Science Fiction Themes in Music on What It Is with Jeff Eason, Fred Mills and Carol Rifkin

Credit Halloween coming up for this.

You probably know that this podcast has a direct tie to public radio station WNCW — it is produced in studio there where I am program director — but its origin can be traced all the way back to the 2006 Podcaster Con in Chapel Hill, NC, where I witnessed an event reflecting and directing the medium at its inception point, and gathered ideas for my own eventual foray into long form audio. The idea that first came to life was the music talk show What It Is, which aired weekday mornings on WNCW beginning in September 2007 and running until April 2012. Starting with music writers/editors Jeff Eason and Fred Mills, we added writer, musician and WNCW old-time music host Carol Rifkin to the music roundtable before bringing in many more voices over the series’ nearly five year run. In 2009 I began my first blog site for What It Is and started podcasting in earnest — you can reference those archives here.

On What It Is, we had wide latitude and an almost infinite supply of material to work with — after all, most everyone on the show (and especially the late Jeff Eason, Fred Mills and Carol Rifkin) was a music nerd of the highest order, and could talk about their love of it for hours if you let them. One of the themes we explored more than once was science fiction themes in music, first in May 2009 and then again that July. Carol Rifkin was along for the first conversation, which was longer than when Jeff, Fred and I revisited the topic that summer.

Almost fifteen years later, I am digging around for ideas to round out my Halloween themed radio show, and thought back to my days producing What It Is, wondering if we made any episodes touching on the holiday. While we did not make an explicitly Halloween-centered episode, we got a good bit of the way there with these conversations which will give you plenty of ideas for a space-age playlist as we travel back in time for this special holiday podcast of Southern Songs and Stories.

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Songs heard in this episode:

“Forbidden Planet” film score opening theme, by Bebe and Louis Barron

“Rock Steady” by Aretha Franklin, excerpt

“The X Files” by Mark Snow

Thank you for visiting us and giving this podcast a listen! This series is a part of the lineup of both public radio WNCW and Osiris Media, with all of the Osiris shows available here. You can also hear new episodes on Bluegrass Planet Radio here. Thanks to Corrie Askew for producing the radio adaptations of this series on public radio WNCW.

This is Southern Songs and Stories: the music of the South and the artists who make it. – Joe Kendrick