Objects in Mirror

The Night Shift: Behind the scenes during Music Through the Night

Posted at 4:00 PM on February 21, 2012 by Julia Schrenkler

Our Member Services team supports new and existing members with many types of questions or concerns. Here Member Services Representative Jess Horwitz takes you behind the scenes and answers frequently-asked questions.

"I think it would be interesting for some of the daytime people to come in at 10pm and work a shift just to see how totally different it is here at night," writes Classical host Ward Jacobson. "You are basically the only one in the building (along with a technician in the International Control Center). But I'm also very proud of the fact that there is ALWAYS someone live on MPR."

Ward is one of the hosts of Music Through the Night, Classical MPR's overnight program. MTTN is heard on Minnesota Public Radio as well as Classical stations across the country, many of them smaller stations that can't afford to hire a live host for overnight shifts. At 3AM, you could call your friend in Vermont or be driving through Texas and hear the same voice and music from the same source: the MPR studio in St. Paul. Host Elena See adds that overnight listeners "allow you to be along with them during the earliest parts of the day...or the latest parts of the night. I think that kind of intimacy makes it easier to achieve that conversational tone we all strive for."

Scott Blankenship is one of the other MTTN hosts. "Another benefit [of the overnight shift] is that I've gotten so much more familiar with the music I'm playing because I also listen actively...that's not something I was always able to do working during the day."

Scott and the MTTN team decided to start a Facebook page for the show a little over two years ago to see who was "out there." The page now has over 3,200 fans from all over the world. "The FB page gives everyone a place that is easy to remember in order to talk about what they're hearing," Scott writes. "Before this we had no real idea on the impact the music had on listeners unless they went out of their way to [contact us]."

Ward adds, "Every now and then I'll just throw out something like 'Where are you listening to us and what are you doing while listening?' and that will get as many as 100 responses, not only from all over the country, but different parts of the world as well. I think quite a few people listen to the various live streams that carry MTTN."

Interacting with listeners is a highlight for MTTN hosts. Ward writes, "One thing is certain, the MTTN Facebook page has certainly helped the 5-6 hour shift in the middle of the night go a little quicker and be a little more intriguing at times."

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February 2012
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