Things may sound different on our air. But WCQS hasn’t gone anywhere. It just now has a new parent – Blue Ridge Public Radio. And a new sibling – BPR News.
You can listen to your favorite NPR programs like Morning Edition and All Things Considered – as well as classical music – on 88.1 in Asheville or the many other frequencies that carry WCQS throughout the region. Starting today, station general manager David Feingold says Western North Carolina public radio listeners have a choice. “Over time, listenership to WCQS has grown a lot. We know that there is a great interest in independent public radio journalism.”
More of that independent public radio journalism can now be heard on BPR News, 107.9 in Asheville and 103.1 in Hendersonville. Other frequencies carrying BPR News can be found on our website BPR.org, where you can find the audio stream for both BPR News and WCQS anytime and anywhere. The sister stations now operate under Blue Ridge Public Radio, or BPR as Feingold says. “It was important to us to explain that we are larger. That we are expansive and are expanding. So, we live in the Blue Ridge, so Blue Ridge Public Radio made a lot of sense to us.”
The real difference between Blue Ridge Public Radio’s two channels is this – when there’s music on WCQS, there will be news programs on BPR News. Director of programming Barbara Sayer says that means each weekday morning from 10 to noon on BPR News, listeners can hear On Point. “Which is a fabulous two-hour program that really covers a lot of territory. Not just politics, although it approaches that in a very vigorous way. But it also includes a lot of cultural and scientific intersections. All the things I believe that our listeners encounter every day.”
From 1 to 3 each weekday afternoon, BPR News will air Here And Now. “I don’t think people stop thinking about what’s important in their lives during any given moment in any given day. Whether it’s Monday through Friday or on the weekends. We are all experiencing everything that we experience. So Here And Now is a great way to continue that conversation about both national and international issues into the afternoon leading up to Fresh Air.”
The BBC can be heard during the overnight hours, as well as each weekday morning from 9 to 10. While BPR News launches today, the planning for the station goes back at least 15 years according to Sayer, who can talk at length about the slow crawl that is obtaining new frequencies with the FCC. “During that time our listenership and our membership has continued to grow and grow and grow. And without that, I’ll be honest with you…no matter how much we wanted it…the idea that a small market community licensee could even think about creating a second service, would have been impossible.”
Today is just the start. More is coming very soon – a new BPR mobile app, as well as increased local content on the NPR One app. There are also two new Facebook pages - Blue Ridge Public Radio and BPR News. Listeners can also follow on Twitter @BlueRidgePublic and @news_BPR. General manager David Feingold says locally produced programs will be hitting the air and BPR.org soon too. “There’s attraction to quality independent journalism. Some people talk about fact-based journalism which seems to be obvious. But that’s what NPR and local public radio station news departments are all about. And we’re no exception.”
So hello - we’re Blue Ridge Public Radio. NPR for Western North Carolina. WCQS and BPR News. The same public radio you’ve always counted on- with a whole lot more to offer.