In its third year, the national event focused on the incredible work of noncommercial stations in supporting their local communities and musicians.
Talk to anyone working, supporting, or listening to public radio music stations, and they’ll always let you know that it does one thing above all else: represent their local community. This connection to community is part of what prompted the first Public Radio Music Day in 2020, and that genuinely unique feeling was made explicit with this year’s motto for the third annual celebration: “Discovering the Sound of Local Communities.”
On Wednesday, October 26, the noncomMUSIC Alliance united over 85 stations from 36 states across America to participate in Public Radio Music Day toward a shared mission: to celebrate and highlight the return of live music events. With events and happenings ranging from studio performances, live shows, and interviews with local musicians, each station found a way to share their local flair and represent each community’s voice as a way to collectively acknowledge the day. Listeners and staff of public radio music stations frequently shared their own stories and support for the special day with the hashtag #LovePublicRadioMusic across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The broader music industry also joined the celebration, as they do every year, and took the time to share what they love about public radio music stations. Concord produced radio spots from their artists to give personal testimonials about their experiences and support for the stations that helped build their careers. NPR Music leveraged their considerable social media clout to partner with Alliance stations in featuring their local music and artists.
As with the past two years, the celebration was acknowledged by Congress with bipartisan, bicameral resolutions. H. Res 1306 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), with the companion resolution in the Senate, S. Res. 813, by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). Over 20 participating stations reached out to their Members of Congress about Public Radio Music Day, leading to more support than any past year with 15 additional bipartisan Members of Congress signing on as cosponsors.
Local politicians lent their voices to publicly address and spotlight Public Radio Music Day, including these highlights:
- Cincinnati Public Radio secured a Mayoral Proclamation designating October 26th as Public Radio Music Day and commending the station for its service.
- Montgomery, AL Mayor Steven Reed showed his appreciation for jazz station WVAS, licensed to HBCU Alabama State University.
Leading up to the day, the noncomMUSIC Alliance showcased incredible stories of stations, shows, DJs, and staff who found novel ways to celebrate their local scenes:
- How does WTMD connect with Baltimore? It puts on a show
- WQXR fills its airwaves and its city with a mission to broaden the sound of classical
- Third Coast Radio is proving that Mississippi music is everywhere
The Alliance provided an opportunity to directly see and hear the wide range of music found on public radio, with live performances from 10 stations, covering classical, Americana, urban alternative, AAA, and jazz. The performances were held in partnership with VuHaus Group and can be found on the NPR Live Sessions page.
Public Radio Music Day demonstrates the power of public radio and the unique music discovery it provides. With this year’s celebration, that power was shown through the wide variety of performance opportunities and engagement shown across the country. Highlighting them is the main job of the noncomMUSIC Alliance and why NPR President and CEO John Lansing was quick to point out the truth that “Public radio provides a home for artists and musical performances that cannot be heard anywhere else” and that Public Radio Music Day specifically aims to “celebrate the artists, performers, and fans, and most notably, the local music that makes public radio so important to you.”
Championing local music and providing audiences a chance to amplify their local voice wasn’t just the idea behind the motto of this year’s Public Radio Music Day, it’s the animating force and the reason why it’s such an important day. With the support shown for the day in 2022, the noncomMUSIC Alliance is thrilled to see the day grow year after year, from 2020 into the future.