Rabbi Radio

A gap in WHPK 88.5 FM’s programming will finally be filled this summer with the arrival of the station’s first Jewish interest show. Rabbi Yossi Brackman of the University of Chicago’s Chabad House describes his upcoming show, tentatively titled “L’Chaim with the Rabbi,” as a Jewish variety/call-in show, and says it will provide “some kind of a Jewish voice on the air in the area.” This voice has been lacking on the South Side, according to Brackman, who says there are currently only “a couple half-hour shows on the North Side.”

Brackman describes the Chabad House, part of a network of Jewish centers often based on or near college campuses, as “a home away from home, a place where students of all backgrounds and levels of observance can feel comfortable.” He got the idea for the radio show from colleagues at other universities. The show will run for an hour and a half every Wednesday, starting with a test show on June 3 from noon to 1:30 and continuing at the same time from June 17 on. Brackman’s target audience is the Hyde Park Jewish community, as well as University alumni and Internet listeners via WHPK’s online stream. He says the show’s appeal is “Jewish radio with someone you know,” as opposed to the hundreds of anonymous online stations for other genres.

Brackman’s plans for the show are vague, but he plans to include Jewish holiday celebrations, callers, news, and music. “When people think of Jewish music, they think of klezmer,” he says. “But with the arrival of people like Matisyahu, there’s a whole variety of Jewish music.” He’s not too nervous about filling an hour and a half every week with a loose mix of content, although he admits he has no background in radio. “Except I know how to talk,” he adds.