Millennium of Music

Saturdays 10-11 PM on HPR-1

Millennium of Music was born in 1975 at public radio station WJCT in Jacksonville, Florida, as a Sunday morning program called Musica Antiqua.

There had been an attempt or two to create pre-Baroque programming from what was available (which was surprisingly extensive even before the early music boom of the 1980s), but this kind of specialty sound was rare enough to be a great novelty. Public radio at that time was still a place for inventive and risky undertakings. The program director, Landon Walker (who still performs and produces concerts in Jacksonville), took a chance on what was then a radical idea; the program still survives in a local form at WJCT.

After some months, and a return to my home town of Washington, D.C., the next incarnation of the program was a late Sunday spot on the big public radio station for which I had come to work in 1978, WETA. At that time, Program Director Martin Goldsmith (who went on to host National Public Radio’s daily classical music offering Performance Today before becoming the program director for "XM Classics" on XM Satellite Radio) suggested that the idea of a really early music program, with much emphasis on Gregorian chant, would be appropriate for Easter. We refined around the edges and the program began as a regular part of the schedule on Easter Sunday in 1980.

The next visionary to touch the program was Mary Beth Kirchner, a producer brought on board to help create national programming, who believed in the inevitability of taking the program to a wider audience. After an initial launch to 70 stations in 1990, we are now heard on about 150 stations around the country through our syndicator, WCLV/Seaways Productions. Millennium of Music is now produced by RADman Productions and can also be heard on XM Satellite Radio.

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