thank you for a great public radio music month

THANK YOU to all of the artists, managers, and labels who spoke out on behalf of public radio and their favorite local stations during Public Radio Music Month. April may be behind us, but the service public radio provides isn’t limited to just one month out of the year. Stations play the music you want to hear 365 days a year because they love it - it’s that simple.

With more than 400 music format public radio stations across the country today, the music, interviews and events highlighted on this blog represent just a portion of the unique music content public radio stations produce each day. Luckily, the invaluable contributions by local stations, DJs and artists is no longer limited to their own communities but is now accessible to new audiences worldwide. 

We hope you will join us in following public radio’s unmatched service and innovation across the country by using the #pubradio hashtag on social media and continuing to discover new music, find local events and hear exclusive content from your own local station - and others - on air and online.

It’s been our pleasure to share Public Radio Music Month with you.

Jess & Caitlin
From NPR HQ

Image illustrates public radio broadcast service across the continental United States. Photo credit: NPR Labs

Last Friday, “classical rock star”* Joshua Roman joined KING-FM host Sean MacLean for a special episode of Northwest Focus Live celebrating Public Radio Music Month. The renowned cellist played Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009: Gigue by Bach, which you can enjoy above.

Listen to the full performance and interview on KING’s website here.

*Lexington Herald-Leader, October 2009 [Rich Copley]

the list goes on

While Public Radio Music Month and this love letter to stations may have come to their official close yesterday, support from artists and record labels continues. New additions to the love letter can be seen below, including the inspiring Tracy Chapman, but this list is merely a snapshot of the impact public radio stations have had on local communities and the careers of artists around the country. 

Nate Query of the Decemberists summed it best in an essay published yesterday in the Willamette Week:

To get a sense of just how important public radio stations are to musicians of all genres and statures, take a look at who signed a recent “love note to public radio,” thanking local stations for taking chances in their programming. Portlanders Pink Martini, Rebecca Gates and Scott McAughey (R.E.M., the Minus Five) signed it, as did my bands the Decemberists and Black Prairie. An amazing variety of national bands have as well, from Ozomatli to Raphael Saadiq. The list goes on and on.”

Thank you!

When the relatively unknown Tracy Chapman entered the WUMB studios in 1985 for her first-ever radio interview, those listening on the Boston airwaves may not have realized they were experiencing a small moment in music history. Nearly three years after the interview, Tracy would release her self-titled debut album that would go multi-platinum and earn her three Grammy Awards.

That nugget of music history may have been lost if WUMB hadn’t received a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting enabling the station to properly preserve and catalog its audio reels. But now, the station has been able to un-archive the nearly 30-year-old Tracy Chapman interview for music fans to listen and enjoy on the station website.

Listen to a segment of the interview above, and stream the full interview in segments here. Learn more about WUMB and its journey to un-archive this special interview on the This Is NPR blog.

I have been lucky enough to eke out a career in this brutal business of music, thanks in no small part to the inspiration and opportunity, both personal and professional, public radio stations have provided along the way.

Nate Query, bassist and cellist for the Decemberists, penned an essay to the public radio stations of his hometown, Portland, OR. Read his full message in Willamette Week, online here.

wumb unarchives first-ever radio interview with tracy chapman

WUMB has something very special from Tracy Chapman - listen to a sample here.

Throughout Public Radio Music Month, Boston’s WUMB station has shared some incredible moments from its history as well as testimonials and performances from local public radio artists. Today, the station has unarchived the first ever radio interview with singer Tracy Chapman, taped in 1985, two years before the release of her self-titled debut album.

The one-hour piece showcases the resounding poise and natural talent Chapman possessed when she was just in her early 20s, studying at Tufts. Stream the first of three segments from this interview on WUMB’s website.

WUMB will post two additional segments from the piece tomorrow and Wednesday this week, so visit WUMB’s PRMM page to hear the remainder of Tracy’s interview with host Richard Reinert for WUMB’s program Circles in the Stream.

wfpk chats with pearl jam’s stone gossard

During an interview with WFPK, Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard talked about his appreciation for the value of public radio (listen here): 

You look at the impact of KEXP and what they’re able to accomplish using a methodology that is absolutely against every big commercial radio station’s strategy over the last ten years, which is consolidation and controlled playlists, and you know, Payola and sort of collusion basically. You look at KEXP, and you see, like, a band, you see a group of people collaborating together and trusting each other and growing their style, each individual DJ having a unique take and unique style, and people really responding to that and really supporting it, because it’s valuable.

Hear Kyle Meredith’s full interview with the artist, including some special call-outs to KCMU, KEXP and KUOW, at WFPK.org.

tony levin loves public radio

[KCMU successor KEXP] is probably one of the most influential music design organizations out there in terms of their impact in Seattle, but also their impact worldwide… And the model that they’re working with… which is they’re trusting their DJs to an enormous degree to create this blend that people are going to love… Their fans are supporting it.

— Stone Gossard, guitarist for Pearl Jam, speaks with Billboard about his love for public radio. You can read the full article here.
The Local Exposure program on WVXU finds the known - and not-so-well known - niches that make Greater Cincinnati such a unique place, exploring the regions and neighborhoods one show at a time. Throughout Public Radio Music Month, the Cincinnati Public Radio show has turned its focus to the local music of greater Cincinnati.
In its first special episode for Public Radio Music Month, Local Exposure hones in on a Mt. Lookout sheep farm turned movie theater turned music venue, The Redmoor. Hosts Jim Nolan and Chelsea VandeDrink talk with Brian Kitzmiller from Reveal Concepts and Mandy Merritt and Brain Feldkamp from The Redmoor about the venue’s eclectic history.
Chelsea produced a mash-up of highlights from all four of the PRMM episodes, which can be heard in full online at WVXU.org.
Photo from The Redmoor website. 

The Local Exposure program on WVXU finds the known - and not-so-well known - niches that make Greater Cincinnati such a unique place, exploring the regions and neighborhoods one show at a time. Throughout Public Radio Music Month, the Cincinnati Public Radio show has turned its focus to the local music of greater Cincinnati.

In its first special episode for Public Radio Music Month, Local Exposure hones in on a Mt. Lookout sheep farm turned movie theater turned music venue, The Redmoor. Hosts Jim Nolan and Chelsea VandeDrink talk with Brian Kitzmiller from Reveal Concepts and Mandy Merritt and Brain Feldkamp from The Redmoor about the venue’s eclectic history.

Chelsea produced a mash-up of highlights from all four of the PRMM episodes, which can be heard in full online at WVXU.org.

Photo from The Redmoor website.