The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

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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:

news.wkms.org

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 news.wkms.org. 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: news.wkms.org/term/morning-cram

Afternoon Update: news.wkms.org/term/afternoon-update

Datebook: news.wkms.org/term/datebook

Good Reads: news.wkms.org/term/good-reads

Music Reviews & Cultural Links: news.wkms.org/term/culture

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Written by Matt Markgraf

February 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Datebook: February 24 – Battle of Los Angeles 70 Years Ago

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On the evening of February 24, 1942, air raid sirens went off throughout Los Angeles County. A total blackout was ordered and air raid wardens were summoned to position. At 3:16 a.m., the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began firing 12.8-pound anti-aircraft shells at a reported unidentified aircraft. Pilots of the 4th Interceptor Command were alerted but stayed grounded. Artillery fire continued until the 4:14 a.m., over 1,400 shells fired. An “all clear” was sounded and a blackout order lifted at 7:21 a.m. Three civilians were killed, another three died of heart attacks, several buildings were damaged. Initially, the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but speaking at a press conference shortly afterward, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox called the incident a “false alarm.” Newspapers of the time published a number of sensational reports and speculations of a cover-up. Some modern-day UFOlogists have suggested the targets were extraterrestrial spacecraft. When documenting the incident in 1983, the U.S. Office of Air Force History attributed the event to a case of “war nerves” likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining batteries.

It’s Friday, February 24

Artwork by Adam Meredith is on display through March 25 at the Janice Mason Art Museum in Cadiz. Meredith specializes in historically themed figurative graphite drawings and photography. He also constructs miniature buildings, which will be included in the exhibit. The opening reception is tonight from 5 to 7.

Murray Preschool, Head Start, and Early Head Start will hold registration for the 2012-2013 school year next Friday from 8 to 3. Registration for children ages four and under will be held on the first floor of Alexander Hall, located on North 16th Street. For more information, call 809-3262.

Author Jennifer Trafton will give a reading and sign copies of her novel, “The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic,” tomorrow at 11:30 at the University Book and Bean. Trafton’s debut novel tells the story of one brave girl’s efforts to make an entire island believe the impossible. For more information, call 761-BOOK.

Find more community events at wkms.org, where you can also learn about supporting public radio. Thanks.

Datebook: February 23 – Supernova 1987A Visible to Naked Eye 25 Years Ago

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Supernova 1987A was located in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy, approximately 168,000 light-years away, though close enough to be visible to the naked eye if you lived in the Southern Hemisphere. The light from the supernova reached Earth on February 23, 1987. It was the first opportunity for modern astronomers to see a supernova up close and observations have provided much insight into core-collapse supernovae. Voyager 2, then enroute to Neptune, was able to observe the supernova with its cameras.

It’s Thursday, February 23

The Howard Finster Vision House Touring Exhibit goes on display tonight at the WKCTC Clemens Fine Arts Center Gallery. Finster’s images range from pop culture icons like Elvis to historical figures such as George Washington to religious images of his own visions. There’s a reception tonight from 5 to 7, with an artist talk by curator David Leonardis at 6. The exhibit runs through March 23.

The Modernette Civic Club sponsors their 18th Annual African American Breakfast on Saturday at 8AM at the James E. Bruce Convention Center in Hopkinsville. The keynote speaker will be Mr. John Johnson, Executive Director for the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in Louisville. $12 tickets can be purchased at the door.

Western Baptist Hospital offers free screenings during a Heart Health Fair on Saturday from 9 to noon in the atrium of Doctors Office Building 2. Western Baptist staff will provide blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and EKG rhythm strip screenings. Fasting and advance registration are not required.

Find more community events online at wkms.org.

Datebook: February 22 – George Washington Turns 280

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George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 (and died December 14, 1799). We all know him as the 1st U.S. President (1789-1797), and as a great military leader. He was elected unanimously and oversaw the creation of a strong, well-financed government that maintained neutrality in the wars raging in Europe. He was born into a wealthy Colonial Virginia family, who owned tobacco plantations and slaves. He was mentored by William Fairfax, who promoted his career into the military. He quickly became a senior officer in the colonial forces during the French and Indian War. As  Commander-In-Chief of the Continental Army, he forced the British out of Boston in 1776, but lost New York City. After crossing the Delaware River, he defeated the British in two battles, and retook New Jersey. Washintgon strategized the capture of Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. As President, he supported Alexander Hamilton’s programs to pay off the debt, to implement a tax system, and to create a national bank. He was outspoken against partisanship, sectoinalism, and involvement in foreign wars. He retired from presidency in 1797 and returned to his home, Mount Vernon. He freed his slaves in his will. At his death, Washington was hailed as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen”.

It’s Wednesday, February 22

The American Red Cross holds a blood drive at First Presbyterian Church in Murray tomorrow from 12:30 to 5:30.  Donors must be healthy, at least seventeen years old, and at least 110 pounds.  Schedule an appointment by calling 800-RED-CROSS.

The Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park hosts an Oil Painting Weekend this Saturday and Sunday.  Learn the wet-on-wet method of oil painting by creating your own 16×20 landscape painting.  The fees are $65 for one class or $120 for both classes and the Friday night program.  For more information, call Rebecca Clark at 797-3421.

The Murray State University Department of Theater presents Suddenly Last Summer, by Tennessee Williams, tomorrow night at 7:30 in the Actor’s Studio Theater.  The play tells the story of a young woman who seems to go insane after her cousin dies under mysterious circumstances. Admission is $8, or free for MSU students.

Tomorrow at noon, hear Swinging into the 21st Century with Wynton Marsalis.  Find details at wkms.org.

Datebook: February 21 – Waldo Waterman’s Flying Car Lifts Off 75 Years Ago

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What ever happened to the flying car? Why don’t we live like the Jetsons today? Waldo Waterman invented the first tailless monoplane, the first aircraft with modern tricycle landing gear, and the first successful low cost and simple to fly flying car. The idea behind the Arrowbile was to develop a transmission drive system that could operate the propeller for flight and the rear wheels for groudn operation. The aircraft was required to meet the certification standards of thee Bureau of Air Commerce. Waldo used readily available auto components for most of the vehicle. The only device used for flight control was a wheel yoke suspended from the cabin – the same used to turn the nose wheel in ground operation. Waterman flew the first test flight of the Arrowbile on February 21, 1937, and found the aircraft easy to fly and virtually spin and stall proof. The price tag was $3,000 (over $45,000 today). Waldo continued to improve his design over the next few decades. In 1957, the aircraft was listed in the experimental category, but the market had vanished. His flying car can be seen at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

It’s Tuesday, February 21

Jian Ping, the author of “Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China,” gives a reading on Thursday at 7:30PM in the Clara M. Eagle Art Gallery. The reading is free and open to the public, with a book signing and reception to follow at the Faculty Club. The film adaptation of the book will be shown tomorrow at 7:30 in the Alexander Hall Auditorium.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network holds a meeting Thursday evening at 6:30 at The Legacy Personal Care Home in Paducah. The meeting is open to supporters, pancreatic cancer survivors, caregivers, and those interested in joining the fight against pancreatic cancer. To learn more, visit pancan.org.

Playhouse in the Park presents “13” Friday and Saturday at 7PM and on Sunday at 2:30. The high-energy musical is about discovering that cool is where you find it, and sometimes where you least expect it. Reserve tickets by calling the Playhouse at 759-1752.

Find more about these and other community events at wkms.org, and thanks for listening.

Written by Matt Markgraf

February 21, 2012 at 10:56 am

Datebook: February 20 – John Glenn Becomes 1st American to Orbit Earth 50 Years Ago

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Happy President’s Day! It’s an especially commemorative day this year. John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth 50 years ago. Also, Emmett Ashford became the first African American umpire 60 years ago, Edward O’Hare became the first WWII Flying Ace 70 years ago, and the US Post Office was established 220 years ago! All of these things are really cool, but it’s really hard to top “space stuff” so let’s look into John Glenn… He became the 5th person in space, the 3rd American in space and the 1st American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission, circling the globe 3 times during a flight lasting 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds. Perth, in Western Australia, became known worldwide as the “City of Light” when residents lit their house lights and streetlights as Glenn passed overhead. During the mission there was concern over a ground indication that his heat shield had come loose, which could allow it to fail during re-entry through the atmosphere, which would result in his capsule burning up. Flight controllers had Glenn modify his re-entry procedure by keeping his retrorocket pack on over the shield in an attempt to keep it in place. He made his splashdown safely, and afterwards it was determined that the indicator was faulty. After retiring from NASA, Glenn became a US Senator (D-Ohio) from 1974 to 1999. He has a Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. In 1998, he became the oldest person to fly in space and the only person to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs. He is 90 years old.

It’s Monday, February 20th

The Lourdes Foundation hosts “Mardi Gras and All That Jazz” tomorrow night from 6 to 9 at Harrah’s Metropolis Hotel. The fundraising event features live music by Lew Jetton & 61 South, an auction of Bill Ford’s original artwork, and a variety of food and beverage vendors. Purchase $50 tickets by calling 444-2205.

A lecture on “Understanding Islam” will be given tomorrow at 4PM in the Curris Center Theater. Dr. Ossama Bahloul, imam of the Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is the featured speaker. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The men of Westside Baptist Church in Murray are holding a barbeque fundraiser for Alaska missions. They will be delivering barbeque plates during lunch on Friday, including barbeque butt, baked beans, a choice of coleslaw or potato salad, a roll, and banana pudding. The suggested donation is $7. Orders must be in by Wednesday. For more information, contact Ryan Dawson at 804-6996.

Find more community events at wkms.org, where you can also learn about supporting public radio. Thanks.

