Stephen Johnson

Open Range host

As the host of "Open Range" Steve Johnson brings a lifetime of hearing and performing a wide variety of music to this unique program. Growing up in a home where everything from opera to Bill Evans and the Beatles were heard and embraced, he studied piano in college where he became passionate about free-form radio where you might hear everything from punk rock to classic country or jazz in the course of a few hours."Open Range" is your invitation to an hour of radio unleashed- presented with heart and humor. All you need for this adventure is an open mind and open ears.

Community: Garden City,S

Phone:(800) 678-7444 (Garden City studios)

Ways to Connect

Thanks to the generous folks at Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, High Plains Public Radio is pleased to offer TWO TICKETS to any regular season performance for the ASO in the 2019-2020 season (excluding special performances). See below for eligible performances!


Hello, this is Steve Johnson, and my topic for the Radio Readers Book Club is the original Hardy Boys Mystery Series.  The Hardy Boys series was launched by Edward Stratemeyer of the Stratemeyer Syndicate in 1927 under the author name of Franklin W. Dixon.

The series would be penned by several ghostwriters over the first forty years, but the first, and arguably the best was Leslie McFarlane, a young Canadian who was working as a reporter for a small-town newspaper in Massachusetts in 1926 when he answered an ad in the trade journal "Editor and Publisher" seeking fiction writers to work from publisher's outlines.

University of Iowa Yearbook, circa 1920 / University of Iowa

Hello, this is Steve Johnson. I live in Garden City, Kansas, and host "Open Range" here at HPPR. I'll be discussing the original Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series as part of

the Radio Readers Book Club Spring read, It’s A Mystery to Me!

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series were the creations of Edward Stratemeyer, head of the Stratemeyer syndicate which dominated the market for children's and juvenile series fiction from the late 1890s to the 1940s. The Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift, Rover Boys and Cherry Ames were all products of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The Hardy Boys series was launched in 1927 and Nancy Drew in 1930. When Stratemeyer set the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series in motion, he was well aware of the cultural

changes occurring in America, including the national obsession with crime. Movie newsreels and newspaper headlines were filled with sensational crimes.

During Prohibition, great fortunes were made by bootleggers. Real hoodlums like Chicago's Al Capone and John Dillinger were transformed by the media into dark

superheroes. A golden age of crime and detective fiction flourished led by writers like Dashiell Hammett. Cheap pulp fiction magazines titillated readers with lurid tales of

private eyes, buxom dames and corrupt cops.

John Graham

Recently I spoke with Amarillo Symphony Music director and conducter Jacomo Bairos about the 2018-2019 season now underway. In this audio clip, Bairos talks about the exciting  music, performers and outreach plans for the Amarillo Symphony for the current season.

Pampa native and internationally renowned soprano Mary Jane Johnson sparkles as the featured soloist in this week's Amarillo Symphony Presents.   Johnson joins conductor Jacomo Bairos and the Symphony for some grand opera favorites including two arias by Puccinni and "Es gibt ein Reich" from Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos."  A virtuosic reading of Wagner's celebrated "Ride of the Valkyries'' concludes the program.

Works by four of France's greatest composers are featured on this week's presentation of Amarillo Symphony Presents. 

Jacomo Bairos conducts Ravel's "Rigadoun" from "Le Tambeau de Couperin" and "La Mer," one of the greatest works in the symphonic repertoire. 

Violinist Ilana Sutapen is the soloist for Camille Saint-Saens' "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" and the stirring "Poeme for Violin and Orchestra" by Ernst Chausson. These two pieces are performed under the baton of guest conductor Lawrence Loh.

Alexi Kenney is the featured soloist this week on the program, performing Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D minor. The concerto is the only one Jean Sibelius published throughout a long and influential career. Kenney was named "a talent to watch" by the New York Times and was a recipient of the 2016 Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Brahm's Variations on a Theme of Haydn, a personal favorite piece of the composer and audiences alike opens the program. Both works are performed under the direction of Jacomo Rafael Bairos.

A dazzling program of symphonic masterpieces marks the 2018 debut of Amarillo Symphony Presents on HPPR. Guest conductor Yanniv Dinur leads the orchestra through a sublime performance of Gabriel Faure's "Pavane" and Stilian Kirov also has a turn at the podium conducting the Fourth Symphony (Italian) by Felix Mendelssohn.  Ravel's "Alborada del Gracioso" and Chris Rogerson's "The Way Through" are performed under the baton of AS Music Director, Jacomo Rafael Bairos.

Jacomo Bairos conducts a magnificent performance of the Third Symphony, "Eroica" by Ludwig Von Beethoven. The program opens with Mozart's beloved Overture from "The Marriage of Figaro."

The final broadcast for the Summer 2018 season of Amarillo Symphony Presents is Thursday, September 13th at 7pm CT. Highlights include "South Pacific: Symphonic Scenario for Orchestra," an arrangement from Rogers and Hammerstein's seminal show by Richard Russell Bennett, and "Scatter," a concerto for Project Trio and orchestra written in 2016 by Adam Schoenberg.

