Category Archives: Performance Today

Performance Today Overview as shared by Fred Child

We spoke with Fred Child, host of Performance Today, to learn more about the popular classical music program including its origin, mission, and the processes applied in selecting music and artists to highlight. Fred has hosted Performance Today since 2000 and is a lifelong lover of music. 

Fred Child has hosted Performance Today since 2000

What is the origin of the show? Performance Today was founded in 1987 by NPR, National Public Radio.  It was initially conceived as a bridge between the morning news program, Morning Edition, and midday music (then in vogue on many stations that carried both news and music.

How has its mission/focus evolved?  Performance Today is a music program with a clear focus on classical music and those two words:  Performance Today.  In the beginning, and still, the focus is on music in PERFORMANCE – i.e., the presence and vitality found in concert recordings.  And TODAY: the current state of the music scene – contemporary music, diverse talent and the most inventive and enthralling of today’s interpreters of the great works of the past. 

What is your philosophy as host?  To convey a true love of music, to share that joy in an accessible way with listeners and to be an exclusive home for recordings and concert highlights not heard anywhere else – all while providing a certain degree of musical insight and occasional education tidbit for those interested, while not hectoring those who aren’t.

Share the talk:music Ratios:   9.5 minutes of talk and 49.5 minutes of music each hour. (1/0 billboard; .5/4.5 cutaway; 3/18 seg003; 0/1 seg004; 2/18 seg005; 0/1 seg006;  3/9 seg007) Episodes that include a performance interview typically have more talk, but the talk segment in those cases does not exceed 3.5 minutes.

How much “new/contemporary” classical is played per program/per year?   Generally, a new piece of classical music broadcasts on Performance Today once per program, a couple of times each week – or roughly 100-150 contemporary pieces annually of the approximately 1600 featured pieces of music on our show each year (about 5-10% of our music).

How are the new pieces introduced on PT selected?  Our producers listen to live concert recordings after the year 2000 that we receive from around the world.  From those we chose compositions that are musically interesting, have fascinating stories behind them and fit in our programming principle to ‘delight and surprise.’

How are the traditional pieces played on PT chosen?  Producers choose familiar classical pieces to broadcast on the show when the performance is exceptionally outstanding or inclusive or rare performance nuances.

How are the artists/composers highlighted selected?   We feature performers and composers whose artistry we find captivating.

Tell us more about the available ::30 Imaging Spots:  These ::30 second daily promo spots are available to stations to help to encourage listeners who aren’t familiar with PT to familiarize themselves with the show.  In addition, the spots also work to promote specific pieces of music or stories coming up on the next program so as to underscore the program’s capacity for discovery, access and the storytelling within the genre of contemporary classical music.

New spring fundraising tools

As you look forward to warm spring days and member drives, we’re here to help with new fundraising assets to raise your audience engagement and revenue.

Segments are available now on ContentDepot. Subscribe to individual fundraising program pages now to receive all future updates.

New for spring 2019:

 All programs

  • Updated talking points for your live pitches are available now on ContentDepot (following each rundown on fundraising pages) and on our website (under ‘Fundraising’ on program pages).
  • New fundraising promo options (excluding BBC World Service and The Daily) include general, sustainer, sustainer upgrade, and thank you messages from our hosts; new spots are between 0:25 and 0:59.

 Live from Here

  • Fundraising episode with 13 interchangeable segments featuring Chris Thile and a variety of artists: David Crosby, Jon Batiste, Lindsey Buckingham, John Prine, Meshell Ndegeocello, Emmanuel Ax, St. Vincent, Jonathan Biss, Dessa, Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, Vulfpeck, Tuneyards, Jeff Tweedy, Sylvan Esso, Snarky Puppy, David Rawlings, Willie Watson & the Fairfield Four, Parker Millsap, The Knights, Rachael Price, Gaby Moreno, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, Sara Watkins, Punch Brothers, Tracy K Smith, The Sklar Brothers, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Gethard, Joey Ryan, and Tom Papa.

 Performance Today

  • Long-form, in-studio segments with a variety of classical artists.

Visit the ‘Episodes’ section of the pages below to find new fundraisers, with suggested pitch points following each rundown:


BBC World Service (generic promos and pitch points)

The Daily (generic promos, pitch points and listener testimonials)


Arts and Culture

Live from Here (fundraising episode, pitch points)

The Splendid Table (6 promos with Francis Lam, pitch points)

Classical Music

Classical 24 (11 promos with C24 hosts, pitch points)

Performance Today (7 promos with Fred Child, 5 in-studio segments with guest artists, pitch points)

Pipedreams (6 promos with Michael Barone, pitch points)

SymphonyCast (6 promos with Alison Young, pitch points)

Custom Promo Requests

We encourage you to use our new fundraising promos, but we’re here to help if you need a custom spot. Please complete our custom promo form.

Due to ongoing production schedules, please allow 3-4 weeks for custom promo delivery, and up to 6 weeks for BBC World Service spots. Note: BBC World Service is prohibited by British law to make direct asks to listeners for monetary support.

Holiday programming schedule

Here’s what audiences will hear on our regular programs next week.

Additional details, and/or programming changes, will be shared via ContentDepot.


  • Marketplace Morning Report: Live broadcasts
  • Marketplace Tech: Monday, Dec. 24 and Wednesday, Dec. 25 shows will include replays of this year’s favorite interviews on automation in the workforce, regulating tech companies, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and battling fake news.
  • Marketplace (p.m.): Live broadcasts. Interview with Birchbox CEO Katia Beauchamp about the economics of subscription boxes (date TBD).

BBC World Service

  • Newshour:
    • Monday, Dec. 24-Friday, Dec. 28: Reports on the war in Yemen and its affects on the women who live there. 9 a.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET editions.
    • Tuesday, Dec. 25 editions include the annual quiz. James Coomarasamy tests Newshour presenters on their knowledge of 2018 events and newsmakers. Available for download on ContentDepot through Monday, Dec. 31.
    • Friday, Dec. 28: Correspondent’s Look Ahead 2019.  Lyse Doucet hosts this year’s discussion with BBC senior correspondents, who share their predictions for the big news stories of the new year. Available for download through Thursday, Jan. 3.

The Daily
Pending programming changes due to the potential government shutdown, audiences will hear encore episodes next week:

  • Monday, Dec. 24: Korea
  • Tuesday, Dec. 25: Climate change
  • Wednesday, Dec. 26: Family separation
  • Thursday, Dec. 27: Trump taxes
  • Friday, Dec. 28: Kavanaugh reaction, with new content, including reactions from teenage boys

Performance Today

  • Monday, Dec. 24 and Tuesday, Dec. 25: Holiday-themed music

The Splendid Table

  • Saturday, Dec. 29: Michael Solomonov, Philadelphia chef and author of Israeli Soul and Zahav, talks about Israeli food and disaster stories, and takes questions from callers with Francis.

Live from Here

  • Saturday, Dec. 29: Year-end compilation show with 2018 highlights

Year-End Fundraising Promos Available

We have a variety of new promos available now for your year-end fundraising needs. Download 13 segments on ContentDepot.

Segments include:

  • Segments 1-4: The Splendid Table with Francis Lam
  • Segments 5-6: Performance Today with Fred Child
  • Segments 7-10: Marketplace Morning Report with David Brancaccio
  • Segments 11-13: Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal

Contact your Station Representative with any questions.

Custom promos are also available. Please complete our request form.



Performance Today Celebrates 30 Years!

On January 5, 2017, Performance Today will celebrate 30 years at the forefront of classical music. In that time, the show has featured over 65,000 live concert performances, as well as hundreds of rising stars and established headliners from around the world.

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