What IS Broadway Radio?

Broadway Radio

(or, "What IS a Show Tune?")

By Bill Schmalfeldt

As XM Satellite Radio approaches the signing of its one-millionth subscriber, I'm giving some serious thought to how I can go about fine tuning the "On Broadway" channel (XM-28) to make it both accessible to the show tune novice, and satisfying for the musical theater purist and I'm asking for your help.

We've been on the air two years now. The channel has been and will continue to be a "work in progress." From Day One, the two biggest complaints have been…

"You don't play enough of the new stuff! Play more 'Lion King,' 'Aida,' 'Falsettoland' and 'Hedwig'."


"You don't play enough of the old stuff! Play more 'Oklahoma,' 'Finian's Rainbow,' 'Show Boat' and 'Carousel'."

Now – logic tells us that both statements can not be accurate! It also reveals what a HUGE umbrella covers the musical genre known as "the show tune."

In the early days of programming music on this channel, I endeavored for a delicate balance of old and new and found I was making nobody happy. So what I've done instead is devise a broadcast day that has something for everyone… depending on whether or not you're listening at the time of day the music YOU think of as "show tunes" is airing.

Now, here's where you can help. Am I missing anything here? Before you can answer that intelligently, you need to know what's being offered. So here's a mini program listing.

(Keep in mind, a lovely bit of legislation known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act prevents satellite radio stations from playing complete albums without a specific waiver from the record labels. The recording industry pushed to include satellite radio in this legislation because of fears that otherwise law-abiding folks as yourselves would sit and record the digital quality music from our broadcasts rather than going out to buy the CDs.)

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"Broadway Bill" Schmalfeldt is the program director of XM Satellite Radio's On Broadway channel. A native of Clinton, Iowa, Bill began his broadcasting career in 1977. Since then, his career has taken him three-quarters of the way around the world, including a tour as a Navy broadcaster in Yokosuka, Japan and aboard the USS Midway.

Before coming to XM Satellite Radio, "The Jovial Impresario" was program director and morning talk show host at WGUF, Naples, FL. When not employed as a broadcaster, Bill also worked as a newspaper columnist and editor and as a long-haul truck driver. His hobbies include acting and singing in local theater venues. Visit onbroadway.xmradio.com for more info.