Taken from YubaNet.com (Nov 08, 2005)
KVMR plans national broadcast of Spearhead at New Folsom Prison
by Steve Baker
Nearly forty years ago, Johnny Cash entertained inmates in a concert later made famous in his legendary "Live at Folsom Prison" album. Now an enterprising smalltown California radio station and an acclaimed worldbeat band are combining resources for a national radio broadcast of a live concert at "New Folsom" (California State Prison-Sacramento) for the holiday season.
In a 21st century cultural twist on the Cash legacy, eclectic public radio station KVMR-FM - located in this rural foothills community with a listener base that extends well beyond Sacramento - will broadcast a Wednesday, November 23rd Folsom concert featuring poet/activist Michael Franti and the band Spearhead, before a portion of the facility's prison population.
KVMR volunteers have been active in the prison's creative arts program and have brought a variety of musicians, poets and performers to the correctional facility, plus the station has aired two original musical concerts by inmates there themselves.
"As we enter the holiday season, this is a tremendous opportunity to bring inspiring thought and music to the folks in Folsom," says KVMR general manager Brian Terhorst. "For Spearhead and New Folsom officials to let us share this experience with the rest of the country may result in a historic radio broadcast special."
KVMR will record the concert - scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thanksgiving Eve - and will air it same day delay that evening at 8 p.m. PST at its 89.5 FM frequency (105.1 FM Truckee/Tahoe and streaming on the web at www.kvmr.org) The Pacifica Radio Network will offer it that night to affiliates nationwide via satellite, and a second broadcast will make the show available to still other stations in early December.
Spearhead and CSP-Sacramento management have given KVMR permission for national broadcast and recording of the unique concert event.
Ironically, Spearhead's Folsom concert immediately follows the much-anticipated November 18 national release of the Johnny Cash biography film, "Walk The Line," starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon and featuring his pivotal 1968 Folsom Prison concert.
"Just as Johnny Cash had a definite message for the '60s," says KVMR Program Director Steve Baker, "Michael Franti brings hope and inspiration to a new generation. His songs are genuine and profound, and they've found a voice on independent stations like ours across the country."
San Francisco-based Franti and Spearhead have released a series of thought provoking and rhythmically infectious albums. The music combines elements of rock chords, reggae, dance hall, funk and hip hop beats while retaining a distinctive 21st century world-wise sound. Franti's work also explores spirituality, community, and connectedness with others.
Most recently, Franti has been touring in support of his film, "I Know I'm Not Alone," which finds him traveling across the Middle East, including Iraq, as he meets a variety of people and hears how war and violence has affected their lives.
KVMR-FM is an award-winning, community-based noncommercial radio station that combines diverse music shows with independent news and provocative public affairs programming. The station has over 120 volunteer citizen-broadcasters hosting shows, and its 89.5 FM signal reaches the Sierra Foothills, Sacramento Valley and now the Truckee-Tahoe area at 105.1 FM. They're also online at kvmr.org
The 27-year-old station has a long, distinguished record of live remote broadcasts ? including entire music festivals, legislative and town hall meetings, club concerts and even the Nevada County Fair. The station was awarded the National Federation of Community Broadcasters' "Community Impact Award" twice this decade and recently had its nightly newscast named "Best Radio Journalism" in the weekly Sacramento News & Review's "Best of Sacramento" issue.
Broadcaster/producer Cheri Snook has been coordinating the station's Folsom outreach activities with Folsom Prison arts program director Jim Carlson. Last spring, Snook won KVMR's "Visionary Volunteer" special award for her work there.
Three of the artists who have participated in workshops and performances at Folsom will open for Spearhead at the concert; they are musicians Dianne Patterson, Melissa Mitchell and Kimberly Bass.
KVMR's national broadcast comes with financial support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.