dear spacefans, we've reached a milestone in this series: our 1,000th
program. It's such a milestone, in fact, that it's going to be two
programs, this week and next.
The count goes back 30 years to January 1983, when we launched our syndicated public radio program. And as many of you know, we had a ten year running start as a local late night show on KPFA-FM in Berkeley California; so 2013 is also the 40th anniversary of the Hearts of Space program. My original co-producer and co-host ANNA TURNER was instrumental in creating the national version of the show. Sadly, Anna passed on in 1996, another too-early victim of pancreatic cancer. I know she would have been delighted to celebrate the longevity of the music she loved.
I'm Stephen Hill, producer and host of Hearts of Space, and over the last 30 years, we've marked our centennial programs with various specials, usually in a "radio documentary" style. That's unusual, because as regular listeners know, our practice is to create a musical experience on the radio — rather than a radio program about music. That's also part of Anna Turner's legacy: she absolutely insisted on an uninterrupted format, even though it broke every rule about music radio.
To be sure, music journalism and commentary is an important and valuable format, but the nature of ambient music and contemplative sound really requires an uninterrupted experience, so that's what we've tried to create, within the limitations of a one-hour radio show. And this approach has lasted far beyond our original expectations.
There are several good reasons why ambient and contemplative music programming has worked for listeners over the years: first, the pace of our lives is often driven by external forces we can't control — ambient music provides a slow and steady touchstone; second, it magically supports concentration on all kinds of creative and focused work; and third, people continue to crave contact with authentic deep listening experiences and the kind of inclusive spirituality that music uniquely can deliver.