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

An appreciation of the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, generally recognized as the first pop or rock festival of all-time.  It featured 33 acts in 3 days in June in 1967 and catapulted stars like Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, The Who and Jimi Hendrix into the American media spotlight.  A panel of music writers and photographers join festival co-producer Lou Adler, documentary filmmaker DA Pennebaker, guitarist Steve Cropper, and Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane to discuss what was so special about Monterey Pop with host Paul Ingles

An appreciation of the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, generally recognized as the first pop or rock festival of all-time.  It featured 33 acts in 3 days in June in 1967 and catapulted stars like Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, The Who and Jimi Hendrix into the American media spotlight.  A panel of music writers and photographers join festival co-producer Lou Adler, documentary filmmaker DA Pennebaker, guitarist Steve Cropper, and Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane to discuss what was so special about Monterey Pop with host Paul Ingles

Kiel Scott/Courtesy of the artist

  New Orleans-born trumpeter, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, commemorates the 100th anniversary of commercially recorded jazz in a trilogy of albums beginning with his latest, Ruler Rebel. aTunde Adjuah revisits history to highlight how many social issues remain the same to this day. 

Galea McGregor / WXPN

We’re revisiting Sting’s amazing interview from April when he passed through World Cafe to talk about his latest record, 57th and 9th. Sting shares the real-life moment in Paris’ red light district that inspired Roxanne, what The Police’s first American tour felt like, and what his grandchildren call him.

Courtesy of the Artist

If you’re a Sheryl Crow fan, at some point you’ve put on one of her old records for inspiration… Turns out – she does the exact same thing! Or at least she did when it came to make her latest record called Be Myself. We revisit our interview with Sheryl from later April, where we talked about recapturing her early 90s spirt and hear her perform new songs. She will be playing a sold out concert at the Jazz Festival on June 29th.

This week: a look back to our October 2. 2016 broadcast from the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats perform "Wasting Time" and "Out on the Weekend," Anais Mitchell sings "Why We Build the Wall" and "Clyde Waters," and John Hodgman shared a few thoughts on beards and septic systems.

John Peets/Courtesy of the artist

Rhiannon Giddens and her producer Dirk Powell join World Cafe Nashville correspondent Ann Powers with the new album Freedom Highway. Giddens shares what it was like to inhabit African American voices from the past in songs like "At the Purchaser's Option" and how slavery was wrapped into the fabric of all of American society.

Emma SIlverstone for WXPN

The American political climate inspired a lot of the lyrics on Gov't Mule's latest rock 'n' roll record, Revolution Come... Revolution Go.

ALYSSE GAFKJEN / COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

  Our guest in this session is The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, whose new solo album is called Waiting On A Song. The record is a product of Auerbach's move to Nashville, where he met some of the heavy collaborators who appear on it — including John Prine, who co-wrote the title song. Waiting On A Song also features veteran songwriter Pat McLaughlin, Grammy winner David Ferguson, Duane Eddy, Jerry Douglas and Mark Knopfler. In this session, Auerbach discusses how he got them to play on the album and performs some of the new songs.  

Melissa Stilwell

21 year old Colter Wall has already begun turning heads in the country scene with high praise from big names like Steve Earle and Rick Rubin. Nashville correspondent Ann Powers uncovers the talent that has Music City buzzing, with a voice and depth of songwriting far beyond his years.

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