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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Atlantic reporter discovers that Patty Griffin, an award winning artist, received her first radio coverage from WUMB studios

Patty+Griffin
Patty Griffin

All musical careers start out small, and very few of them are able to hit the big time. One of the most time honored gateways to gaining attention in the music industry is through public radio, and for many people, artists who are performing their music on a public radio broadcast may be identified as already emerging in the field.
Many musical artists that are debuting their work for the first time are discovered by other listeners and networks. An artist that has done this–and was recognized through University of Massachusetts Boston’s very own WUMB public radio station–is Patty Griffin.
Patricia “Patty” Jean Griffin is an American Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and musical artist. Griffin is known for her songwriting style centered around the folk-music genre, and her songs have been covered by an array of musicians including Emmylou Harris, Ellis Paul, Rory Block, and the Dixie Chicks. In 2007, Griffin won the Americana Music Association’s Artist of the Year award and her album, “Children Running Through,” took the award for Best Album.
WUMB-FM is a radio station licensed to the University of Massachusetts with studios located at the UMass Boston Campus as the central network of seven public radio stations in Boston, Worcester, Falmouth, Newburyport, Stow, Marshfield, Orleans, Mass. and one in Milford, N.H. The Boston, Worcester and Falmouth stations can be found broadcasting on the station 91.9 FM. According to WUMB’s mission statement, “WUMB Radio is dedicated to produce, acquire, and disseminate high quality, diverse and valued public service radio programming to significant audiences. The radio station is committed to serving as a local and national resource for the cultivation, promotion and preservation of various genres of folk music through its radio programming and selected enterprises.”
Atlantic reporter Rebecca Rosen discovered Patty Griffin’s debut at the WUMB radio station. Rosen wrote a piece about a 1994 interview and studio performance for WUMB by Patty Griffin “before anyone had heard of her.” According to Rosen, “At the time, when this aired on Boston’s WUMB, she was virtually unknown.”
WUMB announcer Dave Palmater stated, “Griffin had only a six-song demo cassette back then, and one of the songs didn’t even play properly because of duplication problems.” Palmater also said, “during such segments, musicians will play songs that never get recorded or are seldom played in concerts. For fans, these recordings can provide a rare glimpse of an artist’s early evolution.”