The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Posts Tagged ‘WKMS news

The Front Blog Retires!

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Well it’s been a good run for The Front Blog. It was created out of a need to communicate in a more flexible, immediate manner than our content management system for news allowed. We’ve used the blog to announce the past two election cycles, all-night emergency updates, to introduce you to new music and great books, to give you the news in under a minute. We’re pleased to announce that these great features will continue on our new, expanded content management system, using NPR Digital Services’ Core Publisher platform, which you can browse here:

The new platform is not unlike the blog-style format we enjoyed here on “The Blog.” And better yet, it merges the content produced here and in the News Room into a more concise, user-friendly format. The Morning Cram and Datebook are some our favorite features created for the web, and we’ll continue to post them every day on We’re also introducing Afternoon Update, creating a more complete round-up of news produced by WKMS. We want the new site to be as interactive as possible, so commenting will soon be added to all of our news stories and cultural content. Check out the new site, let us know what you think. We appreciate the feedback!

Morning Cram:

Afternoon Update:


Good Reads:

Music Reviews & Cultural Links:

Written by Matt Markgraf

February 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm

On The Road: Weihai Part IV

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In the last few days here in Weihai I’ve had time to visit a zoo, eat dinner with university administrators, give a presentation on student activities at MSU and go to a KTV to sing my heart out.

Good Group, Great Dinner and Strong Fire Water

Let’s get the official (literally) business out of the way first.  Part of a MSU delegation trip to Shandong University at Weihai is to have a reception and meet with university administrators. So, on this particular evening we met with the president, the secretary a dean and professor. We were all presented with gifts and we reciprocated, then on to dinner. Here’s where the fun begins. First, to my knowledge professional/business banquets in China involve significant consumption of high proof alcohol, and there are some “rules” to the drinking. Picture a round table with assigned seats.  The party host sits directly across from the entrance of the room. The second host sits directly across the table. The role of the first host is to welcome guests and give three toasts. The role of the second host to my knowledge, as told to me by our intrepid leader Issac, is to get drunk. Now on to the guests (us MSU folks) The guests, who sit next to the first and second host, historically should do as the hosts do, or at least give it the college try.  And who gets the seat next to the second (drunk) host???? Me.  He was a great man who spoke little English, but I gathered he got his graduate degrees in the Koreas, South and North (interesting). I also gathered he has quite the tolerance for high proof alcohol. The traditional drink for these dinners is a “white wine” but to us is more like fire water. (tested and proven, burns a blue flame) 54 percent alcohol, translates into 108 proof. Three glasses translate into a sweaty headache, a fire in the stomach and smidge of blurred vision. But, we made it.  By the end of the dinner the second host referred to me as his little brother and gave me a hug (He stands to my left in the photo next to Sarah Clark). Good Times.

Generic KTV Logo: Thanks Travel Blog

Believe it or not the firewater buzz didn’t lead to a night out singing karaoke, but a day at the zoo and visiting the easternmost coastal point in northern China did. You can see more about our zoo trip and beautiful photos on Dana’s blog. Anyway, our group had some busy days and wanted to blow off some steam, and we did at a family- oriented KTV. I write family oriented, because a quick Google search of KTV’s in China sometimes brings up some questionable photos and stories. So, here are a couple of things to note. KTV’s are individual singing rooms you rent for an hour or two where you and a group of friends shut the door, sit on couches drink various beverages eat some popcorn and sing as loudly and obnoxiously as you’d like. If you find yourself in a Chinese KTV be aware there are an array of American pop songs, but not all are translated correctly into karaoke versions, and the music videos don’t make much sense. For example, we sang “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” and the video depicted a series of grand prix car wrecks. Or, John Lennon’s “Imagine” had some very beautiful shots of vines, cherry trees, children crying, soccer matches and a frying pan.  But we did have fun, with our popcorn, drinks and friends, new and old.


Tonight was the last presentation for our delegation regarding MSU. Dana and I gave our presentations on student life and organizations to a room full of SDUW students. They went well. But, honestly the best part comes at the end. Students flock to the floor of the presentation room to chat with us about all things American or Murray State. I spoke with a delightful girl whose American name is Amy. Amy asked if our group was going out to party tonight. I said no, and then returned the question. What about you? She says… “No, partying isn’t too popular here.” I suppose the campus-wide curfew puts a damper on late night gallivanting.   Anyway, I asked what they do on the weekends when the curfew is extended to 11:30 p.m. Amy provided no real response, because she was bursting with excitement to tell me that she and her friends had a huge weekend planned. Was it windsurfing on the beach? Was it going on a road trip to visit another school? Was it an off campus party?   NOPE. Amy and her friends were going to a mountain two hours away to pick cherries. Not the exhilarating beach, coastal schoolgirl’s response I expected. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when the hottest seller on campus is not an ice cream cone, soda, or candy bar, but huge slices of melon on a stick.  Anyway, it just goes to show the sheer innocence these students possess. It is absolutely amazing. When is the last time you got uncontrollably excited about picking cherries with your friends? When is the last time you took time enjoy the company of people without any outside distracting influence?  I’ve tried to hone in on what makes these people so accommodating and genuine, and I don’t think I have the complete answer, but I think Amy gave me a tidbit of it.  What a great experience.



Written by Chad Lampe

May 27, 2011 at 10:21 am

I could have been an athlete

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by Bec Feldhaus

Perhaps it was watching Murray State University’s presentation of “Working,” last night that got me thinking. Murray State music and theatre students sang and danced about what they could have been.  When compounded by the inspiring last second Racer win over the Vanderbilt Commodores yesterday, the day dreams begin.

I’m a sturdy woman. I hit my final height of 5’10 when I was about 12. Naturally,  I played both forward and center positions during my glorious basketball career from 3rd to 8th grade. From the cradle, I was raised to know and respect the talent and tradition of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Crackling fires whispered behind early winter games, and right after my birthday in March I could count on spending evenings with my father in front of the TV. Among occasional outbursts, I learned the magic of the institution of basketball. Then I played, and the passion glows on.

To be honest, I wasn’t ever on the best team, and I wasn’t ever a great ball handler, but my defense was solid. My 8th grade Holy Trinity School team took the Catholic School division city title in the Spring of ’96. This is still one of my life’s finest moments.

Sadly, during high school I was too caught up in elite choir groups to have time for basketball. I followed my musical dreams to college and spent more time in the practice room than the RSEC. However, I’ll never lose my inner basketball player. Now I work at a public radio station, and don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I spend my days searching for news and feature stories.  Strategic? Yes. Athletic? No.

I would have looked great in the Blue and Gold of Murray State, and naturally have gone right on to the WNBA. I’d find a signal to tell my family I love them, while the camera closed in on me before my free throws.

I would wager a hefty bet I’m not the only one craving the days of yesteryear when the ideas of becoming an athlete were plausible. Maybe it’s football for some, or the international excitement of soccer for you. For me, it will always be basketball.

Maybe it’s not too late to rekindle the dream. The news crew would make a great team. Angie, two inches taller than myself would play center. Chris would take the left  forward and I would be right across the lane waiting to rebound. Chad would be the point guard, calling out the plays. And the early-rising Todd Hatton would buzz around the court with the first comment to the cameras after our victory.

It takes coordination to work a microphone while asking the tough questions. Perhaps a few laps would help me beat the competition for the latest breaking stories. The Murray State Racers used focus, determination, resourcefulness and stamina to defeat Vandy. These are the characteristics expected of a great reporter. Is it such a far stretch?

Who knows. Maybe I’ll call Tony Easley and see if he wants to switch places for a day.