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.)


Midnight to 3am (All Times Eastern)

"The Broadway Bazaar" -- Featuring music from shows with an adult flavor – songs with lyrics that would never be broadcast on terrestrial radio. Shows like "Jelly's Last Jam" and "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" – songs like "The King of Broadway" from "The Producers."

"The Dark Side" -- The dark, moody music from shows like "Phantom of the Opera," "Scarlet Pimpernel" and "Evita".

"A Heaping Bowl of Broadway" – Upbeat, familiar tunes from shows old and new. "Annie Get Your Gun," "42nd Street," "Hello, Dolly!" and the like.

"Demand Performance"America's ONLY live, nationwide, show tune request show. Live from our midtown Manhattan studios. We play whatever the folks call in and ask for. Also, live interviews! (Check my photo album on the home page for shots of recent guests.)

"The American Matinee" – All the great, classic shows from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

"The Big Shows" – Focusing mostly on current and recent shows, with a special emphasis on the Top 5 shows of the week (based on audience percentages).


"A Comedy Tonight" – Two hours of musical comedy.


Saturday, to

"Broadway in Love" – The great love songs from musical theater.


"The Sound of Sondheim" – Self explanatory, right?

Saturday, to

"Blackstage" – Features music from African American performers, all the way back to the 1920s.

Sunday, to

"Everything Andrew" – The music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.


"Jerry's World" – The music of Jerry Herman.


"Teamworks" -- Music from songwriting teams, ala Comden and Green, Rodgers and Hammerstein, etc.


"Pre-Show Cocktails in the Eckington Lounge" – Cabaret performers like Jim Caruso, Karen Mason, etc.


"Cinema Showtunes" – Movie Musicals!

Sunday, to

"The Sunday Stagebill" – Before there were cast albums, the pop performers of the day recorded Broadway show tunes. Songs from the 1900s, teens, 20s and 30s.


Now, I'd love to entertain suggestions for programs we should be airing but aren't. Feel free to add your comments below, or PM me. If I use your idea, I'll throw open the CD locker and send you a present!

Be nice! I read the message boards, you know. Some of you come off a little bitchy sometimes!

For more information about XM Satellite Radio, go to www.xmradio.com.

For more information about "On Broadway, XM-28" click http://onbroadway.xmradio.com.

Listen to Your Jovial Impresario, Broadway Bill Schmalfeldt, weekdays from 10a-2p Eastern on America's only LIVE, nationwide satellite radio show tune request show – "Demand Performance".

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From This Author "Broadway Bill" Schmalfeldt

"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 (read more...)

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