Watch this–on public radio

Oregon family "watching" the radio in 1925. Photo: US Dept. of Agriculture

Oregon family “watching” the radio in 1925. Photo: US Dept. of Agriculture

One of the attractions of radio listening is that you produce the accompanying images in your own head. And, of course, you can listen and drive at the same time. Increasingly, however, public radio producers are adding a video dimension to their work for online audiences. Some of the results are outstanding, some are OK, some not so much. But let me introduce you to some of the outstanding.

NPR Music has been producing and curating great music-oriented video for a number of years now. If you are a weekend visitor to NCPR, you will often find a great (often new) artist showcased in a Tiny Desk Concert, or a Studio Session, or a Live in Concert feature. NPR Music will be at SXSW in Austin next week, streaming live video from a number or top performers. Folk Alley has also featured some great music video recorded and produced by Beehive Productions, which has a studio in Saranac Lake. And NPR has used embedded video to flesh out many of its radio features online, such as these current stories: one on samba music in Rio during Carnival, and one on music of the Santeria religion in Cuba.

Here is a Beehive Productions video recorded in West Hurley, NY:

Aoife O’Donovan – Red & White & Blue & Gold from Beehive Productions on Vimeo.

A number of radio programs broadcast on NCPR have their own corresponding Youtube video channels. For example, you can watch Krista Tippet’s  interview with singer Bobby McFerrin from last week’s On Being. If you missed John Gorka’s performance on Mountain Stage two weeks back, you can watch part of that. Afropop Worldwide has 87 music and interview videos on their Youtube channel, and Q just posted a new video today, of Hayden performing “Almost Everything” live in Studio Q.  Many stations also have channels on Youtube, including NCPR. I recommend our recent videos of young indie-pop harpist Mikaela Davis, a student at Crane School of Music, but a seasoned and remarkable performer nonetheless.

Here’s Mikaela playing “River” in the NCPR studio:

One of my favorite recent discoveries is a series of archive interviews called Blank on Blank. If you listen to our Public Radio Remix station WREM in St. Lawrence County, you might have heard this series, curated from interviews recorded by a wide spectrum of music and entertainment journalists. In cooperation with PBS studios, these audio-only features are accompanied by fantastic animations. Two I’ve watched this week are Jerry Garcia On The Acid Tests and Janis Joplin on Rejection. (On the basis of these choices, you should be able to guess my age within a few years.)

Here’s an example of the work from Blank on Blank:

I’m always on the lookout for great video to feature and share with NCPR visitors. Recommend some of your favorite sources for eye and ear candy, musical or otherwise, in a comment below.


4 Comments on “Watch this–on public radio”

  1. michael coffey says:

    Dale, not sure if you’ve seen this video, but it is quite cheering—Beatles tune breaks out in Madrid unemployment office:

  2. Dale Hobson says:


    It’s one of my all-time favorites. I featured it a few weeks ago as an antidote to this endless heinous winter.

  3. Lenore says:

    Just a quick thank-you for the Blank on Blank reference; wonderful.

  4. Hank says:

    I love the Youtube video Michael referenced. Maybe some day we can have a musical performance break out among the staff at NCPR; you guys and gals are all very talented.

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