Classical Music Indy is a public charitable trust that was established to promote the understanding and appreciation of the fine arts and performing arts. Financially supported by memberships and gifts, the society produces and broadcasts classical music on a privately owned, non-commercial radio station, Wicr (88.7 FM) at the University Of Indianapolis.

Behind a sign reading "Classical Music Indy" three people are playing, respectively, a flute, a violin and a saxophone.
A music trio promotes Classical Music Indy at Gen Con, ca. 2010s. Credit: WFYI View Source

In May 1961, a group of research chemists who worked at Eli Lilly And Company collaborated and pooled their resources seeking to find a broadcast outlet in Indianapolis for classical music. They established a corporation, and on May 13, 1961, the “Lively Arts Station,” (WAIV) went on the air, offering a variety of classical music, poetry, jazz, folk music, and editorials. The original studios were located at the Dearborn Hotel, in the 3200 block of East Michigan Street.

Norbert Neuss, F. Bruce Peck, Frank P. Thomas, and Willis K. Kunz founded the Fine Arts Society of Indianapolis, in 1968. The society began broadcasting its Second Program on WIAN, then the radio station of the Indianapolis Public Schools, in November 1969. Initially limited to 12 hours each weekend, the society expanded its broadcasts to six nights a week in November 1970, and three years later introduced a morning edition of the Second Program.

In January 1983, the society ended its 13-year association with WIAN and began broadcasting the Second Program, as well as a new daily First Program, from the University of Indianapolis. In 1986 the organization won a George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.

By the 1990s, the society broadcast classical music 104 hours weekly (with occasional modifications to accommodate University of Indianapolis broadcasts). It also sponsored fine arts and performing arts events, and awarded educational and performing arts stipends.

In 2013, the organization reassessed its mission. It conducted a city-wide survey that revealed the need to create programming that better reflected the needs of the community. It also changed its name to Classical Music Indy and reincorporated as such in 2017.

These alterations have been successful. Classical Music Indy subsequently increased its listenership by 600 percent. In 2020, the organization brings syndicated classical music radio to 200,000 weekly listeners statewide. Classical Music Indy also serves over 100,000 people with community programs annually.

Revised June 2021

Help improve this entry

Contribute information, offer corrections, suggest images.

You can also recommend new entries related to this topic.