Wisconsin Public Radio

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Wisconsin Public Radio
Type Public Radio Network
Country  United States
First air date
Availability Wisconsin, Eastern Minnesota,
Northeastern Iowa,
and Northern Illinois
Headquarters Madison, Wisconsin
Owner Wisconsin Educational Communications Board & University of Wisconsin–Extension
Launch date
April 1921
Wisconsin Public Television
Affiliation National Public Radio, American Public Media
Webcast Listen
Official website
Listener Organization www.wpra.org

Wisconsin Public Radio is a network of 32 public radio stations in the state of Wisconsin. WPR's network is divided into two distinct analog services, the Ideas Network and the NPR News and Classical Network, as well as the "HD2 Classical Service," a digital-only, full-time classical music service.


In 1932, WHA in Madison and WLBL in Stevens Point started limited simulcasting of certain programs. However, the first real steps toward the building of what would become Wisconsin Public Radio began in 1947, with the sign-on of WHA-FM (now WERN) as a sister station to WHA. Between 1948 and 1965, seven more FM stations signed on as part of what was initially dubbed Wisconsin Educational Radio.[1] The network became Wisconsin Public Radio in 1971, when it became a charter member of National Public Radio. Shortly afterward, the merger of the University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin State University systems greatly increased WPR's reach.

Ideas Network

The Ideas Network ("Talk about issues that matter to you") is devoted mostly to discussion and call-in shows, focusing on the state of Wisconsin and issues involving the state. The name of the network comes from the Wisconsin Idea concept associated with the UW System.

During the week, the Ideas Network airs locally produced talk programming, longtime daily reading showcase Chapter a Day, and WBUR's On Point and National Public Radio's Science Friday (Fridays only) throughout the daytime hours, while at night broadcasting repeats of the daytime talkshows and Chapter a Day, as well as the CBC's q and As It Happens, and overnight, the BBC World Service; Monday evenings also feature special programs like Reveal. Friday nights feature On the Media and nationally produced stage storytelling showcases, including The Moth Radio Hour and Snap Judgment. In election years, expanded political coverage occurs, along with WPR often coordinating in part political debates for the state's highest offices such as Governor and Attorney General, often with Wisconsin Public Television.

On the weekend, it airs WPR-produced shows, such as Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?, Zorba Paster On Your Health and To the Best of Our Knowledge. Weekends also include NPR/PRI/APM entertainment programming such as Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, Best of Car Talk, This American Life, Radiolab and A Prairie Home Companion on Saturdays, with Says You!, A Way with Words, America's Test Kitchen Radio and the TED Radio Hour on Sundays. Other WPR-originated programming on the weekends include: University of the Air, the folk music focused Simply Folk, and old-time radio programs. Higher Ground, a program of world music hosted by Dr. Jonathan Overby, is broadcast on Saturday night on WHAD, WPR's Ideas Network station in Milwaukee, and otherwise heard on WPR's News & Classical Music stations around the state.

The flagship station of the Ideas Network is WHA 970 AM in Madison, one of the oldest existing radio stations in the world, with programming also originating from the Milwaukee studios of Delafield licensed WHAD, an FM station based between Milwaukee and Madison with facilities in downtown Milwaukee. All Ideas Network stations broadcast in analog monaural sound to provide those signals the largest coverage areas possible, while the HD Radio and Internet streaming feeds broadcast in stereo.

Personalities hosting call-in talk shows on the Ideas Network (as of May 2014) include Joy Cardin (early morning weekdays), Larry Meiller (late morning and early afternoon weekdays), Kathleen Dunn (afternoons Monday through Thursday, from WHAD's Milwaukee studios) and Central Time with Rob Ferrett and Veronica Rueckert (afternoon drive time), and a mix of new and encore presentations of To the Best of Our Knowledge. On the typical weekday, the Ideas Network broadcasts over nine hours of live, Wisconsin-produced call-in talk shows.

Location Frequency Call sign Notes
Ashland 90.9 FM WUWS
Adams 89.1 FM WHAA
Delafield 90.7 FM WHAD
Highland 91.3 FM WHHI
Elgin, IL 88.9 FM WEPS High school station carries
WPRIN programming off-hours
Green Bay 88.1 FM WHID
La Crosse 90.3 FM WHLA
Madison 970 AM WHA
Madison 107.9 FM W300BM Translator of WHA
Madison 90.9 FM W215AQ Translator of WHA via WERN-HD3
Menomonie 88.3 FM WHWC
Oshkosh 90.3 FM WRST-FM
Park Falls 90.3 FM WHBM
Platteville 89.1 FM WSSW
Rhinelander 89.9 FM WHSF
River Falls 88.7 FM WRFW
Sheboygan 91.7 FM WSHS High school station carries
WPRIN programming off-hours
Sister Bay 91.9 FM WHDI
Stevens Point 930 AM WLBL
Superior 91.3 FM KUWS
Wausau 91.9 FM WLBL-FM Timeshare with WXPW;
airs WLBL programming 3am-6pm weekdays,
and from 5pm Sundays

