The University Record, February 6, 1995

Rabbit Ears Radio features readings marking Black History Month

By Harriet Teller
Michigan Radio

Adults and children alike enjoy quality entertainment, especially when it's free and convenient. Michigan Radio offers one such program that they can enjoy together: "Rabbit Ears Radio," on Sunday nights at 7:30.

Rabbit Ears Radio, hosted weekly by actor Mel Gibson, is a family radio program that combines literature's classic stories with Hollywood's top stars as narrators, made all the more interesting with scores from today's favorite musicians.

Gibson introduces the half-hour programs by sharing anecdotal information about the origin of the story, the storyteller and musical talent. He also offers insights on morals within the stories.

The traditional classics are narrated by such celebrities as Jack Nicholson, Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage. Their talents, along with the quality of the accompanying music, attract adults to Rabbit Ears Radio. Children find it irresistible because the stories are well-told and engaging, Gibson says.

In celebration of Black History Month, February programs will feature John Henry, told by Denzel Washington with music by B.B. King; Follow the Drinking Gourd, told by Morgan Freeman with music by Taj Mahal; and Anansi, told by Denzel Washington with music by UB40. For the 190th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark expedition, The Song of Sacajawea will be told by Laura Dern, with music by David Lindley.

The roster of musicians for the program mirrors the diversity of stories and narrators. The Les Miserables Brass Band will be heard while Danny Aiello tells the tale of Pinocchio, while Mark Isham will provide the score for The Emperor's New Clothes. Other featured musicians include Ravi Shankar, Bobby McFerrin, The Paul Winter Consort and Boys of the Lough.

Families can gain more than just a half-hour of entertainment. "Our primary goal is to entertain, but we hope at the same time to foster an appreciation for great stories which will lead to the next logical step of a family reading time," says Executive Producer Mark Sottnick.

In addition, plans are underway to develop a community outreach program with Rabbit Ears Radio. The program will link listening skills to reading skills and will be coordinated with schools and libraries.

Michigan Radio can be heard in Ann Arbor on WUOM, 91.7 FM; in Grand Rapids on WVGR, 104.1 FM; and in Flint on WFUM, 91.1 FM.

Rabbit Ears Radio schedule

Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m., Follow the Drinking Gourd, told by Morgan Freeman, music by Taj Mahal.

Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m., Anansi, told by Denzel Washington, music by UB40.

Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m., Noah & the Ark, told by Kelly McGillis, music by The Paul Winter Consort.

March 5, 7:30 p.m., Annie Oakley, told by Keith Carradine, music by Los Lobos.

March 12, 7:30 p.m., Davy Crockett, told by Nicolas Cage, music by David Bromberg.

March 19, 7:30 p.m., Finn McCoul, told by Catherine O'Hara, music by Boys of the Lough.

March 26, 7:30 p.m., Red Riding Hood/Goldilocks, told by Meg Ryan, music by Art Lande.

April 2, 7:30 p.m., Mose the Fireman, told by Michael Keaton, music by John Beasley & Walter Becker.

April 9, 7:30 p.m., The Bremen Town Musicians, told by Bob Hoskins, music by Eugene Friesen.

April 16, 7:30 p.m., The Emperor's New Clothes, told by Sir John Gielgud, music by Mark Isham.

April 23, 7:30 p.m., Paul Bunyan, told by Jonathan Winters, music by Leo Kottke with Duck Baker.

April 30, 7:30 p.m.: for the 190th Anniversary of Lewis & Clark expedition, The Song of Sacajawea, told by Laura Dern, music by David Lindley.