The Heavily Cosmic Rotation/ The Midnight Escape presents:

91 February 3rd, 2020

Posted In: In/Out WRIR Studio, LiveSound, Music, Music Shows, Website

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The Morning Rush With Jagar presents:

…Bringing you the best in Hip Hop,R&B and Gospel Music 12/8/2019 7am-9am

388 December 8th, 2019

Posted In: Events, Fund Drive, Fund Raising, In/Out WRIR Studio, Music, Music Shows, News, Volunteering

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The Morning Rush With Jagar presents:

Bringing you the best in Hip Hop,R&B and Gospel Music 11/17/2019 7am-9am

388 November 17th, 2019

Posted In: Fund Drive, In/Out WRIR Studio, Music, Music Shows, Volunteering

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Demanding Justice for Marcus-David Peters presents:

On May 14th Richmond Police Officer Michael Nyantaki shot unarmed and naked Marcus David-Peters. Following his death, Richmond Police Department’s press releases portrayed Marcus as a life-threatening superhuman aggressor which set the stage for local mainstream media outlets’ narrative. The volunteers who host programs on WRIR took a different approach. They wanted to know who Marcus-David Peters was? How did a man in crisis end up dead at the hand of a police officer? How do we prevent this from happening again? Black Minds Matter Project, Open Source RVA, and RVA Dirt’s Municipal Mania tackled these questions and discovered much more.

On Open Source RVA’s June 1 show, Don Harrison sat down with Princess Blanding, sister of Marcus, and Art Burton from the Kinfolk Empowerment Center. Princess painted a picture of a man, who was one of 11 children, with goals and ambitions to make a difference in people’s lives. Princess talked about how RPD responded to her brother and how they continued to respond. Art brought a big picture perspective to the discussion. He linked Marcus’s death to the deaths of unarmed black men across the United States. Listen to this interview on SoundCloud and tune into Open Source RVA every Friday at Noon.

“He had a major fire in him to not just be successful for himself but to help other people be successful.”

– Princess Blanding

RVA Dirt’s Municipal Mania focused on the voices who are demanding justice. The June 7 edition wove chants and speeches from the March for Justice with their interview of Princess and her sister, LaToya Jarrell. The two sisters vocalized their disappointment with Richmond Police Department and their family’s demands for justice. Listen to this episode on SoundCloud and tune into RVA Dirt’s Municipal Mania every Wednesday at 11 AM.

“Get it right Chief Durham. Get it right.”

– chants from the March for Justice

On June 8, Black Minds Matter Project aired reactions that co-hosts Taneasha White and Bri Atari collected from the community while at an art build preparing for the March for Justice. They spoke with Chelsea Higgs-Wise, community organizer, clinician practicing mental health, and co-host of the WRIR program Women And Politics. Chelsea explored Marcus from a mental health perspective. She touched on the inherent fear of black men and RPD crisis intervention training programs. Listen to this episode on SoundCloud. You can hear Black Minds Matter Project every second and fourth Friday at 11 AM.

Stay tuned for more coverage, perspectives and voices as WRIR volunteers continue to follow this story. Open Source RVA, Black Minds Matter, Women And Politics and RVA Dirt’s Municipal Mania are part of WRIR’s block of news and public affairs programs that air every weekday between 11 AM – 1 PM. You can find a complete schedule of programs at


231 June 13th, 2018

Posted In: In/Out WRIR Studio, News

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Pssst… Wanna Hear a Secret? presents:

Normally an area buzzing with the sounds of people zipping up and down Broad, late at night the blocks surrounding WRIR magically transform to an eerily quiet space lit only by stars, street lights, and that damn Lowe’s sign. For many Richmond artists, this late night streetscape is the calm before the storm on their quest to unlock Secret Bonus Level at (and on) WRIR every Thursday from 1AM-3AM. Those who are brave enough to knock and enter Secret Bonus Level are greeted by a hive of creation. An eight or more player game, Secret Bonus Level is a live show on WRIR where the house band plays mostly-improvised instrumentals for local artists to rap either freestyled or pre-written lyrics.

First broadcast in July 2017, Secret Bonus Level is a relatively new addition to WRIR’s wide variety of local programming but with over 100 performers on the show so far, it has already established its place an extremely popular show with listeners. Noah Page, the O.G. (original game-maker) of Secret Bonus Level, said when he was offered his own show, he wanted to air the most awesomely crazy exciting thing he, and his friends, could think of.

According to Page, “having musicians perform live was an obvious one. No one else was bringing in musicians consistently to perform live on the air every single episode. And it was important to do a show about rap because Richmond’s rap scene has needed better infrastructure and support for a long time. . . so we wanted a show that’d not only support the rap scene but also introduce music fans from the indie rock scene to become more interested in it.”

