Fresh Air returning to daytime in Mississippi

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Mississippi’s statewide public radio network will remove classical music from its midday lineup starting July 1, while adding locally produced shows and NPR’s Fresh Air to its morning schedule.

Fresh Air will air during daytime hours on MPB’s Think Radio network for the first time since 2010, when the network’s then–Executive Director Judith Lewis took the interview show off the air, citing concerns about host Terry Gross’s discussion of sex with her guests. The network later reinstated Fresh Air to its schedule, but at 9 p.m. Starting in July, it will air at 11 a.m.

“We’re excited about bringing it back into lunchtime listening,” said Margaret McPhillips, MPB spokesperson.

In making the schedule changes, the network is responding to feedback from many listeners who have asked for more news and information programming on MPB, McPhillips said. The network now airs four hours of classical music each weekday. After the change, classical will air around the clock on HD Radio channels.

The new schedule adds a strip of hourlong local news, talk and public affairs shows at 10 a.m. weekdays, as well as both hours of WBUR’s Here & Now, which is expanding under a new partnership with NPR. MPB now airs the one-hour edition of the show.

To the Point, the talk show originating from KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., will move from 10 p.m. to 2 p.m. In the evenings, MPB will pick up Q with Jian Ghomeshi.

The network’s new local shows include Next Stop, Mississippi, a show co-produced with the Mississippi Development Authority’s Division of Tourism. The MDA will help develop show topics and provide a co-host for the program.

Other new local shows include Now You’re Talking with Marshall Ramsey, featuring Mississippi political cartoonist and commercial radio host Marshall Ramsey; and a sports program featuring MPB host Jay White.

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This article was first published in Current, June 10, 2013.

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