Hopes and Expectations

Hey! I’m Catriona, better known as Catie.  Unlike some of my peers, I’m not going to a warm, foreign country for my Senior Project; I’m staying local and bundling up for the cold.  I’ll be commuting daily to Philadelphia to intern at a radio station, WXPN.

XPN is a non-commercial station that plays music that commercially funded stations can’t afford to.  Instead of playing stuff that’s been focus-grouped to death and deemed “sellable,” WXPN plays music composed with talent and passion by intelligent and groundbreaking artists.  Because it is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, many Penn students get the chance to volunteer and intern at the station.  I will be working with those college students as a Programming Assistant to the World Café show.

My interest in the program is what made me want to pursue an internship at XPN. World Café is a nationally syndicated show (you can listen on NPR or XPN!).  The show has two components: an interview and a live set.  Many independent and alternative artists are featured on the show, and a lot of these artists are relatively unknown. What drew me to the program initially was the quality of the music, but after listening I realized the real heart of the show is actually its brain.  The conversations between the host, David Dye, and the artists make listening to their music very special and personal.  He has featured such bands and artists as Coldplay, Joni Mitchell, or Yo-Yo Ma and still manages to help the listener understand the vision and soul of the music.  Regardless of how famous or mainstream the guest is (or not at all), Dye frames their work in a way that is compelling and interesting.

As an intern, I will be working directly with the artists and their managers, helping to coordinate their stays in Philadelphia.  I will be responsible for maintaining the calendar of events and gathering information on the artists.  But I want to do something that goes beyond the job description I was given. I hope to gain insight into the life of a musician and the lives of the people who maintain this musician’s image and career.  I am, by nature, an observer, and more than anything I want to have a story to tell at the end of my project.

I hope that with this blog, I can share some of my observations – and maybe a story or two – with a wider audience.  Enjoy!

P.S. check out http://xpn.org/xpn-programs/world-cafe

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