And thus, Secret Bonus Level was conceived.

Using the live studio at WRIR, the show is spread throughout three rooms. The sound board operator is in one room where they can see into the performance room and hear what is coming through the microphones. The performance room is divided in half by a Plexiglas divider with the live band on one side and several microphones for artists on the other. The third room is where the host runs the game with a view of those who dare to rap. All in all, Secret Bonus level requires at least an eight-person crew for the show to go on. Page recalled when they first pressed start, many people doubted their ability to pull it off because of the number of people needed; however, they have never had a shortage of players. He has a dedicated crew of volunteers who help fill different needs and roles throughout the night as the level goes on.

The first dedicated crew member Page locked in is Vos, host of Secret Bonus Level. Having co-hosted other shows with Page, Vos was a natural fit for the role. Sanji the Hedgehog helps book shows, produces beats for the rappers, and helps ensure the show runs smoothly. MC Correct is a utility player handling anything from doing the dishes, running soundboard, and jumping on the mic. Mayday Goliath holds it down as the crew’s photographer and videographer.

The Secret Bonus Level Band performs live, on-air each week and according to Page, there are always rappers willing and excited to come perform. The live house band plays a wide variety of musical styles for the other players to rap to. While the band members coordinate on the style of music and may have some re-occurring themes or riffs, they improvise most of their songs. Secret Bonus Level Band is made up of Brandon Rice (bass), Jesse Lyell (percussion), and Joe Barry (guitar).

“Brandon is in a lot of other rock bands around town. Joe is a guitar teacher. Jesse is legendary punk rock alum in Richmond; he was in a  popular group called Exploder waaaay back. These guys are all super official, great musicians and I’m SO grateful that they agreed to be in a band that was our idea, that they agreed to learn to play a style of music they loved but had never played before, that they made the incredible time commitment to be on every single week, and did it all just because they believed in it,” said Page.

Regularly featured rappers include PhD Khari, Lithium God, Freakolafat, Frankenstein Reyes, Yoga Muffin, Awkward Shaman, RVA Hip-Hop, Damian Tweedy, and dogfriend.


Secret Bonus Level band photo taken 3/22/2018 by Jessee Perry

In addition, Secret Bonus Level players can test their skills by playing “Can You Rap on That?” where a random instrumental is selected for the player to try rapping to. The challenge is that the selected instrumentals could be anything from a video game soundtrack to a hymn to elevator music. There are rules: no profanity and rap for the entire track. At the end of each song, the other players discuss the rhyme and provide a rating. But for those hesitant to receive judgment in real time on air… never fear! After all what would a bonus level be without an over-abundance of rings to collect? Variations of the local currency (9’s) are readily available to be bestowed upon players who follow the rules.

Local artists MC Correct, Dom Phillips, and PhD Khari perform at Secret Bonus Level on 3/22/2018

But this secret level of Richmond is not just a bonus opportunity for local artists. As MC Correct pointed out, Secret Bonus Level allows people to learn about different roles of a live show. For example, MC Correct is typically behind the mic as a performer but coming on the show gives him the opportunity to learn about production when he is not rapping.

Beyond the studio, you can find Secret Bonus Level performing at shows and hosting events that seek to fuse RVA’s different music scenes and spread awareness of hip hop. According to Page, “booking events was just the obvious next step when we tried to consider what more we could do outside of the radio show to help support rap and hip hop. We also mix new artists with existing guys with bigger names, to help them put themselves out there.” In addition, Secret Bonus Level strives to ensure their shows and events are a positive and welcoming environment for all who want to play and watch. Whether you identify as belonging to the dance party scene, LGBT scene, rock scene, rap scene, or no scene… Secret Bonus Level wants you to feel comfortable and enjoy yourself.

For Page, “the LGBT part is especially important to me because I realized there are a lot of LGBT rappers and LGBT rap fans who felt uncomfortable at rap shows (and vice versa). . . I realized this whole problem came from a lack of understanding on both sides. So we’ve always included LGBT artists and LGBT-friendly artists in everything we do because I really believe just putting the rap scene and the LGBT scene in the same room would help the two understand each other better.”

Next Wednesday, think twice before you get ready for bed. Putting in late night work pays off in premium 9’s when you get it in at Secret Bonus Level on Thursdays from 1AM-3AM

Listeners and players alike… are you ready to level up?

