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FAQ: Changes to 88.5 NEPM and classical music

Introducing NEPM's all day news service and Classical NEPM.

Something new from New England Public Media.

88.5 NEPM now carries news and talk programming throughout the day, and classical music has moved to the stations that carried the NEPM News Network. This change allows NEPM to present more of the trusted journalism we’re known for while expanding our musical offerings for our classical audience, creating a more consistent experience for both.

You may have questions about these changes so we’ve put together a FAQ below with all the details and more about how we arrived at the decision to make this change. You can also email us at hello@nepm.org or speak to our member support team by calling 413-781-2801.

Our goal is to bring you more of what you love, wherever you happen to be listening. After months of careful planning, we flipped the switch, so to speak, on Monday, September 4.

Why are you making these changes?
At NEPM, we consistently evaluate our programming with a singular focus: are we best serving the needs of the western Massachusetts audience? Our most recent evaluation — which included surveys, a listening tour, and a review of audience trends — pointed to a growing need for a stronger news service. That evaluation also showed that splitting the daytime hours on 88.5 FM between news and classical music was not serving either audience very well. By creating an all-day news service on 88.5 FM and launching Classical NEPM, we're creating a more consistent listening experience for each audience.

How will this change help NEPM serve the western Massachusetts community?
This change will create a more consistent listening experience, strengthening each service while giving NEPM more opportunities to bring local stories and voices to the airwaves. This investment in local storytelling will also fuel upcoming multi-platform initiatives to reach new, diverse audiences.

Across the country, local news coverage is declining rapidly. Yet it is local news that is essential to the foundation of our democracy. In making this change, NEPM will better serve its community by expanding the news offering on 88.5 FM, which has a stronger signal, with trusted news from NPR and its local newsroom.

How to find 88.5 NEPM:

Where to listen to 88.5 NEPM.

Is NEPM abandoning classical music? 
Far from it. This change will expand the amount of classical music now available to our audience. With traditional radio frequencies and digital streaming we’re able to bring classical music to our audience 24/7. You can see the Classical NEPM program schedule here.

Where will I find classical music?
Classical NEPM will be found on four local stations:

  • 91.9 FM in Hampden County
  • 91.7 FM in Franklin County
  • 89.5 FM in Southern Berkshire County
  • 98.9 FM in Northern Berkshire County
  • 89.3 FM in Hampshire County (when Amherst College student programming is not on the air)

Classical NEPM will be streaming via smart speaker and at classicalnepm.org, as well as 88.5 HD-2.

The Classical NEPM App is available for iOS and Android.

How to find Classical NEPM:

Map of Classical NEPM stations.

What about jazz? Is that moving?
Jazz is not moving. NEPM’s signature jazz show, Jazz à la Mode, remains on 88.5 NEPM in the evenings. Weekends feature a mix of public radio news, cultural, and entertainment programs, with music in the evenings including NEPM’s Jazz Safari with Kari Njiiri and Tertulia with Raquel Obregon.

Why change now?
It’s about the audience. Our research has shown us that we will best serve the needs of our audience by moving to an all-day news format. And by best serving our audience, we will ensure the sustainability of the station for years to come.

How will I be affected?
When you tune in to 88.5 FM, you will hear news programming that will last throughout the day, anchored by NPR shows Morning Edition and All Things Considered, along with The Fabulous 413, NEPM’s new locally-produced show about life in western Mass. Other popular public radio news programs like 1A, On Point, and Fresh Air are also part of the daytime schedule. You can see the 88.5 NEPM schedule here.

If you're looking for classical music, you’ll need to tune into one of five local stations throughout western Mass., find it on 88.5 HD-2, or stream it at classicalnepm.org or on your smart speaker.

None of those stations come in where I live / on my commute. How can I listen to Classical NEPM?
If you can only hear 88.5 FM, which is the case for some of our listeners, you can still get Classical NEPM several ways.

  • Stream it at classicalnepm.org.
    • Click the orange play button to listen on your computer or smartphone.
  • Ask your smart speaker to play Classical NEPM.
    • To listen to Classical NEPM on your smart speaker, just ask it to “play Classical NEPM.”
    • You can learn more about how to use your smart speaker to access your favorite radio stations, podcasts and individual shows here.
  • Listen on an HD radio at 88.5 HD-2. Learn more about HD radio.
  • Download the new Classical NEPM app available for iOS and Android devices.
    • Our Classical NEPM app is now avaiable for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, making listening to classical music easy! Just press the play button for 24/7 classical music from NEPM. Find it by searching “Classical NEPM” in your app store, or click the links above.

Visit our Where to Listen guide for more information.

What happened to the NEPM News Network?
The stations of the NEPM News Network are now the home of our NEPM Classical Service with the exception of 640 AM WNNZ, which now carries the same schedule as 88.5 FM. Many of the shows you listened to on the NEPM News Network can now be found on 88.5 FM.

Will I still be able to hear my favorite programs?
NEPM's flagship programs remain on at the same time including NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, and The Fabulous 413. NEPM's John Nowacki continues to host classical music on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., though on different stations. Programs such as 1A and On Point move to 88.5 FM.

A list of shows joining or leaving our services is below. Please visit our program schedules for more information on when to hear your favorite programs. We've also provided links to all of the programs that are leaving our schedule so you can still find those shows on demand.

New Shows on 88.5 NEPM:

  • All Songs Considered
  • Alt.Latino
  • Freakonomics Radio
  • Notes from America
  • Our Body Politic
  • Throughline
  • Travel with Rick Steves

New shows on Classical NEPM:

  • SymphonyCast
  • New York Philharmonic This Week
  • Bach Hour

Shows leaving 88.5 NEPM:

I listen to Classical NEPM on 89.3 FM and there are times when it’s not classical music. Why? 
NEPM has an agreement with Amherst College to program its radio station, 89.3 WAMH, when student programming is not on the air. The student run program schedule varies throughout the year. During these times, you can listen to classical music by streaming Classical NEPM at classicalnepm.org, by asking your smart speaker to play Classical NEPM, or on the new Classical NEPM App for iOS and Android devices.

Why can’t I hear the Beethoven Network anymore on HD-2 or the all classical stream? 
Classical NEPM has replaced the Beethoven Network on our all classical stream. Classical NEPM carries a mix of locally produced classical music and music from our partners at Classical 24, the Metropolitan Opera Radio Network, CRB/GBH Music and others.

Talk to us!
Need help setting up your HD2 radio, or finding 88.5 NEPM and Classical NEPM on your smart speaker? Read more on our "where to listen" page, or email your questions to: hello@nepm.org.

You can also speak to our member support team by calling 413-781-2801.