High Plains Public Radio announces two changes to its weekend program line-up. Starting this Saturday, February 29, HPPR will feature the two-hour program American Routes, hosted by award-winning musicologist Nick Spitzer. American Routes covers a broad spectrum of American music: blues and jazz, gospel and soul, old-time country and rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco, Tejano and Latin, roots rock and pop, avant-garde and classical. In addition to the music, Spitzer includes documentary elements and interviews with musical luminaries such as Willie Nelson, Tom Waits, B.B. King, Abbey Lincoln, Elvis Costello, Ray Charles, Randy Newman, McCoy Tyner, Lucinda Williams, Rufus Thomas, and Jerry Lee Lewis, just to name a few.
American Routes host Nick Spitzer was the founding director of the Louisiana Folklife Program for the State of Louisiana and has served as a senior folklife specialist at the Smithsonian Institution, the artistic director for the Folk Masters concert/broadcasts from Carnegie Hall and Wolf Trap, and the Independence Day concerts broadcast live on NPR from the National Mall.
American Routes will air Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and replaces the long-time HPPR favorite Western Swing and Other Things. "For more than 31 years, Western Swing and Other Things has been a staple for public radio listeners across the region, and I'm sorry to see it go," said HPPR executive director Will Murphy. "I wish Marshal Bailey and Cowgirl Janey all the best, and we thank them for the many years of great music they brought to the High Plains."
Another change to the weekend schedule will be the loss of Studio 360, which has aired Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. on HPPR (and again at 3 a.m. Thursdays). Studio 360, hosted for nearly 20 years by best-selling author Kurt Anderson, has offered a guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Andersen examined the people creating and shaping our culture. Anderson has decided to end his weekly program due to the proliferation of blogs and podcasts. "When we started," Andersen says, "there was no other show like it. Now everyone is covering it." Anderson’s final show will air this Saturday, February 29, at 7 p.m., on High Plains Public Radio.
Studio 360 will be replaced, at least in the short-term, by City Arts & Lectures, which also runs at 1 a.m. Wednesdays on HPPR. "I hope the more prominent exposure of City Arts & Lectures will draw more listeners to what is one of the most interesting and thoughtful spoken word programs in radio today," Murphy said.