Reading on the Radio: Pacifica Affiliates Broadcast Books

“Tell me a story”: All literature springs from oral tradition, and radio may be the medium best suited to foster that tradition in a technological age.

Today, we feature affiliate programming that reminds listeners of the simple power of a human voice telling a story.


KCSB-FM Reads…Orange is The New Black: UCSB Reads
KCSB 91.9FM Santa Barbara, California

Piper Kerman, author of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. (Photo Credit: Sam Zalutsky. Book cover courtesy Spiegel & Grau)

Piper Kerman, author of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. (Photo Credit: Sam Zalutsky. Book cover courtesy Spiegel & Grau)

Just completing its ninth year, KCSB-FM Reads—in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara—airs live readings of one book for fifteen minutes daily (beginning at noon) until the book is completed.

This year’s selection was Piper Kerman’s memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison.

Previous selections include: The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan (2014) and Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer (2013).

The readings are complemented by a variety of free local events—discussion groups, panels, exhibitions, screenings—and, this year, culminated with a free lecture by the author.

From their website:

KCSB annually opens up its airwaves to students, faculty, staff, and members of the greater community to share in these on-air readings…. “UCSB Reads on KCSB” seeks to promote the community-wide educational experience provided by the UCSB Reads program, which brings the campus and Santa Barbara community together for a common reading experience.


Using Orange Is the New Black as a starting point, this year’s program aims to engage readers in dialogue about issues of local and national significance, including criminal justice, the war on drugs, and racial and sexual identity. Kerman’s book chronicles the humiliation, abuse, and indifference of prison staff experienced by those who are incarcerated, while also detailing “friendships with fellow inmates and relationships marked by generosity, wisdom and acceptance” (The UC Santa Barbara Current). Orange is the New Black was selected to be this year’s book by a panel of faculty, students, staff and community representatives.


African American Voices Create a Blues Vision
KFAI 90.3 Minneapolis, 106.7 Saint Paul, Minnesota

KFAI’s “MinneCulture,” aired weekly on Wednesdays from 7:30-8:00PM, highlights local arts and culture.

This week’s broadcast focuses specifically on a newly published anthology.

blues_vision_coverFrom their website:

Tonight on “Minneculture” here on KFAI, we’ll visit the Minnesota History Center as some of the featured authors from a new anthology of African American writing celebrate the publication of their work.


The book is called “Blues Vision,” and one of the featured writers is J. Otis Powell.

KGNU Radio Book Club
KGNU 85.5FM Denver, Boulder, Colorado

wiveslosalamosKGNU, in partnership with the Boulder Bookstore, has recently begun its “KGNU Radio Book Club.”

Their current selection is The Wives of Los Alamos by Tarashea Nesbit; and, on Thursday June 4th at 9:00AM, the author will be live on air to talk about the book.

The club’s first pick was American Ghost by Boulder author Hannah Nordhaus, who also spoke live on air.

From their website:

Every month Arsen Kashkashian, head buyer at the Boulder Bookstore  will select a book to inspire the KGNU listening audience to read along together. We will then be joined live in studio by the author for a call in show and book discussion. Arsen Kashashian says participating in a bookclub is a great dynamic way for readers to enjoy a book.


“I think you read a book and it’s kind of a solitary experience and once you’ve read it and immersed yourself in this world, it’s great to have somebody to bounce ideas off of.”

khoiStory County Story Project, Raising Readers
KHOI 89.1FM Ames, Iowa

KHOI has offered two programs sprung from collaborations with local students.

“The Story County Story Project,” led by Ames High School teacher Joe Brekke, and “The Raising Readers,” a group of elementary students that meets at the Ames Public Library every Wednesday.

From the station’s site:

Last winter, co-host Gale Seiler and station manager Ursula Ruedenberg visited Ames High School to share a few pointers on radio production with the senior English classes, and KHOI hosted student visits to our studio. These students were in the process of interviewing an elder of their choice. Meanwhile, last fall, Gale and co-host Greta Anderson brought elementary students in the Raising Readers program to share their book reports, and again this spring, Lonna Nachitgal recorded their poems at the library.


First up on today’s show, Gale and Greta air some of these amazing high school student interviews and talk with Joe Brekke, who joins us in the studio. Then, we play some of the elementary students’ original creations, with all their inimitable charm. The wisdom and talent in our community is boundless, and KHOI is here to bring it to you!

KRCC Brings Story Corps to IvyWild (Colorado Springs)
KRCC 91.5FM Colorado Springs, Colorado

storycorpsFrom May 21-June 19, KRCC is sponsoring the Story Corps MobileBooth at IvyWild, a local school.

The station’s site includes both some background information on StoryCorps initiatives and instructions on how local residents can best prepare to tell their own stories.

About The StoryCorps Mobile Tour
In May 2005, StoryCorps converted an Airstream trailer into a traveling recording studio—our MobileBooth—and launched its first cross-country tour. The MobileBooth visits a city or town for four to six weeks at a time and partners with public radio stations to record the stories of everyday people across the United States. The MobileBooth is wheelchair accessible.

stassenagainMN Reads: “Stassen Again” by Steve Werle
KUMD 103.3FM Duluth, Minnesota

“MN Reads” is a weekly Thursday segment of KUMD’s Northland Morning. Book selections focus on Minnesota life, its history, politics, geography, ecology and books written by Minnesota authors.

Most recently (05/14), author Steve Werle spoke about his book Stassen Again.

From their website:

Minnesota author (and former Duluthian) Steve Werle talks about the desk that moved him to investigate the life of former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen.


And what he found was a man much more complex – and admirable – than the caricature “tilting at voting booths in an unending quest to capture the presidency or newspaper headlines.”

An extensive list of works previously discussed appears on the station’s site.

Selections includes: North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Coast by Chel Anderson and Adelheid Fischer (05/07); Across the Deep Blue Sea: The Saga of Early Norwegian Immigrants by Odd S. Lovoll (05/01); The Ravens by Vidar Sundstol (04/23); Into the Nest by Laura Erickson and Marie Read (04/16); We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying by Bruce Kramer and Cathy Wurzer (04/09); and A People’s History of the Hmong by Paul Hillmer (04/02).