Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.


All Songs Considered
7:03 am
Sat May 10, 2014

Bob's Rainbows: May 10, 2014

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters performs at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. as part of the birthday celebration for Big Tony of Trouble Funk.
Kyle Gustafson Washington Post/Getty images

Originally published on Sat May 10, 2014 10:55 am

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All Songs TV
8:03 am
Fri May 9, 2014

The Collection, 'The Gown Of Green'

The Collection's David Wimbish
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:18 am

If you love an uplifting big band, The Collection is for you. These dozen-plus players from Greensboro, N.C., with a house-filling sound get a video to match for the song "The Gown Of Green."

All Songs TV
5:22 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Lucius, 'Don't Just Sit There'

Lucius, 'Don't Just Sit There'
Peter Larson Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV
12:37 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Honeyblood, 'Killer Bangs'

Singer/guitarist Stina Tweeddale and drummer Shona McVicar of the Glasgow duo Honeyblood
Laura Coulson Courtesy of the artist

Tiny Desk Concerts
2:03 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Public Service Broadcasting: Tiny Desk Concert

Public Service Broadcasting performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in March 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 8:34 pm

These guys don't speak or sing a word, but each song sends a clear message. Public Service Broadcasting is a duo featuring the nerdy J. Willgoose, Esq. on guitar, banjo and electronics and Wrigglesworth on drums. The source material for the music is British public-service films from roughly the 1940s through the 1960s.

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