I’m as surprised as anyone to announce that I will be opening for none other than our friends They Might Be Giants at their big family show at SummerStage in Central Park on August 12. I’m doing a DJ set, which is not something I have exactly done before! But I have chosen a lot of songs in my time on this here radio machine so maybe I can figure this out.
SummerStage Family Day runs from 2:00 to 5:00 and the band’s show is all themed around science, so I’m thinking my set will be too.
We’ve got some new affiliates and new time slots, so here’s a rundown of all the places you can hear Spare the Rock on the terrestrial radio machine (in addition to streaming it here any old time):
KUTX 98.9, Austin, Texas — our flagship station — Sundays at 6:00 pm
93.9 The River, Northampton, MA (and 101.5 Brattleboro VT, and now 103.7 Keene, NH!) — Saturdays at 8:00 am
WNKU 105.9, 89.7, 104.1, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky (and many areas around) — Saturdays at 6:00 am
106.1 The Corner, Charlottesville, Virginia — Sundays at 8:00 am
KVRZ 88.9, Libby, Montana — Saturdays at 9:00 am
KIYU, Western Koyukon Region, Alaska — Saturdays at 7:00 pm
Valley Free Radio 103.3, Northampton, MA — Saturdays at 7:00 am
KFOK, Georgetown, California — Sundays at 8:00 am
WJFF 90.5, Jeffersonville, New York — Saturdays at 10:00 am
Spark Radio 102.3 KMRE, Bellingham, Washington — Saturdays at 10:00 am
KCMJ 93.9, Colorado Springs, Colorado — Saturdays at 2:00 pm
Crazy! Thanks to all of our great affiliates for airing the show. And if you know a station — commercial or non-commercial — that you think could use great family programming, get in touch with them or with me!
We’re traveling and so we recorded a few shows ahead of time. So I can’t do anything on the radio about Charleston, and I don’t know that I would or should anyway.
But I do want to write a little bit here before our day in London starts.
When a person of color, or a person of a non-Christian faith, does something horrific, the narrative is about the group or groups to which they belong. And just as often, when a white or (nominally) Christian person does a similar act, the narrative shifts to being about mental illness, and how surprising the act was.
Of course we have to talk about mental illness, and of course a fully healthy person doesn’t do these things (though lets steer clear of making this yet another chance to stigmatize those with mental illness).
But we can’t end the conversation there. I think we have to think about how children are raised — with love or with hate, and with active conversations about race and class and differences and privilege. And about guns. When those conversations are not part of our culture, it’s not at all surprising that these killings keep happening.
I don’t know anything about the Charleston killer’s childhood beyond what has been reported, and I don’t know if that’s all been accurate. I’m not saying a thing about his parents.
But I do know that he walked into a place that welcomed him and sat down next to people who were raised to welcome visitors with open arms and open hearts and open minds. He at least pretended to pray with these loving people, and then he stood up, looked around at them, these people who had welcomed him and prayed with him, and he shot them to death. With a gun given to him by his parents.
It’s reasonable to ask why I’m posting about this on the website for a children’s radio show. Jessica Luther, an Austin mom, posted this on Twitter yesterday:
“A 5yo black girl survived last night by playing dead. Surely my 6yo white son can survive a conversation about why she matters.”
Maybe naively, I think part of that conversation can be started and facilitated through music. Music that celebrates love and difference and play and fun and history and the future. Music that gets kids dancing together, spinning together, singing together, holding hands together. Music that asks interesting questions and hopefully gives parents a chance to talk about some possible answers.
So, put on some music, hold your kids, and, if the time is right, have a hard conversation about what happened. It can only help.
Love you all.
As usual, Elizabeth Mitchell (here with Dan Zanes) is a great place to start. Hopefully the embedding will work:
P.S. Please don’t make the narrative be just about the South, either. South Carolina has some amazingly wonderful and loving people, and every state has its problems. Certainly there are regional issues but these are not issues unique to anyone or any state.
I’m super pleased to announce that a new station — 106.1 The Corner, in Charlottesville, Virginia — has picked up the show! The Corner is a commercial AAA station not unlike the River, with a real commitment to community and an eclectic playlist. They’ll be airing the show Sunday mornings starting this weekend.
Adding them into our current affiliates, Spare the Rock is now heard on five stations, two commercial and three non-commercial! Here’s when you can hear us, all times local:
Like the vast majority of radio programmers and reviewers, I receive most music we play and that I write about for free, and I get into most shows I organize, and some other shows, for free. We have gotten review copies of a few books that Ella talks about for free.