Jason Carr visits 90.9 WRCJ during fundraising drive

Jason Carr visits Detroit's most eclectic radio station.

- Chris Felcyn, host of the well-tempered wireless, is spinning his cultured but jovial persona into the ether, the concert hall of the mind that is classical music radio coming from your speakers.

"To be well-tempered, you need a lot of variety. So on the program, our music director programs music that goes way back into the Renaissance up to the modern day. You'll hear solo pieces, piano solo, guitar solo. You'll hear full orchestra with chords. So, to be well-tempered we want to have a little bit of everything," says Felcyn.

This is the home of 90.9 FM WRCJ "Classical Days Jazzy Nights", broadcasting from a modest warren of offices and studios in Midtown Detroit.

"What we really try to do is make this music as accessible and as enjoyable. As much as we enjoy it, we want the audience to enjoy it, too," Program Director Dr. Dave Wagner says. He hosts the morning and afternoon drive times.

Celebrating 10 years, WRCJ is a public radio station and is very dependent on listener contributions to keep the microphones hot -- and if it sounds odd to say "hot" about a station that plays music almost from its inception? You don't know 90.9.

"We try to keep our presentation just as we would be talking. The music is very important. We have great respect for that, but I like that we don't take ourselves too seriously," says Dr. Wagner. "We have a good time every day. It's a small family. There's not a lot of us; I mean, we could go out to lunch together in our mini van. It's a small dedicated group of people who really love this format and love this station, and are grateful for all the listeners who come forward every year and keep us going."

This, after all, is a station that plays everything from Beethoven to film scores to jazz from the 12th century on, so it's no surprise to hear Felcyn describe the format's appeal in such appealing terms.

"This is a kind of music that, if you keep listening to, and people have been listening to this music for 30, 40, 50 years, you'll continue to get something out of it. It's music that you'll never get tired of, and you'll continue to discover wonderful things in it," Felcyn says.

During my surprise visit, I was happy to stoke the fires of the pledge drive. I'm a listener myself.

WRCJ's fall fundraising continues through Saturday. For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.wrcjfm.org.

And remember, all music was once new.


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