WRUR 88.5 Different Radio

Michael Black

Radio Program Manager

I was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, and grew up mostly in and around the Rochester area. I got my radio start at WBKT at Brockport High school as a sophomore, and was its station manager in my senior year in high school. I had caught the radio & TV bug. While in high school, I started working for the local commercial station in town (WWBK/WJBT). While attending SUNY Brockport, I helped build WBSU-FM, and started as an intern for WXXI-TV. I started working for WXXI in the broadcast operations area, and eventually became an online television editor. In 1985, I took a position at WHYY in Philadelphia in their engineering department, working primarily as a video editor, but also provided audio support for TV productions and for some radio productions, including NPR's Fresh Air.

In 1988, I took a position at Hobart & William Smith Colleges as station manager for WEOS, and transformed the station into a public radio service serving the Finger Lakes, including laying the ground work for WITH in Ithaca, which is on the air today. This included expanding coverage area, and increasing local programming that in some cases, went national. A lot of students I worked with have gone into the broadcast industry, including Jonas Schwartz, Chris Carlin, Josh Horowitz, and Dana Glaser, to name a few. I even dabbled in on air play-by-play sports, garnering a Media person of the year award from the USILA for lacrosse broadcasts.

In 2007, I rejoined WXXI as the radio program manager, to oversee WXXI-AM and WRUR, and work on new projects, which now include our partnership with HWS with WEOS and helping to launch WITH in Ithaca. I have a passion for public media and new music, and strive to continue to grow public media. 

I have a passion for craft beers, and actively support the local brewing community. I also am a chili-head! Bring the heat!

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of the Artist

Indie folk band The Wooden Sky are known in their hometown of Toronto for lightning-in-a-bottle live shows. They visit World Café to perform songs from their latest album Swimming in Strange Waters. Plus, lead singer Gavin Gardener shares one of the best "first guitar" stories ever, involving a plane with no door and Ritchie Valens.

Todd Owyoung

Rock and Roll legend, Chuck Berry, recently passed away at the age of 90. Three months after his death, Berry?s final album, Chuck, was released? one last gift to all his loving and dedicated fans. Chuck Berry's son Charles Berry Jr. played guitar on the album and joins us to share stories of growing up, recording and touring with his late father on the next World Cafe.

Juan Queirolo

It's an indie dance-pop rave-up with Javiera Mena for World Cafe's Latin Roots session!  Get ready to move to a live performance that showcases why the Chilean songstress is so beloved at home, and earned a Latin Grammy nomination here for her last album, 2015's Otra Mena.  Tuesday at 2 PM on Different Radio,

Danny Clinch

For more than fifty years, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has kept the pulse of New Orleans’ musical traditions strong, but the rhythms of their latest album So It Is are infused with inspiration from the band’s recent trip to Cuba. Preservation Hall Jazz Band delivers an explosive performance guaranteed to make you move on the next World Cafe.

Courtesy of the Artist

Katie Crutchfield's new Waxahatchee album Out in the Storm came after the end of a difficult relationship - but she wants listeners to focus on is how the songs touch their own experiences.  She talks about that, and the support twin sister Allison gave her on this record, as their creative relationship has evolved over the years. Today at 2 PM on Different Radio.

Courtesy of the Artist

Sherman Holmes’ career has been defined for decades as a member of the trio the Holmes Brothers. But in 2015, his bandmates Wendell and Popsy passed away. Holmes talks about how he found the courage to go on and make his debut solo album without his bandmates. Sherman Holmes performs on the next World Cafe.   

Pamela Springsteen/Courtesy of the artist

One of America's premier songwriters, Randy Newman, sits down at the piano to perform and talks with the Cafe's David Dye.  He's been releasing records since the '60s, and his new album, called Dark Matter, is out today. Friday at 2 PM on Different Radio.

Courtesy of the Artist

Mexico's Café Tacvba are considered one of the most groundbreaking bands of the rock en espanol movement. Cafe Tacvba performs and talks about the musical diversity that defined their seminal album Re and continues through their latest Jei Beibei on the next World Cafe. Today at 2PM on Different Radio.

Emma Silverstone/WXPN

Atlanta-based Manchester Orchestra step out of their crunchy, guitar-driven comfort zone in favor of sweeping, cinematic sounds on their latest release, A Black Mile to the Surface. They explain how scoring the film Swiss Army Man, starring Daniel Radcliffe, changed their approach to making albums and perform live on the next World Cafe. Today at 2 PM on Different Radio.

Courtesy of MTV

"Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll". Those were the words TV audiences heard on August 1, 1981 when a brand new channel called Music Television launched. MTV changed the world of music, and we celebrate with a full show of the earliest video hits including The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" and Pat Benatar's "You Better Run".

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