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

Allison Crutchfield came of musical age in the DIY punk scene, and has collaborated with many bands including P.S. Eliot and Bad Banana which she founded with her twin sister Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee. This year, she released her beautifully crafted and very personal debut full-length solo album called, Tourist in This Town.  

Courtesy of the Artist

This week: we rebroadcast a show from November 2016 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, Colorado. Trey Anastasio plays "Brian and Robert" and "Water in the Sky," The Staves sing "Sadness Don't Own Me" and "Hopeless," and Tig Notaro discusses what it's like to be a comedian.

Galea McGrego/WXPN

Today on the World Cafe is the indie rock quartet, Hippo Campus, from Minnesota. On their first full-length album, the group intended to write around a unified theme - exploring the impact of social media. Find out why that changed as they delved deeper into crafting the new songs.   

Courtesy of the Artist

On his new album City Music, Kevin Morby, taps into his love of Lou Reed and Patti Smith to craft characters and songs that evoke New York City. Morby was also inspired by a 2015 New York Times article called "The Lonely Death of George Bell" to write about the solitude of living in a big metropolis.

 

Courtesy of the Artist

Phoenix holed up in an old Paris opera house in 2014 to begin recording their new album Ti Amo. The French band turned their feelings of unrest about the tumultuous times around them into music that serves as an escape. Ti Amo explores “love, desire, lust and innocence” with the a romanticized flair of summer discos in Italy.

Courtesy of the Artist

Activist, preacher, and author, Rev. Sekou brings social consciousness to his soulful and bluesy debut album, In Times Like These. The album was produced by Luther Dickinson and features Cody Dickinson, whose band North Mississippi Allstars also released a new album recently, Prayer For Peace. We catch up with both North Mississippi Allstars and Rev. Sekou on their combined tour.

Get the inside scoop on the 2017 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival with Democrat and Chronicle music critic Jeff Spevak.Every weekday morning during the festival June 23-30, Jeff will be joining Scott Regan on Open Tunings to run down the day’s best bets and the most intriguing artists. He’ll also throw in performance reviews and a few tips to make your trip to the festival a lot more fun. Listen to Open Tunings every morning at 10:30 on WRUR-FM 88.5 for  The Jazz Corner.

Leslie Kalohi

  Country-tinged singer songwriter Jade Jackson says Lucinda Williams’ album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road served as the template for her debut, Gilded. The album was produced by Mike Ness from Social Distortion. Jackson was raised in a small California town by parents who shunned television and the internet. As a child Jade fell in love with her father’s record collection and started writing her own songs. 

Courtesy of the Artist

It's the first day of summer and what better way to celebrate than with Yacht Rock? Kick back with an ice –cold beverage and enjoy an ocean of smooth soft-listening music made in the late 70s and early 80s by artists like Toto, the Doobie Brothers, Hall & Oates and Kenny Loggins. Note: this show is best enjoyed on a luxurious boat wearing a Captain hat.

photo by Tonje Thilesen | courtesy of the artist

In 2015 (Sandy) Alex G stepped out of his bedroom and gave us his first album, Beach Music, earning himself a place alongside Frank Ocean on two of the pop sensation’s albums, Blonde and Endless. Now, Alex G is back and at it again, sweeping us up through intimate songs with a homemade feel, on his most recent album, Rocket.

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