes from a group of generous Founding Donors, led by the RosaMary Foundation, the Theresa Bittenbring Marque and John Henry Marque Fund, the Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust, Susan Talley and Jay Gulotta, Julian Mutter and the Doerr Furniture Family, and Resource Management LLC. Further gifts are being raised to complete the capital funding and build a base of support for locally produced programs; for more information contact WWNO development manager Ron Biava (504-280-7001,

89.9 FM WWNO, New Orleans Public Radio, is the listener-supported NPR radio station serving New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana on 89.9 FM and on KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area, with 24-hour classical music on Classical 104.9 FM and WWNO HD2, and jazz anytime on WWNO HD3. WWNO is a public service of the University of New Orleans. Listeners have made WWNO one of the region’s top news stations, attracted by trusted, in-depth reporting. The station’s website,, streams all of its news, music, and quality cultural entertainment across the region, and carries the stories of New Orleans around the world.

As Development and Marketing Manager, Ron Biava oversees membership and other fundraising activities as well as events, communications, and promotion—with a lot of help from other staff members and volunteers! Ron came to WWNO in fall 2009 after years of fundraising at Tulane University, several colleges of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford in England, the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon, and the New Orleans Public Library Foundation. (The renovated Alvar Street Branch Library is one of his favorite accomplishments.)

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