By Kim Corriher
The WOUB Radio Network and Performing Arts Series will welcome back an old friend on Monday as Mountain Stage returns to Ohio University's Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.
While this will mark the fifth consecutive year the program has visited the Ohio University campus, the scheduled lineup is brand new, featuring Ani DiFranco, moe., Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and George Stanford.
According to WOUB Director of Radio and Online Services Tim Myers, the show represents a unique opportunity to bring radio to a live audience at Ohio University.
"The shows have been great," Myers said. "It has been a chance for us to present some great artists to the Athens community."
Based in Charleston, WV, Mountain Stage is a live-to-tape radio show distributed by Public Radio International throughout the United States and internationally to hundreds of thousands of listeners each week.
Next week's live performance will be recorded to air at a later date, giving Athens fans of the show a sneak-peek at a future broadcast. Monday's taping of the two-hour special will begin at 7 p.m.
The weekly specials feature a different lineup of performers for each show, representing a range of musical genres and including a number of high-profile acts such as, 21-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, DiFranco, Kathy Mattea, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Son Volt.
WOUB Radio has been broadcasting the program weekly since the early 1990s and worked with the show's producers to first bring the show to a live Athens audience in fall 2004.
"It seemed like a natural (connection), since the music on the show has a strong appeal in our area," Myers said.
According to Mountain Stage Executive Producer Andy Ridenour, producing the show at alternate locations has a number of advantages.
"We always enjoy bringing the show to our audiences that may not have a chance to come see us in Charleston, as well as working with our affiliates to try and help raise the profile of both the station and the show even more," Ridenour said.
Taking their shows on the road -- literally -- is something that Mountain Stage does six to 10 times each year. Sites have ranged from Boston to San Diego and Toronto to Disney World. Athens, however, has become a regular and welcome stop along the way.
"Athens is a great place to present our shows because of our relationship with WOUB, the folks at Memorial Auditorium and our audience in the area," Ridenour said. "The staff and crew at the auditorium are top-notch professionals as are our colleagues at WOUB, and the audience seems to love our being there."
"We have done a lot of shows in a lot of places, but we have not had a better group of people to work with than those at Memorial Auditorium and WOUB."
Tickets and information are available through the Performing Arts Series Web site.