Locals hoping to get new radio show on the air

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— Theater or music radio shows seem almost a century ago.

Franklin D. Roosevelt brought fireside chats into the homes of millions of Americans when the country was at an economic, mental and physical low.

Is it possible musicians and radio commentators now could be searching for that same link to history to boost American morale?

Local musician Andrew Pratt sat at Off the Beaten Path with a pink cup of coffee and a sparkle in his eye as he spoke of the possibility of putting a theatrical and/or musical show on the radio.

"I get a joy out of being live on stage it's the nervousness," said Pratt, adding being on television just doesn't give him any inspiration (he actually doesn't own a television). "I get a rush from performing."

With his desire to maintain The Steamboat Springs Jazz Quartet and continue acting in community theater, Pratt said the possibility of producing a radio show could not be so far off.

Pratt, Tim Cunningham, Dan Isbell and Ron Wheeler have joined efforts to bring the community a jazz ensemble as part of the Live at the Depot music series.

Cunningham regularly plays bass with Little Laura and The Brew Glass Boys and previously performed with the Mark Johnston Trio.

Isbell is the principal trumpet player with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Orchestra, performed with the Mark Johnston Trio, Flashback and The Henry Mancini Orchestra.

Wheeler also played drums with the Mark Johnston Trio and performs with Robin Getter's African Dance and Drum Troupe. Wheeler can be seen playing at The Western BBQ this winter.

Pratt appears as an actor in skits for Late Night Caft 10 p.m. on Steamboat Channel 10 and can be seen playing piano at Hazie's this winter.

Pianist Pratt, who has played with Red Radio Sisters and Flashback, said he hopes a radio show will result in high ratings of the music series and a need in this community for old-fashioned entertainment.

"I'd love to be able to be the house band at the Depot," Pratt said.

Pratt said the music series concerts will be digitally recorded to sell CDs at the end of the year with a variety of local artists who came to play Live at the Depot.

But Pratt said he wants to keep it sweet and simple less stress lies in long-term plans.

Pratt said he, Brian Harvey of Ski Town Productions and the arts council are juggling around the idea of putting the Jan. 20 jazz show on the air with people in the audience. The concert scheduled for January is called "A Tribute to African American Music: Jazz."

"The draw is music right now. To put it further and be in a live radio show could have an appeal," said Pratt, adding the possible National Public Radio twist.

Nancy Kramer, the arts council's executive director, and Pratt can't remember whose idea it was to couple the music series with a brunch, but Kramer said it just seemed fitting.

When Kramer and Pratt sat down to discuss every element of the jazz performance, Kramer said it also seemed natural to make the concert a series.

"That's part of why we called it 'Live at the Depot,'" Kramer said of supporting the radio show idea. "I think it's a great concept and avenue to perform."

The arts council provides a venue at the Depot that is rarely used for live performances where the community can become involved.

"When the arts council looks at new programs we ask, 'Does it fill a gap in the community?'" Kramer said. "(A radio show) really isn't happening here."

Although the jazz segment of the series will occur only in December and January, the Depot has organized a February show with Little Laura and The Brew Glass Boys and a St. Patrick's Day brunch in March with the Irish folk band The Shenanigans.

With appropriate and generous sponsorships, Pratt said he was able to make the show affordable for people like him.

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