Pensacola, Florida
Sunday December 17th 2017

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RadioLive is Back (Again)

By Jennie McKeon

When RadioLive ended in 2016, WUWF Executive Director Pat Crawford thought that was it.

“Thankfully, I was wrong,” he said in an e-mail interview. “I was approached by many fans of the program who wanted to help bring it back. A campaign was started and a group of dedicated individuals and businesses—now known as the RadioLive 25—raised $25,000 to re-launch the show.”

The first RadioLive broadcast was in September 1989 as part of the inauguration of former UWF president, Morris Marx. The show included satirical skits along with musical acts.

“The audience loved it, so we just kept going,” Crawford said. “The skits were part of it until 2000 when we decided to just focus on the music. It has always been about supporting singer/songwriters and live performances.”

In 2013, the show went on hiatus due to budget constraints. Shortly after, the Clark Partington law firm underwrote the program costs for two years, Crawford said. During that time, it was up to the audience to make voluntary contributions but donations fell short, and the program was cut again.

Thanks to the RadioLive 25, the show will go on this year, but there is one change.

“After consulting with many fans of the program, it was determined that having an admission fee of $10 would sustain the program,” Crawford explained. “The majority of the proceeds go to pay the artists. The remainder will be used to maintain the equipment and make improvements to the infrastructure.”

The musical guests of RadioLive are well worth a $10 bill. Each show features three artists or bands, most are not local acts you can catch anywhere else in Pensacola.

“These are incredibly talented writers as well as performers,” Crawford said. “Many of them have written No. 1 hits for some of the biggest names in the music business. Part of our mission is to expose our audiences to artists they might not hear otherwise.”

It’s not just audiences that are excited about RadioLive’s return. Crawford has been the producer and host of the show since day one and still looks forward to each show.

“I wasn’t sure either one of us would last this long,” he joked. “Each month feels like a family reunion. I have made so many friends over the years with artists and the audience members alike and I love them all.”

Kicking off the first RadioLive of 2017 is Grant Peeples, along with Smithfield Air and Sarah Mac Band.

Tallahassee-based singer/songwriter, Peeples is a RadioLive regular and says it’s always a “privilege” to perform on the show.

“This is a huge event for the artists, it’s a good gig,” he said over the phone before a show in Austin. “In the old days you’d have the troubadours come into town and people would come and listen. RadioLive provides that kind of experience.”

Peeples didn’t start to perform professionally until the weekend of his 50th birthday. After living in Nicaragua from 1995 to 2006, he came back to the U.S. with songs in his head that he had to share.

“It was a cultural shock to me,” he said about his move back to the States. “There was so much going on…my songs made me do it.”

From his small home on a remote island in Nicaragua, he watched major U.S. news events unfold like 9/11. But in Central America, he saw people in desperate need of food and shelter and children dying from disease.

When he went to sit down and write—poetry or music—he thought of the contrast between the two worlds he belonged to. Peeples said he wants his words to challenge how people think.

“I’m into shaking folks up,” he said. “Whatever it is, whoever your heroes are—I like to shake it up.”

Nowadays, Peeples said he’s been writing more poetry than song lyrics. The poetry is often incorporated into his performances, sometimes in song, like the bluesy ‘Grant’s Talking Blues.’

When it comes to performing his music, Peeples said he enjoys getting in front of the RadioLive crowd.

“These are my people,” he said. “I really wish RadioLive has a long run this time.”

As a public radio station, Crawford said RadioLive fits right in with WUWF’s mission.

“We are dedicated to providing inspiring, uplifting and enlightening programs—news, interviews, and music,” he added. “It is also important to support independent artists. For many of them, public radio is their only outlet, and that is very important to us.”

Like in years past, you can tune in to 88.1 to listen to RadioLive. But take it from the experts—the best way to experience it is…well, live.

“Nothing beats the experience of attending a live show,” Crawford said. “The atmosphere is very intimate, and our artists love the opportunity to develop a relationship with the audience. I have never had an artist who didn’t ask to come back—it’s a mutual love fest.”

RADIOLIVE RETURNS
WHAT: A live concert featuring Grant Peeples, Smithfield Air and Sarah Mac Band
WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7
WHERE: Museum of Commerce, 201 E. Zaragoza St.
COST: $10
DETAILS: wuwf.org/radioliveEdit