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Steve Rowland

MMW 04: June 2009

Steve Rowland has worked in public broadcasting for nearly 25 years. He has worked as a jazz club manager, a late night jazz radio host, a radio station music director and oral historian. He is one of the most accomplished music documentarians in the United States.


Rowland has produced over 50 hours of radio documentary work since 1987. All of his projects are based on extensive oral histories. His most recent work is the 11-hour documentary "Leonard Bernstein: An American Life" which is narrated by Susan Sarandon. It is based on over 100 exclusive interviews Rowland conducted with colleagues of Bernstein.


He also created the acclaimed 8-hour "Miles Davis Radio Project", hosted by Danny Glover, a 5 hour documentary on John Coltrane called "Tell Me How Long Trane's Been Gone" and individual documentaries on a number of American icons, including: "Carlos Santana: Music for Life", hosted by Edward James Olmos; "Patti LaBelle: Gospel into Soul", hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, "Frank Zappa: American Composer", hosted by Beverly D'Angelo, and "Hip-Hop 101: On the Road with the Roots", hosted by Chuck D. His work is in the permanent collections of The Library of Congress and the Museum of Television and Radio.


He has won nearly every award in radio including a Peabody, a Prix Italia, an Oral History Association top honor, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Prix Italia, Armstrong, Ohio State, Corporation for Public Broadcasting and many others. His work has been funded by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and several national foundations.


Rowland places particular emphasis on training others. He is on the faculty of Columbia University's new Master's Program in Oral History, has been a regular instructor at Columbia University's Summer Institute in Oral History, at Philadelphia's Scribe Video Center, at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, at St. Mary's College in Maryland, at Arcadia University and at CUNY's United Nations Oral History Research Project. He has lectured at Princeton, Syracuse University's Newhouse School, Columbia University, Arcadia University, University of Pennsylvania, and at dozens of radio stations nationwide. In addition, Rowland was the Mentoring Coordinator for The Association of Independents in Radio for over 8 years.


He has worked as a consultant to The Library of Congress, Music Division; the Columbia University Oral History Research Center; the Association of Oral Historians; Studer Editech Corporation; Roland USA, Pro Audio Division; HHB Professional Audio Products, The Philadelphia Folklore Project, the Atwater Kent Museum and many others.


Rowland holds an undergraduate degree in ethnomusicology and film production from Temple University and received an MBA from Columbia University in 2001.


Steve participated in the June 2009 MediaStorm Storytelling Workshop. He had the following to say about his experience:


We are all facing a changing world. A world that is losing traditional journalism at a time when it may be needed more than ever before. The challenges facing any photographer, radio producer, print journalist or documentary makers are enormous.

Each of us is expected to know how do it all. We also have to find ways to survive as newspapers fold and government and foundation support for the arts is drying up. Enter MediaStorm. Brian Storm is a master multi-media producer, and he is committed to sharing his knowledge and helping others face these big transitions. A week of very long days working intensively with Brian, producer Bob Sacha, and 3 other wonderful workshop participants was tremendous. It was eye-opening to see the MediaStorm approach. Find the story. Keep yourself organized. Work your butt off. Be compassionate. See the humanity in all people. The story is key and every element added must have a purpose.

As a radio producer I was delighted to see that my experience is directly relevant. I learned non-stop, and about each and every aspect of the process. MediaStorm is leading us into the next decade of journalism. These workshops and MediaStorm's commitment to sharing will ensure that the we have producers ready to comment on our changing world, both its perils and its joys. Excellence, commitment, vision and hard work will never go out of style.

Behind the Scenes: Workshop 4 by Tim Hussin

For one week in June of 2009, eight professional storytellers dove into what it means to tell a great story, how the internet has opened up new worlds to them, and why it matters so much for skilled people to share their expertise.

A Tail of Identity by Toni Greaves, Jeff Davis, Steve Rowland and Gregory Warner

A young man feels he can't really be himself, until he makes an unusual discovery. In A Tail of Identity, we meet three such men who, with candor and humor, reveal how the path into their most honest lives led them outside the human world.