Community Radio Fights to Stay Live (and Weird) Despite Coronavirus

Local stations have cut down on D.J.s coming to the studio, but playlists and personalities are holding strong as small stations get a chance to build bigger audiences.


“Greetings, virus people!”

The on-air patter was hardly what you would expect from a radio D.J. addressing his listeners during a pandemic last week. But Ken Freedman, the station manager and program director at Jersey City’s WFMU 91.1 and 91.9 FM — broadcasting to the greater New York City area, “Your station from the epicenter!” — sounded practically chipper.

Like the rest of the country’s noncommercial, community radio programmers, Freedman has been forced into hastily improvising a response to the growing spread of Covid-19. Staffed largely by volunteer D.J.s taking time away from paying jobs as teachers, bartenders and everything in between, these scrappy local stations have had little in the way of either precedent or outside resources to fall back on. Operating independently of both National Public Radio’s networked affiliates, as well as the rigidly formatted music stations owned by corporate chains like iHeartMedia, they’ve been left to figure out the changed media landscape for themselves. Some have adopted a “keep calm and carry on” philosophy. Others have taken a decidedly different tack. Continue reading

Poll: Americans Don’t Trust What They’re Hearing From Trump On Coronavirus

Trump

After the White House downplayed the coronavirus threat in the past month, the number of Republicans saying it has been blown out of proportion jumped, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Americans have little trust in the information they are hearing from President Trump about the novel coronavirus, and their confidence in the federal government’s response to it is declining sharply, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just 46% of Americans now say the federal government is doing enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, down from 61% in February.

Just 37% of Americans now say they had a good amount or a great deal of trust in what they’re hearing from the president, while 60% say they had not very much or no trust at all in what he’s saying.

Don’t see the graphic above? Click here.

The president rates worst of all groups tested, be it public health officials, state and local leaders or the news media. And more Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of the pandemic than approve by a 49%-44% margin. But that does not differ greatly from his overall job approval rating, which stands at 43%. Continue reading

Tiny Desk Concert: King Creosote and Jon Hopkins

One of The Hobbledehoy’s favorite albums of the past decade is Diamond Mine by King Creosote and Jon Hopkin.

In 2011, Kenny “King Creosote” Anderson’s collaborative album with Jon Hopkins was nominated for the Mercury Prize and the Scottish Album of the Year Award.

Here’s a 2011 live performance by the duo for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.

Set List:
“John Taylor’s Month Away”
“Bubble”
“Cockle Shell”
“And The Racket They Made”

More on King Creosote

Serenity Now: Music And A Conversation With Joan Shelley

The Hobbledehoy is vey much looking forward to hearing Joan Shelley perform in Boston on Friday night. Though she hails from Kentucky, Joan’s music borrows quite a lot from British traditional folk sounds, and English vocalists like June Tabor, who she frequently cites as a major influence. Give a listen to NPR’s All Songs Considered interview below.

In this All Songs Considered guest DJ session, Joan Shelley talks about her latest album, Like the River Loves the Sea and shares songs by some of the other artists who’ve inspired her over the years.

Joan Shelley makes music that lulls my soul. Her new album, Like the River Loves the Sea, is a serene experience. It’s music with a deep connection to British folk music from the ’60s and ’70s but with influences from this side of the world and her home of Louisville, Kentucky.

On this edition of All Songs Considered, Joan Shelley is joined by her musical partner and Louisville companion, guitarist Nathan Salsburg to play DJ. You can hear the roots of the music they make in the songs they chose to share, from American banjo legend Roscoe Holcomb to English folk singer June Tabor and the contemporary music of Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

Joan Shelley tells the story of recording Like the River Loves the Sea in Iceland and how they had to forgo adding banjo to the album because they couldn’t locate one in Iceland. We also hear Joan Shelley’s early trio called Maiden Radio, Joan and Nathan’s new collaboration with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and how she met him at an ugly sweater party in Kentucky [ . . . ]

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW with JOAN SHELLEY at: Serenity Now: Music And A Conversation With Joan Shelley