Infobox Radio station
name = WPLN-FM

city = Nashville, Tennessee
area =
branding =
slogan =
airdate = December 17, 1962
frequency = 90.3 (MHz)
format = Classical/ Public
erp = 80,000 Watts
haat = 345 meters (1133 ft)
class = C Non-Commercial
facility_id = 53821
coordinates = coord|36|02|08|N|86|50|56|W|
callsign_meaning = Public Library Nashville
former_callsigns =
owner = Nashville Public Radio
licensee =
sister_stations = WPLN (AM)
webcast = http://main.str3am.com/wplnfmwm
website = http://www.wpln.org/
affiliations = National Public Radio

WPLN-FM (90.3 FM), is a National Public Radio-affiliated station in Nashville, Tennessee. It primarily features classical music programming, but carries news daily, and, at times during the week, other genres of music as well. The station maintains studios on Mainstream Drive north of downtown Nashville, studios that some consider among the finest radio studios in the U.S.


WPLN is the generic name for the radio stations of Nashville Public Radio. As of this writing, Nashville Public Radio offers four distinct but complementary programme streams: WPLN (AM); WPLN-FM; HD-2 and HD-3, which are multicasts from the main FM channel. All may be received over the air or streamed from WPLN's Website.

WPLN-FM's signal, which is transmitted from a tower on Johnson Chapel Road in Williamson County (just outside Brentwood), travels in about a 65-mile radius, reaching most of middle Tennessee and some counties in southern Kentucky. WPLN-FM shares the tower with three other Nashville FM stations: WRLT, WKDF, and WNRQ; it has broadcast from that site since 1984. WPLN also maintains two low-power stations elsewhere in Tennessee: WHRS-FM 91.7 in Cookeville and WTML-FM 91.5 in Tullahoma.

In early 2006, WPLN-FM began broadcasting a high-definition digital signal, featuring a simulcast of the FM on the first channel, and, in effect, a new station on the second channel. More information is found below.

In addition to carrying the standard public radio lineup of programs such as "Morning Edition", "All Things Considered", "Car Talk", "Whad'Ya Know?", "A Prairie Home Companion", "Saint Paul Sunday", and "Hearts of Space", WPLN uses its state-of-the-art production facilities to produce the well-regarded "Live in Studio C", showcasing area musicians of all persusasions; and one nationally-distributed show, "Bluegrass Breakdown", a weekly thematic examination of the heritage of bluegrass and old-time country music.


WPLN began as a modest extension of the city's public library system, beginning operations on December 17, 1962 from the Richland Park library branch on Charlotte Avenue in West Nashville. It broadcast a limited schedule, almost entirely of classical music, only on Mondays through Fridays, and was only heard in and around the city of Nashville proper. A year later, Nashville and Davidson County merged to form a metropolitan government. The library--and with it WPLN--became an arm of the new structure.

In 1965, the library moved the station into the then-newly-constructed main library downtown (it has since been replaced). By that time, the station had begun operating a full seven days a week. The station was one of the 73 charter members of National Public Radio in 1970--one of the first public radio stations in the South to join the network. The station's website claims it joined NPR in 1968, but this is incorrect; NPR was not founded until two years later.

In 1972, WPLN began broadcasting in stereo and at a full 100,000 watts of power. A "Talking Library" subchannel for blind (and visually-impaired) residents of the area began in 1975. Schedule and programming expansion continued at a steady pace throughout the 1980s and 1990s, while WPLN's physical plant did not expand beyond a block of rooms in the library building.

In order to rectify the space shortage and provide more extensive service to the community than was possible under the budgetary and bureaucratic constraints of the public library system, the library board decided in 1995 to begin proceedings to release the station to an independent community board. The public library relinquished control of WPLN-FM on October 1, 1996 to a group known as "Nashville Public Radio." The station eventually moved out of the library into a modern studio in the Metrocenter area on May 24, 1998.

The success of this move may have prompted the Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County school system, which operated public television outlet WDCN (channel 8), to follow suit three years later. That station is now WNPT.

WPLN-FM was one of only a few non-commercial FM licenses held by a public library system in the U.S. In most cases, libraries usually operate radio frequencies only for radio-reading services (like that mentioned above) for the blind and visually impaired, signals that are available only on special receivers.


WPLN is governed by a self-perpetuating board of directors, with a separate board of local residents who advise the board of directors on the needs of the listening area.

Local Hosts

* Jacqueline Fellows – "Morning Edition"
* Henry Fennell and Will Griffin – daytime classical music
* Nina Cardona – "All Things Considered"
* Ed Lambert – evening classical music
* Christine Buttorff, Blake Farmer, "'Daniel Potter'" and Joe White – news reporters
* Dave Higgs – "Bluegrass Breakdown"
* Eric Babcock and Ken Mastri – weekends

Digital broadcasting/WPLN-HD2/WPLN-HD3

In addition to the Main FM and FM channels, WPLN now has two HD multicast stations: 90.3-HD2 FM offers music and programmes not heard on the main WPLN channel. Titles such as "The World Cafe" and "Echoes" which offer a variety of eclectic music can be heard on this channel, popular NPR shows "Talk of the Nation" and "The Diane Rehm Show" show can also be heard on WPLN-HD2. WPLN has recently added a third HD multicast signal: 90.3-HD3 FM offering another alternative to the main channel and includes time shifted repeats of programmes from the Main FM channel, from the AM channel as well as some programmes previously unavailable in Nashville, such as NPR's new "Bryant Park Project". These multicast stations can be heard on a special HD Radio receiver, WPLN-HD2 and HD3 can also be heard on the internet from WPLN's main page.

ister stations

In 2002, Nashville Public Radio purchased an existing Medium Wave station to broadcast NPR and local news, talk, and public affairs programs for which the FM did not have time on its schedule. This in part was done to serve some listeners who desired more of this type of programming, leaving WPLN-FM to maintain its decades-long tradition of serving the region with classical music. The new WPLN-HD2 and HD3 have given middle Tennessee residents even more choices of music and spoken-word shows. For more information, see WPLN (AM).

External links

* [http://www.wpln.org/ WPLN official website]
* [http://www.wpln.org/hd/index.html/ WPLN-HD2 digital signal]

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