(a portion of this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)
Grady Kirkpatrick (center) with the 2014 WYOmericana Caravan
Reflecting the colorful character of the state while keeping a finger on the national pulse, the glue to Wyoming’s music scene is Wyoming Public Radio (WPR). WPR Program Director and Morning Music host Grady Kirkpatrick took the reigns in December of 2007. Kirkpatrick has added a significant boon to the community-minded, artist-driven, non-formulaic regional radio experience. With WPR’s on-air fund drive that began last Saturday, Kirkpatrick discusses station happenings and what’s to come.
Aaron Davis: Morning Music has hosted more live bands and musicians in the studio during last couple of years. Is this a reflection of WPR’s willingness to have more live music, or is there more demand from bands that reach out?
Grady Kirkpatrick: Live music has always been a part of Morning Music and we’ve been fortunate to have more national and regional musicians coming through the area wanting to play on both Morning Music and the Ranch Breakfast Show. We are lucky to have many talented musicians in Wyoming and all over the region. WPR has hosted artists that are playing the Live at Dennison Lodge music series in Dubois. We would love to bring in more national touring musicians that play in Denver, Jackson and Salt Lake, and route through Laramie. We just added eTown to our schedule Saturdays at 1 p.m. It’s a music performance program based in Boulder, CO so there’s an opportunity to collaborate with them to bring in musicians in for live or recorded performance.
AD: What is the benefit of having live, in-studio bands performing as opposed to just spinning their latest album on-air?
GK: Most musicians have good stories to tell about their music or their inspiration behind the music. I think our listeners appreciate hearing “live radio” and in-studio performances along with