A symphony with an identity crisis? Mahler's Symphony No. 1 was described in the composer's letters originally as a traditional symphony, but programs for its earliest performances described it as a symphonic poem. Thus began a series of revisions that eventually produced the definitive four movement work we'll be hearing as Jacomo Bairos conducts the Amarillo Symphony in a performance recorded April 2018 at the Globe News Center For the Performing Arts. Amarillo Symphony Presents airs Sunday at noon CT and again on Thursday 7pm CT. Hosted and produced by Stephen Johnson.

This week on Amarillo Symphony Presents, we're taking a little trip! First, we visit the American West with Aaron Copland's "Rodeo." Then, we're off to the UK for Ralph Vaughn Williams's "Lark Ascending." Finally, we drop by France with Gabriel Faure's "Pavane." Plus, ASO's Music Director/Conductor Jacomo Bairos talks about the upcoming 2017-18 symphony season.

Beethoven loved being close to nature, and often left Vienna to work in the country. These rural sabbaticals inspired Beethoven's only programmatic work: Symphony No. 6, also known as the "Pastorale." We'll hear this monumental work this week on Amarillo Symphony Presents.

Did you know that in addition to performing the standard classical repertoire, the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra also showcases emerging contemporary composers? Through West Texas A&M's Composer's Initiative and other commissions, listeners across the High Plains have access to new, original classical music. This week on Amarillo Symphony Presents, we'll enjoy works from several of these musical visionaries. So show your regional pride, and tune in for this special program!


It's the end of Summer, and we're taking a mini-musical vacation this week on Amarillo Symphony Presents. Tune in for a few Broadway blockbusters, and then spend some time getting to know the innovative and talented group, Project Trio—including the "Scatter" Concerto by Adam Schoenberg, developed for Project Trio and the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra.   

We're fiddling around this week on Amarillo Symphony Presents. It's an exciting program featuring violin virtuosi Ilana Setapen, Espen Lilleslatten, and Michelle Skinner.

Tune in Thursday at 7pm  for music from J.S.Bach, Ernest Chausson, and Camille Saint-Saëns. 

This week on Amarillo Symphony Presents, we bring you music by "The Mighty Masters."

First, we'll feature Johannes Brahms with his "Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn," conducted by Jacomo Bairos. Next, Stilian Kirov takes the podium for Beethoven"s monumental "5th Symphony." 

In 1949, as he lay on his deathbed, Richard Strauss said to his daughter-in-law, "It's a funny thing, Alice...dying is exactly as I composed it in 'Tod und Verklarung.'"

This week on Amarillo Symphony Presents, we'll hear two monumental tone poems by Strauss: "Death and Transfiguration" and "Don Juan." 

This week on Amarillo Symphony Presents, tune in for symphonic masterpieces based on timeless stories from other lands.

First, lose yourself in the "Danse Bacchanale" from the final act of Camille Saint-Saëns’s grand opera, Samson & Delilah. It’s based on the Old Testament's Book of Judges. (Lawrence Loh, conductor.)

"Open Range" this week features two great Ry Cooder-produced cuts: Buena Vista Social Club's "Chan Chan" and "I'll Be Rested" from the great Mavis Staples. Also, new music from Johnnie Lang and London Grammar. As an added bonus, local poet Ms. G. Dunbar will be reading from her work.

This week I'll be hosting "Open Range" live with Cindee Talley as part of our Summer Mini-Drive. I can't give you a playlist this time, beacuse Cindee and I  rather enjoy surprising each other! One of the reasons I love doing this show is that it not only allows, but welcomes surprises. 

Mix your Margaritas and hang the hammocks! We're escaping these long, hot days with a little cool down retreat on "Open Range." We'll be joined by Ella Fitzgerald, Quincy Jones, Sammy Davis, Jr....and even Robert Mitchum! The B52's convey the horrors of "Party Gone Out of Bounds," and we'll join Peruvian Princess Yma Sumac on "Huachina(Enchanted Lake)" and the Buena Vista Social Club promises a visit! Saturday 3pm CT repeated at Midnight.

It's Memorial Day Weekend and there's an abundance of wonderful music to celebrate with on Open Range. We'll be hearing from Savage Garden, Joni Mitchell, Flobots, Charlie Christian with the Benny Goodman Sextet, Bette Midler and a slew of others. Also, we thank the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces with songs from Trace Adkins and Michael Feinstein. See you Saturday! 3pm CT repeated at Midnight.

There's an hour's worth of righteous records lined up for "Open Range" this Saturday. In addition to Eartha and Eminem, we'll hear from the Church, Sheryl Crow, guitarist Manuel Barrueco, Ben Taylor and others... Rod Stewart begins the show with a cut from his brand-new Capitol CD, "Time." Saturday 3pm CT repeated at Midnight.

Hi, Friends...While preparing this week's program I encountered a couple of CD's well worth checking out...With his brand new release on Rounder Records, Tom Jones reinvents himself completely as he confronts the "Spirit in the Room." Jones covers Tom Waits, Joe Henry, Bob Dylan and others as if every word were etched on his soul and each  note on this disc is right as rain.  Next is  an older (1996 ) Nonesuch Records release,  in which  jazz pianist Fred Hersch presents a dazzling collection of Billy Strayhorn tunes titled "Passion Flower-Fred Hersch Plays Billy Strayhorn" that range from