NPR: Rita Houston

A nationally recognized tastemaker with a broad knowledge of and passion for music, Rita Houston shapes the musical direction of WFUV's acclaimed City Folk® format. With the help of staff, Houston selects the songs that become part of City Folk®, establishes theme days and creates popular features like "New Release Monday" and "Guilty Pleasures Day." Well-known for her rapport with artists, she books the on-air interviews, hosting a number of them herself. Houston also serves as executive producer of the nationally distributed City Folk Live concert series, and produces annual benefit CDs of performances from WFUV's Studio A.

After years as a popular City Folk® midday host, Houston shifted her on-air presence to create The Whole Wide World with Rita Houston, a dance-based program showcasing her wide-ranging taste in music. The show airs Friday nights from 8 to 11 p.m. ET, and often features live sessions with artists from around the globe, and broadcasting from locations as exotic as Louisville, KY, and Austin, TX.

Houston is a two-time Radio & Records (R&R) Music Director of the Year and a three-time designate of Gavin's Music Director of the Year, and she has also been awarded the Deems Taylor Award for Broadcast Excellence. In 2001, Houston enjoyed acclaim as part of the WFUV team as its was named Album Network 2001 Major Market Adult Rock Station of the Year, Gavin's Station of the Year, and the 2001, 2002 and 2003 FMQB Progressive Noncommercial Radio Station of the Year.

Houston came to WFUV in 1994 from Westchester's WXPS, where she hosted Starlight Express, a show close in style to City Folk®. After anchoring the midday there for six years, she left the station to join WFUV. A Westchester native, Houston recently moved from the East Village to Nyack, N.Y., to plant basil and perfect her fireplace skills.

With the release of Scandalous earlier this spring, the Austinites in Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears sound bolder than ever. While their new record maintains the soulful energy of its predecessor, Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!, Lewis and the band exude rock grit on Scandalous — they prove as much in this, their latest interview and performance at WFUV.

Emmylou Harris is the first to admit that songwriting doesn't come easy for her: "It's the fear of writing that's still there with me," she said recently. Harris found inspiration for her newest set of songs in the lives of old friends, in the 1955 story of Emmett Till, and even at the dog pound. Hard Bargain, her 21st studio album, tells a batch of stories in her own words, while bringing her serene grace and light touch to some heavy topics.