NPR News and Classical Network

The NPR News and Classical Network primarily broadcasts classical music but carries news and information programs, including NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Fresh Air and Weekend Edition, as well as APM's Marketplace, along with A Prairie Home Companion. The network also carries weekend jazz, folk and world music programming - including Higher Ground, hosted by Dr. Jonathan Overby on Saturday nights (this program is also heard on WPR's Milwaukee-based Ideas Network Station WHAD). Other forms of music such as blues, new-age, and Native American music can be heard regionally. A few Ideas Network stations in areas not served by this network carry the above programs in place of the master Ideas Network schedule.

The flagship station of the NPR News and Classical Network is WERN in Madison.

Location Frequency Call sign Notes
Brule (Superior) 89.9 FM WHSA
Eau Claire 89.7 FM WUEC
Elkhorn 101.7 FM W269BV Translator of WGTD
Green Bay 89.3 FM WPNE
Lake Geneva 103.3 FM W277BM Translator of WGTD
Kenosha 91.1 FM WGTD Affiliate owned by Gateway Technical College
La Crosse 88.9 FM WLSU
Madison 88.7 FM WERN
Menomonie 90.7 FM WVSS
Sister Bay 89.7 FM WHND
Superior 88.5 FM WSSU
Washburn 104.7 FM WHWA
Wausau 90.9 FM WHRM

Digital Services

The HD2 Classical Network service is available through the HD Radio subchannel of at least one of the WPR stations serving each market and features music in HD Radio's CD-quality audio. Stations with HD-2 service include WERN, WHAD, WHWC, WHBM, WHRM, KUWS, WPNE, WHHI, WHLA, WHDI, and WHAA. It is also available on analog translator W272CN 102.3FM in Ashland, rebroadcasting WHSA HD-2.

All three services are broadcast in real-time on the Internet through the Windows Media, and streaming MP3 formats, with streaming WPR program archives available to all visitors in Windows Media and SHOUTcast formats. Downloadable versions of WPR shows in MP3 are available, but restricted to certain downloading guidelines and timeframes.

A few stations broadcast an HD-3 service within the network. WHRM airs the Ideas Network on HD-3 to serve the Wausau area, due to WLBL-FM being a time-share operation with Rhinelander's WXPR as WXPM. WHHI airs the News/Classical Network on HD-3 to fill in coverage gaps of WERN and WSSW. WERN also has an HD-3, which is the audio of Ideas Network station WHA to feed translator W215AQ 90.9 in Madison.

Network stations

WPR's stations are licensed to several different organizations; most stations belong to either the University of Wisconsin System and are administered by the University of Wisconsin–Extension, or to the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, a state agency. Other stations are affiliates, owned by local schools or colleges.

The network's headquarters are located on the Madison campus where the majority of programs are produced, but the statewide Ideas Network program, The Kathleen Dunn Show, originates from WPR's studios in Milwaukee. Some of WPR's regional studios produce local programming, such as the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay facilities producing programming in the Hmong language for weekend broadcast over Green Bay Ideas Network station WHID. Not all UW-owned stations are part of Wisconsin Public Radio's network; some are student-run, and others, like WUWM, are part of the UW-system, but not part of WPR. Two high school radio stations (one, WEPS, is located in the northwest Chicago suburb of Elgin, and its signal does not reach the Wisconsin state line) carry the network outside of school hours and summer periods, providing a form of license protection to those stations (WEPS began to program the Ideas Network in order to fend off a license challenge due to being off-air after school hours), while WLBL-FM in Wausau shares time on its frequency with WXPW, a repeater of independently owned NPR member WXPR in Rhinelander.

Ethics and Community Guidelines

Wisconsin Public Radio states that it "is committed to the highest standards of journalistic ethics and excellence" on its website and that it ascribes to the RTDNA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.[2]

Listeners and the broader public are invited to share their views of programs, topics and guests during radio broadcasts, on social media and wpr.org web forums and through WPR's Audience Services phone and email contacts. WPR posts guidelines for talk-show callers and online community members on its website.[3] The guidelines are enforced through call-screeners during broadcast programs and online forums are regularly monitored by WPR staff.

Wisconsin Public Radio shows with national distribution

See also


  1. WPR's Tradition of Innovation
  2. "Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television Statement of Ethics". Wisconsin Public Radio. Retrieved 22 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "General Guidelines". Wisconsin Public Radio. Retrieved 22 April 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links