Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Apr 15, 2013

Each month, we ask public radio DJs from across the country to share their favorite new songs. Usually, we stick to a handful, but since April is Public Radio Music Month, we're celebrating with a 10-spot.

  • Larry Groce, host of NPR's Mountain Stage, which is produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting
  • Rita Houston, the program director at WFUV in New York City
  • Bruce Warren, the program director at WXPN in Philadelphia and one of the guys behind NPR's World Cafe
  • David Brown, the host of Texas Music Matters at Austin's KUTX
  • Mary Lucia, one of the drivetime voices of Minnesota Public Radio's The Current
  • John Richards, the host of KEXP's ever popular Morning Show
  • Chris Campbell, host of WDET's beat-centric The Progressive Underground
  • Kim Ruehl, a frequent contributor to WKSU's FolkAlley.com
  • John Schaefer, host of Soundcheck, WNYC's music talk show
  • Frannie Kelley and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, hosts of NPR Music's hip-hop channel, Microphone Check
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Now, whenever a song gets a lot of play on a radio station, some say it's in heavy rotation. And that's what we've called our series that puts us in touch with public radio hosts and program directors around the country. We've been asking them to share a favorite new song and each month we feature one of those selections.

Today we turn to WFUV in New York City, where program director Rita Houston hosts a show called THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

RITA HOUSTON, BYLINE: My show on Friday nights is a sort of kick off the weekend dance-based R&B party kind of show. You're, you know, cracking a bottle of wine; you're having some people over for dinner, that's kind of the whole vibe of the show.


GREENE: Rita Houston began her career in radio nearly 20 years ago.

HOUSTON: I just have a great job - I live it, I love it.

GREENE: And she loves her pick for heavy rotation. It's a song called "Ride On/Right On" by the artist Phosphorescent.


HOUSTON: You know (unintelligible) kinds of songs that you just - you're in the car, a song comes on, you just turn it up, roll the windows down. And this song - between the percussion, his sort of pleading vocals and just the driving nature of the guitar - it's just so perfect for the radio.


HOUSTON: It's imperfect, his voice but so real and, you know, it demands your attention. I especially love the line in the song where he says: Take your greedy hands and lay them on me. Just the way it comes out of that sort of cracking, pleading vocal, it hits you - you feel that.


HOUSTON: There's a certain sort of swagger to this song where you're just feeling, you know, boundless and free and, like, I can do anything.


GREENE: That's Rita Houston from station WFUV in New York. Her choice for our series, Heavy Rotation, is "Ride On/Right On" by Phosphorescent. And you can also hear more Heavy Rotation picks at NPRMusic.org.

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.


Ride on, I'm Steve Inskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RIDE ON/RIGHT ON") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.