Each Wednesday night at 7pm, listeners of 95.7 FM That Station can tune in to hear an hour of local music curated by music journalist David Menconi. The News & Observer music critic picks his own music and provides in-depth behind the music content heard only on CBC’s That Station. During 2019, Menconi will hold an additional role, as Piedmont Laureate, to celebrate the art of writing in the Triangle. He was officially introduced as the Piedmont Laureate at the United Arts Council’s State of Arts and Culture in Wake County at the North Carolina Museum of History on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.
Menconi first came to the notice of CBC Radio when That Station went on the air on May 1. He was definitely listening.
“David Menconi took note….for better or for worse,” said CBC Vice President of Radio Brian Maloney. “We had just launched, and we were still trying to find our ‘sweet spot’ musically. David wasn’t shy about voicing his opinion on what we were or weren’t doing, and I’m glad he did. Ultimately it’s what connected me to David. I learned he knows NC music better than anyone and is a very talented writer.”
Maloney continued, “I found myself going back to David for some insight and direction on connecting with North Carolina artists and musicians. He was more than generous with his time and knowledge. I quickly learned ‘this dude is a walking encyclopedia of North Carolina music history’.”
Maloney then picked up a copy of a book Menconi penned about Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown band.
“Again, impressed by David’s music knowledge and writing, I didn’t put the book down over the weekend,” said Maloney.
The pair continued to exchange emails, and then Maloney had a big idea.
“I’m just going to call David and ask him if he wants his own show because I’m certain there’s no one better,” Maloney concluded. “I told him he can play whatever he wants. Share your knowledge with the listeners – and he does. I remember driving home one night from a function and he was doing his Christmas show. I heard so much ‘new’ Christmas music with ties to North Carolina – it was a true pleasure….with a story behind each one.”
Menconi’s one-hour show, “The Old North State Radio Hour,” broadcasts on That Station each week. Previous shows are also available online.
“The thing I enjoy most about our partnership with David is I always learn something,” said Maloney. “I think David has done a great job of translating the written word and his knowledge into spoken word when he hosts his radio show on That Station. It’s what people tune in to hear.”
Menconi was selected as the 2019 Piedmont Laureate by co-sponsors of the program, the City of Raleigh Arts Commission, Durham Arts Council, Orange County Arts Commission and United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.
The program’s primary goal is to “promote awareness and heighten appreciation for excellence in the literary arts in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The program is dedicated to building a literary bridge for residents to come together and celebrate the art of writing, enriching the lives of all our citizens.”
Menconi will serve a one-year term and will conduct a variety of activities in Durham, Orange and Wake counties over the coming 12 months. As a creative non-fiction writer he will share about his process and conduct workshops, readings and more.
“I’m not at all surprised David was named the Piedmont Laureate,” said Maloney. “It’s a win-win for all of us music lovers to have somebody like David share his knowledge and stories.”
Learn more about Menconi’s journey as Piedmont Laureate through his introductory blogpost: Hello in there