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

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.

Hayley Young/Courtesy of the artist

Portugal. The Man's new single “Feel it Still” is a danceable earworm. In this interview the band reveals the covert messages the song contains about the social injustices today, and discuss the eclectic music festival feel of their upcoming album Woodstock.

MICHAEL LOCCISANO / GETTY IMAGES

Gregg Allman died May 27, 2017, at the age of 69. He's remembered by the music world as a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band and one of the pioneers of Southern rock. We revisit Allman's last visit to World Cafe in 2011, when he performed songs from his seventh solo studio album, Low Country Blues. We also will visit with the Old 97's. 

For decades, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has ranked highly on many All-Time Best Album lists. Celebrated as the first quasi-concept album in rock, fans and critics have long lauded the songcraft, the pioneering production sounds, and its colorful, now iconic, cover art. Some say it both reflected and drove the burgeoning youth culture through the "Summer of Love" in 1967. In more recent years, some critics have tried to cut through the mythology of the album and reconsider it in every way.

Thanks to all who came out and supported our Tiny Desk favorites concert. We had a full house at Three Heads Brewery and the music, beer, and BBQ were fantastic. Thanks to Kitestring, Machine Gun English, and The Mighty High and Dry for their musical talents, and a specail thanks to Geoff, Zach, and all the staff of Three Heads for an amazing evening in support of public media and local music. Keep listening to Different Radio for details of our next event.

Courtesy of the Artist

Indie rockers Pinegrove won over critics and fans with their warm, nostalgia-tinged 2016 album Cardinal. The Montclair, New Jersey band talks about friendship, community and why they decided to donate all the proceeds from a live version of their album to the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Then in hour two, a lively Latin Roots session with IFE

Tonight is the Different Radio  Tiny Desk Favorites Concert at Three Heads Brewing Beer Garden (186 Atlantic Avenue), with The Mighty High And Dry, Kitestring, and Machine Gun English. Plus Midnight Smoke BBQ will be on site for some great 'Q to go along with great Three Heads Beer! Doors open at 6:00 pm and the music starts at 7:00 pm. Join us for beer tastings, flights, music and fun, and support Different Radio, WRUR and WITH!

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