KDFC’s Dianne Nicolini Brightens Our Commute

Ferry commuters get an early start on listening to KDFC on weekday mornings. We especially enjoy the “Blind Date” history quiz posed by Hoyt Smith at 8:30 a.m. History, of course, plays a big part in the culture of ferry transport. Our mode is not only ancient, but also mythic.  And once we’ve reached our destination and the workday begins, we can tune in once again to hear one of the most enchanting voices on radio: Dianne Nicolini and her signature program, “Music While You Work.” 

Cultural Currents: Can you tell us a little something about how this program evolved?

Dianne Nicolini: We just expanded our request program to three hours. You can now hear requests from not only the Bay Area but also up and down the California coast from noon until 3 pm weekdays. That’s a fun show to host because we receive requests from all over, and get to hear the reasons why the music means so much to folks.

CC: Any anecdotes about how listeners respond?

Nicolini: Many pieces are associated with happy childhood memories, or a particular piece helped them through a difficult time. It’s so rewarding to know that listeners depend on us for companionship and solace.

CC: Our readers may be curious about specific compositions related to travel on the water.

Nicolini: Lots of great classical music has been inspired by the sea and seafaring. There’s the dramatic opera The Flying Dutchman, with its evocative Overture (Richard Wagner). Check out Debussy’s impressionistic classic, La Mer​. I also love the Four Sea Interludes from Benjamin Britten’s opera, Peter Grimes. And Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture hauntingly conjures the rugged islands off the coast of Scotland.

CC:  We have learned that the ferry has even been the scene of marriage proposals. A KDFC broadcast in the background, of course.

Nicolini: Romance in classical music? You’ll find it everywhere! Take a listen to the Act 1 duet from Puccini’s La Boheme and try not to cry. The story goes that Gustav Mahler wrote his sublime Adagietto from the Symphony #5 as a love song for his wife, Alma. And romance is in the air with the 18th Variation from Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. It was featured on the soundtrack of the super-romantic movie, Somewhere in Time. 

CC: And the advances in portable listening devices has really extended your reach, hasn’t it?

Nicolini: Absolutely. You can take KDFC with you wherever you go with our nifty smart phone apps, for both iPhones and Androids. Did I mention that they’re free? We now have radio frequencies from Monterey Bay (103.9FM) to Lake County (92.5FM), and everywhere in between: 89.9FM in the Wine Country, 104.9FM in San Jose, and our main signal, 90.3FM in San Francisco, Oakland, Marin, Berkeley, and environs.  And, as we like to say, online everywhere in the universe at KDFC.com!

CC: Any final thoughts for our readers?

Nicolini: I can’t imagine a better soundtrack for crossing our beautiful Bay than Classical KDFC! Hey, send me a request: dianne@classicalrequests.org