100 Shows of Folk Talk!

Rik Palieri's radio journey: from dream to reality to radio milestone

This Sunday at 4:00PM WBTV-LP invites you to celebrate the 100th episode of Folk Talk with Rik Palieri, a weekly 1 hour folk music & talk radio show. Read Rik's journey as he went from dream to reality to radio milestone. 

On March 10, 2019, I went into the 99.3FM WBTV-LP radio station at the Media Factory to do my first radio show, which I called “Folk Talk.”

I was nervous. I did do the shadowing teach-in, which was part of free training offered by WBTV so I knew what I was supposed to do but was still glad to see an old friend Scott Campitelli was there to assist.

I had a show planned with playing an audio interview I did with Pete Seeger, but then found out a traveling Bluesman Andy Cohen was in town and was interested in doing my show. I felt it too good an opportunity to miss. I thought I could fit Andy’s interview too, and Andy was my first live guest.

Everything worked! Well sort of.

I knew I was a techno- dinosaur and it would be much better to do this show with a bit of help. Jason Baker was already helping me with my Great Vermont Barn Dance Show, so I asked him if he wanted to help. Jason always wanted to do a local radio show as he had done one in his college years and he was skilled as an IT in his professional work. It was a very good fit.

Right from the start, we decided that “Folk Talk” would be a window into the folk music world - including Blues, Bluegrass, Country, World music, as well as contemporary songwriters. We also played not only CDs but played vinyl records and even old 78s. It was not long until Ron Olesko of the 24/7 online Folk Music Notebook invited us to become part of the weekly lineup.

We started doing thematic programs doing deep dives and exploring Native American, Hawaiian, Labor songs, Women songwriters, and even a show about the Golden Record that was aboard the spacecraft Voyager. We were getting requests for live interviews and started doing phone interviews. Everything was moving along and then the pandemic hit.

As the world was shutting down the Media Factory (ed- radio station) did too. As we both had home studios we decided that we could cobble together the shows using a playlist and voiceovers. It was not the same, but it was the best we could do at the time. Every now and then we had to play an archived show as the show was more time-consuming to put together in the remote studios than doing live shows but it kept our show broadcasting.

The pandemic also opened a new way of doing interviews, by using Zoom interviews. Zoom brought in many new voices into our program from all over the USA, like Dar Williams, Si Kahn, Reggie Harris, Guy Davis, Dom Flemons, Joey Miskulin, as well as friends from overseas too.

Now we are getting ready to broadcast our 100th show with an interview with composer/songwriter and folklorist Jennifer Cutting.

I could never imagine when I wrote the idea of “Folk Talk” into my book of dreams that it would become such an important part of my life while providing so many musicians a chance to have their voices heard. Many thanks to the Media Factory and everyone who helped “Folk Talk” come to life!


Rik and Jason in the studio

Broadcast WBTV-LP 99.3 FM and webstream https://993wbtv.org/