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Results from January 2024 Classical IPR survey, including answers to your questions

Classical IPR recently surveyed listeners about long-running programs Music by Request, Repose and the Metropolitan Opera. Read some of the survey results and the answers to your questions here.

Thank you to everyone who recently participated in our listener survey. We asked several questions about three of our longest-running programs: Music by Request, Repose and the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts.

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Below is a report on some of the survey results, along with answers to some of the questions and feedback respondents asked in the survey.

Survey responses
185 total responses
81% of respondents indicated that they were 65 or older


Only 11% of respondents indicated that they "never" listen to Music by Request, and 89% of respondents listen "frequently" or "sometimes."

Several respondents said that they preferred when Music by Request was live, because the current format of making requests ahead of time takes away some of the spontaneity and uniqueness that the show had in the past.

It's true that, when Music by Request was live, it could adapt to the mood of the day, and some requests would respond to others or the show would pick up a theme. We miss that aspect of the show, too.

However, producing Music by Request ahead of time allows us to find as many requests as possible, respond thoughtfully rather than hurriedly to requesters, maintain the program's playlist display in real time (so listeners know what is playing at that exact moment) and include requesters' voices in the program.

It has also enabled us to add a second broadcast of the program on Sunday afternoons, which has opened Music by Request up to even more listeners. But we do recognize that some listeners dislike the Sunday encore because they already heard the program in its entirety on Saturday.

Several respondents asked us to ban specific pieces and genres of music, perhaps seriously and perhaps tongue-in-cheek. Although we sympathize, we're not prepared to ban anything outright. We also want Music by Request to be a chance to flex our format a bit, so that show is where you might hear music you won't hear elsewhere in our broadcasts during the week.

We want to play requests from as many people as possible each week. Call (231) 276-4422, email ipr@interlochen.org or use "Talk to Us" feature in the IPR mobile app to make your request.

Additional listener comments about Music by Request:

"It’s refreshing to always have a sense of surprise from one selection to another. Having 3 degrees in music, I never cease to be amazed at the varied talent of all genres!"

"Instead of unrestricted requests for wildly diverse music, shows could have themes -- such as water or celebrations, etc. and listeners would request pieces within that category."

"Have you noticed how much choral music is requested compared to your regular programming? Choral music requests seem higher than your normal playlists."

"Once a week it used to be. Twice a week is too much for me. The same songs multiple weeks. Professionally chosen programs much more my ‘meat’."


Several respondents asked if Repose is available as a podcast or in another on-demand format. Unfortunately, due to rights issues, Repose cannot be offered as a podcast or in any other downloadable form. The best workaround we have found is to offer an on-demand Spotify playlist featuring the types of music heard on Repose, which is available here at this link. We are looking at the possibility of offering on-demand listening for a few recent episodes on our website.

We also had a few requests to air the program in an earlier (9 p.m.) and a later (11 p.m.) time slot. Although we are planning to keep Repose in the 10 p.m. slot for now, this is helpful information for us in terms of other programming.

Some respondents expressed frustration about being able to see the Repose playlists on our website, either in real time or after the program. We are working on ways to improve the visibility of the playlists. Right now, all new episodes of Repose on Saturday nights should show their playlists in real time during the show, or be visible here after the broadcast.

Repose, more than any other program, had some of the most polarizing responses. Some respondents said it is their favorite show on Classical IPR and they never miss it, and others said it is the only program on Classical IPR they make it a point to skip. Again, we know that no music or program will be universally loved, so we appreciate all the feedback as we make programming decisions.

Additional listener comments:

"I set the timer on my Bose and fall asleep most nights to the relaxing, calming music. I so enjoy hearing Frank's voice at the end of the hour and I've shared with my kids that I wish that Softly As I Leave You be played at my funeral. Not morbid but just so beautiful and I love that I can count on hearing this program every day of the week. PLEASE keep it!!!"

"Repeated episodes seem to cycle every 6 months or so. Are there only a couple hundred recordings? " [note: there are approximately 6 months' worth of Repose episodes in the syndication rotation, not including Christmas episodes]

"I know that Repose is not in the classical genre but it was never presented as such since its genesis. In the same way, The Score is not classical either, but when you tune in you know what you're in for. I'd prefer Repose on the weekends, either 2 or 3 nights a week."


Only 15.6% of survey respondents stated that they regularly listen to the Saturday opera broadcasts, compared to 43.8% who stated that they rarely or never listen. (That leaves 34.6% who sometimes listen and the rest did not respond)

That said, many respondents stated that it is important to keep opera broadcasts on the air, even if they personally don't listen or don't care for the music. There was a general sense that opera is a valuable aspect of Classical IPR's programming.

A few respondents mentioned that the State Theater in Traverse City no longer carries the Met Live in HD simulcasts. This is true, but the HD simulcasts are presented in Manistee at the Ramsdell and in Harbor Springs at the Lyric. Those geographic locations may not be accessible for all listeners in the area, but they are available.

Several respondents asked if the operas could be broadcast on another day or at another time of day. Unfortunately, our contract with the Metropolitan Opera states that we must air the operas Saturdays at 1 p.m. The only exceptions are days that their live performance begins at noon or 12:30 p.m. and we can air a slightly delayed version starting at 1 p.m. to maintain our schedule.

"While I support opera as an art form and value it as a rich part of our culture, I do not feel that radio is the proper medium for presenting entire operas or even lengthy opera scenes."

"I appreciate the artist interviews that are sometimes aired on Saturday mornings. Very enlightening. Including music from the operas on IPR's playlists throughout the week is great. It is engaging and a good reminder. Would Interlochen ever host the Met live in HD?" [note: Interlochen Center for the Arts has looked into offering the Met HD broadcasts but lacks the infrastructure required]

"Making high-quality opera performances available on a regular basis to audiences in northern Michigan is a very important service. Even when the State Theatre broadcast the Met, IPR was more convenient and more affordable. As far as I know, now that those video broadcasts no longer happen, IPR provides the only regular access to opera for both listeners who are familiar with opera and tune in on purpose, and listeners who encounter it by accident and have the chance to get to know it."

Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out this survey. Your thoughtful responses help us make informed programming decisions about what we offer on Classical IPR.

Please don't hesitate to reach out with additional comments or questions.

Amanda Sewell, music director

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.