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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Jan. 12, 2007

Don't touch that radio dial

by Erin Rosacker

WOI Radio's AM station rang in the new year with a new lineup as part of programming changes implemented by Iowa Public Radio. IPR was created by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in 2004, bringing together the public radio stations at the three regent universities.

What you now hear on WOI-AM 640 is IPR's news and information service, a combined effort that consolidates much of the programming statewide. Many shows remain on the schedule, but listeners may find them at a different time or with a different host.

"We're still being true to the news and information that has always been on 640. We're still focusing on keeping the Iowa in Iowa Public Radio," said Don Wirth, manager of the WOI Radio Group. "We realize that any change is disruptive to our listeners and we are concerned about that and we want to be attentive to that. We are listening, we are looking for feedback, we are continuing to review."

What's the same

WOI-AM still carries most of the same national and international broadcasts from American Public Media (Marketplace, Speaking of Faith, The Splendid Table, A Prairie Home Companion), the British Broadcasting Company (BBC World Service), the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (As it Happens), National Public Radio (All Things Considered, Car Talk, Fresh Air, Justice Talking, Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me!, Weekend Edition) and Public Radio International (This American Life, Whad'ya Know? ).

Locally produced shows that remain on the schedule include Midday, Talk of Iowa, Live from Prairie Lights and Stage and Screen.

What's missing

Syndicated shows that have been dropped from the new schedule include Humankind (independent), Living on Earth (PRI), Marketplace Money (NPR), People's Pharmacy (NPR), Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz (NPR), Riverwalk Jazz (PRI), Rhythm Sweet and Hot (independent) and The World Today (BBC).

Local shows missing from the lineup include The Book Club, a mainstay for 79 years, and Something Special, a slot filled with programming from various sources.

What's new

WOI-AM added a pair of programs produced by WSUI out of Iowa City. The Exchange is a weekday morning talk show (10-11 a.m.) hosted by Ben Kieffer. Java Blend airs on Saturdays (7-8 p.m.) and Sundays (5-6 p.m.).

Syndicated shows added to the mix are Alternative Radio (independent), Changing World (BBC), On the Media (NPR), The Diane Rehm Show (NPR), Selected Shorts (NPR), The Story with Dick Gordon (APM) and Word for Word (APM). A slot from 8 to 9 p.m. on Sundays is filled with a variety of programming, much like the former Something Special program.

Who is that?

On Dec. 18, the first of the changes took place -- the use of one statewide local host for the morning and afternoon NPR shows, rather than individuals at each station. WSUI's Al Kern serves as anchor for the local portion of Morning Edition and KUNI's Pat Blank hits the air from Cedar Falls during All Things Considered. WOI's Rob Dillard and Rick Fredericksen are now reporters on IPR's news team.

With the new programming in 2007, Talk of Iowa and Midday air back-to-back from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. WOI's Katherine Perkins, who hosts the first hour, is joined by ISU Extension's Doug Cooper at noon. Don't worry, Elwynn Taylor and his weather information remain a regular part of the program.

The future of WOI-FM

IPR's music programming plans won't be announced until later this year. However, a couple of changes to WOI-FM were made Jan. 1. The Book Club (weekdays 6:30-7 p.m.), also discontinued on the AM dial, was replaced by Marketplace. Wild Rose Café (Saturday 8-10 p.m.) was dropped, but KUNI's Karen Impola will fill in with a folk music show at least until the IPR lineups are finalized.

"We are reviewing the programming schedule and will probably have some adjustments there in July," Wirth said. "We remain committed to a classical, cultural music service. The changes that will occur will be under that umbrella."

A complete programming schedule for WOI-AM 640 can be viewed online.


WOI Radio's 640 AM broadcast schedule changed as of Jan. 1. Many familiar voices remain, but some time slots and shows are new to the lineup.


"We realize that any change is disruptive to our listeners and we are concerned about that and we want to be attentive to that. We are listening, we are looking for feedback, we are continuing to review."

- Don Wirth, manager of the WOI Radio Group