The Weekend Energy Preview 2-18

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Here’s what in the Weekend Energy mix this week! It’s such a spectacle, it’s like octopus wrestling in the Puget Sound.

http://on.io9.com/yyDYHV


Highlights

Basement Freaks – Get Ready (Delimentary Remix) –  No one does funky breakbeats like Basement Freaks. These guys are are the absolute best. The album Something Freaky is one subversive retro-tasty production. I say subversive because it’s got lyrics and song titles like Let’s Get It Started, Don’t You Wanna Party, Get Down Boogie, Get Ready, Here We Go Again… All of this sound extremely cliche in today’s sophisticated musical world. Hey, 1979 called… But see that’s exactly the point. These songs are anything but cliche. Yeah, it’s different. It’s maybe even unnerving how “out of step” this music is with almost everything else dropping out of speakers today. All you need to do is turn it really loud and you’ll hear exactly what George Fortadis is trying to do. This week I picked up the remix album, featuring re-rubs of most of the songs I just listed. The remixes highlight the fact that Basement Freaks continue to stand out and stand above.

Bad Politics – Graph (Radio Edit) – See this week’s “Discovery” below.

Make the Girl Dance – Broken Toy Boy feat. Lisa Li-Hung (Original Mix) – It’s about time they made an album! Everything Is Gonna Be OK In the End is the name of their Ultra Records release. It’s got all the great singles released over the past couple years: Baby Baby Baby, Wall of Death, Kill Me… Also, a new single Broken Toy Boy, which is probably the best “new” track on the album. I found the rest of it surprisingly low-key, and not like their single Kill Me at all, which was quite loud and abrasive. That Kill Me is smack in the middle of the album is a little unnerving. The whole album’s got a rather gloomy hazy vibe, with a few cracks of thunder sprinkled in. That may be fine, it may even be great, but I’ll stick with the singles. Check out the super creepy video for Broken Toy Boy.

Datsik – Fully Blown feat. Snake the Ripper – Datsik is dark. Some of the darkest dubstep I’ve got. King Kong remains one of my all-time genre favorites. I had Knife Party’s Fire Hive in the mix this week until I heard Fully Blown in all it’s nasty sludgy glory. Snak the Ripper’s deranged rapping is the obvious highlight in this song. The song’s all about having a good time, but it sounds so psychotic with Snak’s grizzly voice and Datsik’s grinding. I guess what makes this one stand out from all the other filthy dubstep tunes, is that despite it’s darkness, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact, it’s reveling in its mess and you should to.


Discovery

Bad Politics

So… Earlier this week a single called Revolution!!! dropped with three song on them: Graph Radio Edit, Graph Original, and Revolution. It’s all over the place, Beatport, iTunes, Amazon… but finding anything about this group is nearly impossible. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places, but I was looking. Anyway, According to their record label, it’s a three piece French group aimed at creating “a reflection on a suffering planet, a paradoxical need to leave the mass to better meet with each other. A world in motion and on the sidelines of a democracy in disguise.” Their music is indeed as ambitious as their mission statement. I’ve got Graph (Radio Edit) in the mix this week, and wanted to put Revolution in, but didn’t feel like editing lyrics to be “radio friendly” so… maybe next week or something. Nevertheless, Bad Politics puts together complex arrangements of groovy beats, soulful female vocals, and undaunted quick rapping. It’s a combination that could go so wrong, but Bad Politics pulls it off so… so right. I’ve had this music spinning all week.

Here’s the best I could do.

Almost Made It

Knife Party

Knife Party is an Australian electro/dubstep duo really blowing up right now. Their EP 100% No Modern Talking is a manufactured masterpiece. Destroy Them With Lazers is a head-swirling, crushing tune. The song that almost made it this week, though, was Fire Hive, which sounds like a whirring power drill splattering a waterfall. These guys are all business in their tunes and it sounds great. Check out their remixes of Nero’s Crush On You (in last week’s mix), Unison by Porter Robinson, and Save The World by Swedish House Mafia.


Second Hour Rewind

The second hour rewind is the previous week’s first hour. This hour’s mix was last week’s Valentine mix, so hear lovely tunes by Rusko, Tensnake, Fedde Le Grand, Sneaky Sound System, Tram Dolls, Human Life, Khan, and more! Sneaky Sound System is one of my favorite Aussie groups. They’ve got big beats, vocals full of bravado, and ridiculously catchy songs. We Love is one of my favorite songs off their new album From Here To Anywhere.

I won’t embed it here, but their very suggestive video is hilarious: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7KUP2oI9V8


“Crank up your stereo, bust out the strobe light and kick up the bass.”

Weekend Energy has been blowing out car stereo systems, upsetting the neighbors and enhancing the night life of western Kentucky every weekend since July 2007 on WKMS. Host Matt “McG” Markgraf pours through hundreds of songs each week to create “the loudest show on public radio” featuring the best techno, dance and electronica from around the world. Weekend Energy airs Saturdays on 91.3 WKMS from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Stream it live on wkms.org Saturday nights.

Hear the show streaming online or else.

Written by Matt Markgraf

February 18, 2012 at 10:39 am