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

Conversations from WNCW's What It Is music talk show host Joe Kendrick with guests Jeff Eason, Fred Mills and Carol Rifkin from 2009

Credit Halloween coming up for all 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 andFred Mills, we added writer, musician and WNCW old-time music hostCarol 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 began podcasting in earnest — you canreference 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 especiallythe 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 a special holiday episode of Southern Songs and Stories.

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Joe Kendrick grew up far off in the woods in rural Stanfield, NC, where he acquired his first Sony Walkman, listened to both AM and FM radio from Charlotte, went to Nascar races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attended a small Baptist church, read Rolling Stone, subscribed to cassette clubs, and played one very forgettable season of high school football. From there, Joe studied Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was able to fulfill his dream of being a disc jockey at WXYC. He volunteered at WNCW soon after graduation.