The Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute (BMI) celebrates its 15th anniversary this spring with Black Mountain Radio, an artist-driven audio project and podcast showcasing the arts and culture of Southern Nevada and beyond.
Black Mountain Radio, which debuted in October, returns to the airwaves with six new episodes starting Sunday, April 4. Episodes will air Sundays on KWNK 97.7 FM at noon and KUNV 91.5 FM at 4 p.m. and will be available at the same time wherever listeners get their podcasts.
Over six weeks, listeners will enjoy audio pieces like a meditation on Toni Morrison by essayist and BMI Fellow Niela Orr; a sound walk with poet Vi Khi Nao; an interview with the author of the upcoming essay collection White Magic, Elissa Washuta; a conversation between poet Douglas Kearney and Afro-electronic music composer Val Jeanty; and more.
Black Mountain Radio will feature a rotating cast of co-hosts, including editor and journalist Scott Dickensheets, essayist and Believer magazine deputy editor Niela Orr, and writer and educator Erica Vital-Lazare.
Episodes of the show will dive deeply into pieces of Las Vegas culture, such as the life and work of acclaimed architect Denise Scott Brown; the Mint 400, the infamous off-desert race depicted in Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; and gambling culture through the eyes of lawyer and writer Dayvid Figler.
The show also will feature conversations with artists and scholars from different disciplines, including a conversation between New Yorker cartoonist and former BMI Shearing Fellow Amy Kurzweil and her father, influential futurist and coiner of the phrase “the singularity,” Ray Kurzweil; a conversation between McArthur Genius Grant recipients culture critic Josh Kun and Las Vegas-born scholar and poet Fred Moten; and current BMI Shearing Fellow and essayist Jordan Kisner in conversation with poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of the New York Times bestselling essay collection World of Wonders.
All episodes will be available to stream across platforms following their radio broadcast.
“Vegas is a town that so often lives in the mythos of people’s minds, and our intention with Black Mountain Radio is to amplify stories that challenge preconceived notions of the Southwest and Las Vegas, ” said Sara Ortiz, host and curator for Black Mountain Radio. “Our more than 30 contributors — ranging from graduate students to established artists and writers —get a chance to rewrite the myth. The show takes a dedicated and collaborative approach when working with contributors to include them in a platform that augments compelling and meaningful stories.”
Black Mountain Radio is made in collaboration with students, BMI Fellows, writers, and ordinary folks who would not traditionally be able to tell stories on the radio. The production team and its cast of contributors are primarily composed of storytellers who have not worked in radio before. They have been given a chance to develop radio-making skills and tell their stories in a medium to which they might not have had access otherwise.
“We also felt committed to offering programming over not only podcasts but radio. As a grand equalizer, radio doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection, and a listener can tune in from the car, kitchen. No need to commute and at no cost. Our venue comes to the listener,” added Ortiz.
About the Black Mountain Institute:
Since 2006, the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute has brought writers, and the literary imagination, into the heart of public life, through live experiences, diverse fellowships, and award-winning publications, including The Believer and the literary journal Witness. As a literary arts institute within the UNLV College of Liberal Arts, BMI created the first-ever U.S. City of Asylum program, hosting writers in exile from their home countries.