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Exciting Changes coming to Jonesborough’s Storytelling Radio Show

Contributed • Jan 23, 2020 at 9:30 AM

Jonesborough’s original storytelling radio show enters its ninth year Monday, and with a new season comes a new vision, a new voice and a new name.

The live stage production, which is recorded and aired on local NPR station WETS 89.5 FM out of Johnson City, will be heard by larger audiences as it begins its own podcast channel.

That wider reach sparked a concern that the well-known “Yarn Exchange” name might cause a few, ahem, knitted eyebrows.

Most local residents know the radio show as the “Yarn Exchange.” And while East Tennessee residents understand that a “yarn” is a tale, there was concern that this reference may not translate in other areas of the United States.

After a discussion with participants, a new name for the program was chosen. As the Yarn Exchange Radio Show has been part of Jonesborough’s broader StoryTown Initiative, the radio show will now fall under the name of “StoryTown Radio Show,” as will the podcast.

With a listenership already at 55,000, the program is looking forward to reaching even more audiences, in order to share Jonesborough’s stories, history, heritage, and culture.

Season passes are now available for the new year. And changes have come to the passes as well.

For only $70, participants will get a year’s worth of shows — eleven total — which also includes the popular “Soups and Songs” fundraiser and sing-a-long which sold out before Thanksgiving this year. Season pass holders will also be given a special code and can check-in and choose seats from their own computer, instead of calling in.

A limited number of season passes will be available each season, to ensure that new audiences will also be able to enjoy the program.

The story and music line-up for 2020 includes:

Monday, Jan. 27, starts the new year with “Our Favorite Things” and special music guests from Buffalo, South Carolina, the duo of Freddie Vanderford and Brandon Turner. Vanderford, who is endorsed by Hohner Harmonicas, has been inducted into the South Carolina Folk Life Hall of Fame for his special talent in playing Piedmont Blues.

Feb. 24 looks at stories of “Fair Play” and hosts music guests “We Five.”

March 23 celebrates the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage with its program “19th and 100” with music guest Mama Molassas, who will join the program for the very first time.

April 27 welcomes the changes of spring with a program entitled “Ch Ch Changes” with special music guests “The Green Rumours.”

May 25 will see the annual patriotic episode, with stories of veterans, military family, and those lost in a special program “Bridging the Gulf — WWII to Iraq” and will have special music guests Tom Sizemore and Nate Harris.

June 22 will be filled with “Wedding Bells” and welcomes musical guests Joe Gumina and Brittany Whitson, who are back by audience popular demand.

July 27, a time of summer vacations, devotes its episode “What A Trip” to those hilarious, sometimes moving, and always memorable trips, and welcomes back musician Aaron Jackson.

Aug. 24 will be filled with summer fun in the “Summertime” episode, with music guests Thistle Dew.

Sep. 28 will honor area police, EMTs and firefighters in a “First Responders” program, with music guests Sweetwater Troubadours.

October 26 will be “Curiosities,” featuring tales of the weird and strange in Jonesborough while welcoming back audience favorites The David Crockett Madrigal Singers.

Nov. 30 will be the annual Soup Bowl Fundraiser at the McKinney Center, with the Jonesborough Novelty Band. New this year, the season pass includes this special program. This event is an annual favorite, which includes a handmade ceramic bowl of your choice, appetizers, salad and bread, an all-you-can-eat gourmet soup meal with six different locally made soups that include vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian offerings, and dessert. Following dinner is a show and Christmas Sing-A-Long with the cast and the Jonesborough Novelty Band. Proceeds from this fundraiser benefit the McKinney Center and the StoryTown Radio Show.

The 2020 StoryTown Radio Show also features new sponsors. The ninth season is made possible by generous support from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Wild Women of Jonesborough, Nancy Hope and Odie Major, Main Street Café and Catering, Appalachian Light and Productions and Royal Carriage Limo.

To buy tickets or season passes, go online to Jonesborough.com/tickets or call the Historic Visitors Center at 243-753-1010. For more information about the StoryTown Radio Show, contact Jules Corriere at [email protected]

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