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

Marie Planeille

Join us at noon as Malian music collective Tinariwen performs a live midday concert on Friday.

Longtime Milwaukee bandleader Paul Cebar and his group Tomorrow Sound join us for a live midday concert live Friday at noon. 

Long-running singer-songwriter and Different Radio favorite Suzanne Vega is this week's concert artist. 

Vega's discography spans nearly 30 years, from her mid-80s beginnings to her breakout 1987 release Solitude Standing – which gave us the song "Tom's Diner" and its ubiquitous dance remix by DNA. Vega's output has been steady since then; and is set to release her latest record, Tales from the Realm of the Queens of Pentacles, on February 18th via her own Amanuensis Productions label.

The four piece country-tinged New England rockers The Alternate Routes join us on January 10th for our Noon performance on Live from World Cafe Live. 

  Last month the band put out its first new music in three years, a single called "Nothing More" that was written in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, CT. The song was released in support of the Newtown Kindness non-profit.The Alternate Routes' third full-length album, Lately, was released in 2010, and it plans a follow-up album for later this year.

An NPR tradition every New Year's Eve since the 1970s, Toast of the Nation is the perfect audio complement for the occasion. It's jazz that you can party to, all night long with four countdowns to midnight and four different renditions of "Auld Lang Syne" in all continental time zones. Spirited, improvised, grooving and swinging, each segment is a stop in a sequence of celebrations, contributing something new to the musical feast. Eight hours of music will start at 9pm and continue throughout the night until 5am.

This week, the amazing singer songwriter Nicole Atkins returns with the best album of her career. We've been big fans of Nicole Atkins since her debut album. and on February 4th, She releases a new album. She'll be playing new material as well as some of her older favorites. 

Recent Release: Slow Phaser 

Release Date: February 4, 2014

Label: Self-released

Brooklyn orchestral indie rock outfit San Fermin released the sleeper hit record of 2014 with its self-titled debut. 

Clay Patrick McBride

Eclectic singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash joins us for this week's Free at Noon concert. The Different Radio favorite and daughter of country music legend Johnny Cash is readying her latest full length record, The River and the Thread, for an January 2014 release. The album, written with her husband and longtime collaborator John Leventhal, will be her first album of original material since 2006's acclaimed Black Cadillac. Cash also earned praise recently for 2009's The List, an album covering 12 country music classics from a list her father gave her at age 18.

Red Baraat, led by dhol player Sunny Jain, puts a spin on the Bhangra music of Northern India by mixing in a jazzy brass section and injecting the party vibe of a funk band. The band has released three albums on SinJ Records, most recently Shruggy Ji. Recent Release: Shruggy JiRelease Date: January 15, 2013Label: Sinj

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