Three Questions for Lauren Rico, KMFA Program Director

[posted by Kelsey Padgett, KMFA Development-Production Associate]

What’s the difference between Program Director and Music Director? Who does what at my favorite classical station? We sat down with Program Director Lauren Rico to learn a bit about the behind-the-scenes roles at KMFA. 

Lauren Rico

Lauren Rico, KMFA Program Director, co-hosting a live opera broadcast

KP: Could you describe the position of Programming Director and what you do for KMFA? 

LR: “The Program Director monitors the station’s sound from day to day. How does each host sound on each shift? How do all the weekend programs work together? Are people hearing the perfect program during the perfect time of day?

“The Program Director is responsible for the overall sound of the station. At KMFA, I manage duties ranging from coaching our hosts to deciding what shows air when. I write some of the promotional materials you hear on the station, and starting in January will host a new program called Reverie.

“My biggest duty, though, is to the listeners of KMFA. I must always have them in my mind. With every decision I make, I ask myself, “Will this benefit our listeners?” I’m constantly striving to find interesting and fun ways to engage our audience, both on air and in the community.” 

KP: How is your position different from Sara Hessel’s, KMFA’s Music Director? 

LR: “While I’m responsible for the overall sound of KMFA, Sara Hessel, Music Director, is more responsible for the sound of KMFA from hour to hour. I entrust to Sara the creation of each individual hour of music you hear on the station. She determines which CDs qualify for the library, what pieces are played during which parts of the day, and what kind of special programming is put into place for various holidays and special events. Sara’s vast musicological knowledge and her passion for classical music make her a natural as Music Director. In other words, she makes my job a whole lot easier!” 

KP: What is your favorite classical piece? 

LR: “There are so many to choose from! I LOVE all things Bach and Copland. But my favorite piece? I’d have to say it’s a tie between Morten Lauridsen’s “Dirait-on” and Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria.” At my wedding a few years back, I arranged for the whole ceremony to come to a complete halt so an a capella ensemble could sing them for me. It’s good to be the bride!”

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