Ideal Christmas gift for the music lover: The joy of classical music via digital radio

Mark Gresham | 23 DEC 2018

Dear metro-Atlanta classical music fans: Do you miss listening to classical music on your old analog radio in the car, kitchen, or livingroom? Have no fear: while our most beloved programming has vacated the main analog radio signal in favor of talk radio programming, it’s fully available on WABE’s digital sub-channel 2. You just need the means to grab it from the airwaves and feed it to your starving ears. It’s not that hard, though it mans a shift in technology. You reliable old 1929 Philco radio can’t get it, but there are ways.

Tommy Joe Anderson

WABE Radio’s Tommy Joe Anderson

This past Thursday, ArtsATL published my brief Q&A with WABE Radio’s Tommy Joe Anderson. (Read it here.) Anderson talks about the the great shift of classical music programming to one of the station’s digital subchannel, and what that means for the avid listener who misses hearing it in the familiar, old-fashioned way. But there’s more to it than what would fit in that brief Q&A, a few more specifics for the listener who wants to recapture the sublimeness and variety they remember in classical music broadcasts of yore. It’s all there, just waiting to be heard, just in a new way.

Here’s Anderson’s advice for the various ways in which to listen to WABE’s HD2 all-classical music channel, including some devices that will make great Christmas gifts for your favorite classical music lover — including yourself, of course! He follows that with a list of the panoply of programs available on WABE 90.1-2.

First, about various devices and means of listening:

• Use your Smartphone, tablet or computer: At no cost, using your Smartphone or other online internet connection. From your computer go to and at the the top of the webpage, click on the WABE On-Air (or) WABE Classics and choose WABE Classics to start listening to the All-Day Music, at no cost.

You can most easily use your Smartphone connection by downloading the free WABE Mobile App from the Google Play Store or iTunes. Once loaded, click on the WABE logo and select LIVE WABE or MUSIC WABE. Press LIVE MUSIC and the click arrow at the bottom of the screen, and you are ready to listen. You may then make use of a Bluetooth device to act as a speaker, if you do not want to use ear buds or your cell phone’s speaker. There are many different models ranging in price from $30 -$75.

• HD-Radio: These are available in many new cars and in a various array of audio components and portable versions. My suggestion to most new HD listeners is to get the Sangen HDR-16 that is available at Amazon for only $99. It is portable, stereo and also has AM/FM access.

• Internet Radio: These are radios that use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connection. They are more expensive, but can capture stations world-wide (100,000+), including our local WABE 90.1-2. My suggestion for this is the medium priced Grace Digital Encore ($195-$229) at Amazon.

Now that you know how to get it, here’s what Anderson lists as the current panoply of “Classical Music All Day” that can be heard on WABE’s HD-2 channel 90.1-2:

The all-day classical music programming on the WABE 90.1-2 weekly schedule includes such orchestras as:

  • Pittsburgh Symphony
  • New York Philharmonic
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic

Many popular nationally syndicated programs such as:

  • Performance Today (including the Weekend Edition)
  • The Metropolitan Opera
  • American Opera Series
  • From the Top
  • The Chamber Society of Lincoln Center
  • Live From the Grand Teton Music Festival
  • Carnegie Live
  • The Record Shelf
  • Pipedreams
  • Center Stage from Wolf Trap
  • Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Locally WABE produced programs such as:

  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
  • Second Cup with Lois Reitzes
  • Atlanta Music Scene
  • Spivey Soiree
  • Strike Up the Band

With “Classical 24” filling out the schedule in the off hours. ■

Read Mark Gresham’s Q&A with Tommy Joe Anderson on ArtsATL