231 March 23rd, 2018

Posted In: In/Out WRIR Studio, Music, Music Shows

WRIR DJ pays tribute to Leonard Cohen presents:

By L.J., a WRIR volunteer and DJ

leonard-cohenWhile on tour in 2008, a then-73-year-old Leonard Cohen included a recitation of his poem “A Thousand Kisses Deep” in his set list. If I were to demonstrate Leonard Cohen’s spirit to the uninitiated, the starting point would be a video of this recitation at a London show from that tour. With mournful ambient synthesizers as a backdrop, savoring each word, Cohen starts: “You came to me this morning and you handled me like meat… You’d have to be a man to know how good that feels…” He closes his eyes, tilts his head back and draws loosely clenched fists close to his face as he continues. It looks as though he is reliving the small intimate morning that inspired the poem. Just by watching the video, I’m having a quiet shared moment with Leonard Cohen. If it’s just theater, it’s good theater.

In that performance, Cohen is charming, both intelligent and wise, and self-effacing. The poem, like so many Cohen works, is about a woman. Not women in general, but about a particular experience with a particular woman. Like most Cohen works, the imagery in the poem is full of religious themes, gallows humor and pathetic fallacy. Cohen had been gladly playing the role of ‘wise mystic in a fedora’ for a long time and in that moment, it seemed perfected.

When I heard that Cohen had passed away, I re-watched the video. Then I sent it out to friends who were mourning his loss. For me, it was the second time this year that I had been celebrating a revered artist’s triumphant new album only to have that artist die several days afterward. In this regard, 2016 will end much as it started: with a brilliant final salvo from an artist I cherish.

Publications eulogizing Cohen reduce his career to a few bullet points: the impossible amount of artists who have covered “Suzanne,” the ubiquity of “Hallelujah” in singing competitions, his beginnings in the 60’s folk scene, his late-in-life artistic resurgence, and a mention of the varied and esteemed artists who have praised him. While this suffices to explain the furthest reaches of his importance, it is a far more difficult task to capture the depth of his importance.

L.J. is a volunteer at WRIR 97.3 FM, often guest hosting the program Cause and Effect and substituting for other WRIR DJs. He recently joined the board of the Virginia Center for Public Press, the nonprofit that oversees WRIR 97.3 FM.

14 November 18th, 2016

Posted In: In/Out WRIR Studio, Music Shows

Open Source RVA presents:

Election Night Open Source RVAIt takes a village to bring you community-first election coverage! Open Source RVA’s Election Night spectacular on WRIR 97.3 FM featured a team of enthusiastic WRIR volunteers and perceptive special guests to bring you local election news, breaking vote totals and candidate interviews. For five hours, in between masterful sets of music from Will Armstrong (12 Fl. Oz). Otto Konrad (Over the Edge of the Pop Narcotic) and Tommy Atrien (Dog Germs), our Nov. 8 live coverage featured in-studio commentary and numbers-crunching from Open Source RVA’s own Don Harrison, Chris Dovi, Krysti Albus and Dale Brumfield, along with Melissa Vaughn from RVA Dirt. Former mayoral hopefuls Jon Baliles and Farid Alan Schintzius gave their perspectives, too.

Throughout the evening, the Election Night News Team talked to candidates Kim Gray (who won the 2nd District city council seat) and Sheriff Mike Wade (who lost his bid for the 4th Congressional District seat), as well as local political strategist Paul Goldman. We are proud to say that WRIR 97.3 FM was the first media outlet in Richmond to call the race for newly elected mayor Levar Stoney! That is really amazing, considering the resources and pundits the local, commercial radio stations were using for their election night coverage. It was a memorable evening for local AND national politics.

Thank you for allowing WRIR 97.3 FM to be your prime source for information and perspective on Election 2016. We encourage you to see how you can be a part of WRIR 97.3 FM. We need and want diverse voices on air. If you have an idea for a talk show or love a particular style of music, share your idea by filling out a volunteer application. It could lead to an incredible opportunity.

14 November 10th, 2016

Posted In: In/Out WRIR Studio, Listener Supported

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Open Source RVA presents:

Hey, that's Tim Kaine

In April, Senator Tim Kaine visited WRIR’s studios for an exclusive interview with the hosts of Open Source RVA. Senator Kaine talked about the resolution that he wrote when he was mayor of Richmond that helped to put WRIR and low power radio on the map. And yes, they did ask about his potential nomination as vice president. You can hear the two-part interview at the show’s on soundcloud. Open Source RVA is WRIR’s weekly news show. Don hosts the show with a variety of others who talk about the city’s theater scene, restaurants and happenings.

Open Source RVA airs every Friday, 2-3 p.m. and repeats on Sunday, 7 a.m. on WRIR, 97.3FM, or listen online at and search “Open Source RVA”
Facebook: @OpenSourceRVA

14 August 27th, 2016

Posted In: Fund Raising, In/Out WRIR Studio, Listener Supported, Music Shows

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