Louisiana State University is returning a full-time classical radio station to the New Orleans airwaves with the launch of “Classical 104.9 FM.” The signal originates on the HD-2 channel of “New Orleans Public Radio” WWNO (88.9) and broadcasts via the Metairie, LA-licensed translator K285FF at 104.9.
Up until 2012, WWNO aired a classical format but jettisoned it from daytime in favor of news, according to The Current. The station aired classical and jazz in evenings and offered 24/7 classical music on its HD2 channel. Now the station can finally offer the format on the FM dial.
“We have been waiting several years for the opportunity to restore classical music to the FM band,” WWNO general manager Paul Maassen said. “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.”
The benchmark of the new classical outlet will be “Classical New Orleans,” which will air weekdays 9am-1pm and feature a wide range of classical selections and local music. The program will be hosted by longtime WWNO announcers Jack Hopke (Mon-Tues) and James Arey (Wed-Fri). The show will be followed from 1pm-3pm by “Performance Today,” airing two hours of live performances from around the world, along with interviews and features.
Classical 104.9 FM plans to support and be a vital part of the vibrant New Orleans music community, with Maassen adding, “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.”