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

DANNY CLINCH / COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

  On the World Cafe today is Jason Isbell, one of Nashville's most acclaimed singer-songwriters, who recently released a new album called The Nashville Sound. Hear him discuss the dual meaning behind the album title and what he thought about when writing the track “White Man’s World”.   

EVA VERMANDEL / COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Legendary British folk singer, Shirley Collins, performs music from Lodestar, her first release in nearly four decades in an encore edition of the next World Cafe. She shares the painful personal experience that kept her from singing for decades and what finally led her back to recording. 

Galea McGregor / WXPN

  It's the start of encore week, and Josh Tillman, who performs as Father John Misty, tackles survival, capitalist greed, climate change and the apocalypse on his latest album Pure Comedy. He talks about the humanity, humor and heart behind it, and performs live in an encore edition of the next World Cafe.   

A rebroadcast from December 2016  from The Town Hall in New York City, New York. Marcus Mumford sings "I Was Young When I Left Home" and "I Will," Corinne Bailey Rae performs "Hey, I Won't Break Your Heart" and "Put Your Records On," and Trevor Noah talks with Chris Thile about succeeding in succeeding.

Shawn Brackbill

After a 6-year hiatus, Fleet Foxes are back with a new album called Crack-Up. The band performs live music showcasing the folk-tinged harmonies they’re known and loved for, and lead singer Robin Pecknold tells Talia Schlanger about some of the creative forces that shaped the album including a trilogy of essays by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Friday at 2 PM on Different Radio

July at The Little Cafe: (follow link for more information)

Thursday July 13 John Palocy Trio & San Gabriel Social Club

Friday July 14 Jackson Cavalier

Saturday July 15 The Jane Mutiny

Monday July 17 Uptown Groove Duo

Tuesday July 18 Alyssa Rodriguez

Wednesday July 19 The Old Hippies

Thursday July 20 John Palocy Trio & San Gabriel Social Club

Friday July 21 Connie Deming

Saturday July 22 The Jane Mutiny

Monday July 24 Stringplicity

Photo by Angelina Castillo

With the help of Jack White's Third Man Records, the young Nashville band Sunseeker release their much anticipated debut EP Biddeford on July 14th. The Music City four piece now hope to make their presence known nationally - hear why the 21 years olds have been so quickly recognized for their talent in their artistically rich hometown.

Michael Black / WXXI

Best known as David Letterman’s house band leader for 33 years, Paul Shaffer is back with The World’s Most Dangerous Band. Their new record features Shaggy, Jenny Lewis, Darius Rucker, and Bill Murray. Paul talks about his time with Dave, his gig playing in the original Saturday Night Live House band and his role as Artie Fufkin in the mockumentary cult hit This is Spinal Tap.

Courtesy of the Artist

From growing up in LA to living in a 200-year-old gothic home in Virginia so her father could pursue priesthood, hear how Angelica Garcia’s range of experiences has shaped her music on her debut album, Medicine for Birds.

John Vettese/WXPN

Austin based Sweet Spirit, is punchy, powerhouse party band. Their raucous live shows earned them a fan in Britt Daniel of Spoon, who gave them a leg up on their debut album. Sweet Spirit performs music from their follow-up record called St. Mojo and share wild and fun stories befitting a wild and fun band on the next World Café.

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