On Public Radio Music Day, we share a few favorites from this year
We know: There’s a day for everything. A few weeks ago, we celebrated National Name Your Car Day (Oct. 2), which was preceded just a few weeks earlier by National Dogs in Politics Day (Sept. 23). But for all the weird entries like that on the calendar, there are also ones like today that those of us in the Radio Milwaukee offices are particularly proud of.
Yes, it’s Public Radio Music Day — the now-fourth annual event that gives noncommercial stations like us the chance to step into the spotlight we try to reserve for local, national and global artists, as well as people and organizations making a positive impact on our communities. In fact, this year’s theme is “Building Community Through Music,” which we strive to do every day through what you hear on all our stations, the programs we support and the events we organize.
Most of you connect with us through 88Nine and HYFIN. Some find their way into Grace Weber’s Music Lab or Amplifier. Others may bump into us at Brown, Black and Brews or the Blackity Black Holiday Market. Then there are the Studio Milwaukee Sessions, State of Sound and HYFIN Verified live-music opportunities that bring you to our performance space.
To put it another way, the time and energy we put into community-building take many different shapes. And we’re proud of all of them. But we decided to call out just a couple from this past year that you can check out via the links below. And whether you're a Radio Milwaukee member, a business/organization that supports us or a community member who crossed paths with us, thanks for being a part of everything we do.
Erin Wolf, 88Nine music director
Favorite session: Brooklyn's Say She She premiered their song "Astral Plane" live on the radio with us during their session in July. Pretty special, right? Not only that, but the performance with their full band was truly phenomenal and dynamic. They also couldn't have been nicer, and the office was full of a fun, sparkly energy that day. Please come back soon, Say She She?
Favorite interview: I only had 10 minutes scheduled with Feist, yet our conversation was like talking with an old friend about her cool life as an artist and what she'd been up to (a new album and immersive project called Multitudes). I'd love to talk to her again.
Favorite story: I naturally gravitate toward sharing anything that supports our local scene, whether it’s contributing to the weekly concert picks (and listing lots of local show highlights), Milwaukee Music Premieres or interviews with local artists about their new projects. It just feels good to be involved in getting the word out. There are lots of awesome local sources out there, and I've always felt that the more there are, the more our scene gets lifted up (and gets moving!).
Kenny Perez, 88Nine asst. program director
This has proven to be an exceptional year for Wisconsin's music scene, and State of Sound has been nothing short of fulfilling for me. Witnessing our local music series make a triumphant return — larger and more vibrant than ever, with an influx of fresh talent — has been an exhilarating experience. Throughout this journey, we've received heartfelt expressions of gratitude from our Radio Milwaukee listeners for the depth and diversity the new series brings to our community.
The musicians themselves are equally overflowing with appreciation for the opportunity to grace our stage once again, and their affection for our organization is palpable when they take the spotlight. Our motivation is unwavering; we do this for each and every one of them. It's undeniable how this stage has hosted an eclectic array of genres, cultures and energies, making it a true melting pot of artistic expression.
While there are countless highlights we could delve into, one moment stands out as truly magical: the collaboration with True Skool for their graduation event. On that day, the students not only delivered remarkable musical performances, but also enthralled the audience with dance and astounding artwork. Nearly 200 individuals — comprising family, friends and members of the community — packed the venue to witness this inspiring display of talent. That day epitomized the essence of community and collaboration at Radio Milwaukee.
Brett Krzykowski, web editor
Scrolling through the indelible images in my brain from this year, most of them are connected to our Studio Milwaukee Sessions. It’s not just the music, although clearly we’ve had some wonderful moments (many supplied by Rubblebucket, the session I’d go with as my favorite if you twisted my arm). The thing that really stands out for me is what happens after the music is over.
For background, it’s important to know that while every artist who came through this year was great on stage, they were even more so off it. Whether hanging in our green room, warming up their voices in the bathroom (good acoustics in there) or taking photos all over the building, the stars of the show didn’t act like it in the least. They were approachable, conversational and delightful.
That’s exactly how they were after the sessions as well. Time after time, I saw grown men and women (myself included) turn into giddy tweens around the musicians who soundtrack their days. Those musicians, in turn, gladly engaged in a chat, signed a piece of merch or snapped a quick photo — sometimes all three. They brought joy to someone’s day. And seeing that always sent me sailing through the rest of mine.
Jen Ellis, traffic manager
My favorite moment this year with Radio Milwaukee was undoubtedly the HYFIN Anti-Gala. From the very beginning to the end, the event was infused with a remarkable blend of thoughtfulness and love. It wasn't just an ordinary gathering; it was a celebration that brought together a vibrant and diverse crowd of community leaders, dedicated station members and passionate supporters of Radio Milwaukee.
The energy in the air was electric, and the atmosphere was filled with a sense of unity and camaraderie. It was a night where connections were forged, ideas were shared, and inspiration flowed freely. It was more than just an event; it was a testament to the power of community and the impact of Radio Milwaukee.
I'm already eagerly looking forward to next year's Anti-Gala, anticipating another unforgettable evening of connection, celebration and positive change.
Dan Reiner, marketing manager
I strolled into New Barons Brewing Co-Op on a summer Friday afternoon to meet members of local indie-pop band Tigera. I didn’t have much of a plan; all I knew was that Tigera and New Barons had teamed up to create a special beer for the band’s EP release.
The 10-minute interview hit all the bullet points about the beer and the new music. That part was good and informative, but it was what followed that was most memorable for me: I sat with Alex Radish and Ben Koshik for hours while we enjoyed, uh, several pints of “Your Local Handsome Beer.” We talked about the Milwaukee music scene and Radio Milwaukee’s importance to the community.
I scored an invite to the release show at Cactus Club, which was packed on a Thursday night — so packed, in fact, that the Tigera-branded beer tapped out within hours. The show was an amalgamation of everything that quick story set out to cover: a local band teaming with a local business, showcased by Radio Milwaukee and ending with a near-sell out at a local venue.