Adding to their print publication of outstanding writing, New Letters on the Air 30-minute literary program was started in 1977 by David Ray and his wife Judy. Touted as “the longest continuously-running broadcase of a national literary radio series,” the 1,200+ programs that make up the archives feature some of the most globally prominent writers reading from and talking about their work. Changing hands to Rebekah Presson for a period of time, Angela Elam has been hosting the program now since 1996. Some most recent programs feature Michael Nava [pictured], Marjorie Agosín, Junot Díaz, Nikki Giovanni, Dave Smith, and Martha Serpas.
Programs can be heard live for those in the Kansas City area, broadcast on KCUR 89.3 FM on Sunday mornings from 6:00 to 6:30. Broadcasts are then available for online streaming in the New Letters on the Air audio archives. Thanks to a Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service, all past programs – going all the way back to 1977 – are available on the website. Individual programs can be purchased as CDs or in MP3 format.