By Alexis Nalley | Photography by Rett Peek
The 2nd annual Block, Beer and Bourbon event celebrates the power of public radio and provides additional funding for KUAR/KLRE-FM (89.1/90.5) – the Central Arkansas affiliates. The evening showcases beer and bourbon as well as fellowship with fellow patrons. Jonathan Looney, the proprietor of O’Looney’s Wine & Liquor, will present his picks for enjoying the best of both libations and shares his love for these listener-supported radio stations.
A Little Rock native, Jonathan depends on public radio as his most trusted source of information and the connections it creates. “I discovered This American Life while I was working in Fayetteville and started tuning into the Northwest Arkansas affiliate regularly,” Jonathan remembers. “I was, and still am, such a fan that I helped bring that program onto the Central Arkansas affiliate.”
Jonathan recognizes the imperative role that KUAR plays in the Capital City. “KUAR enriches our community and the shared stories of our lives. Most public radio stations are affiliated with a university and it’s a vital partnership with UA Little Rock.” Development Director Vanessa McKuin adds, “Our small-but-mighty team works incredibly hard to provide news, information and insights to the 80,000 people each week who tune in to KUAR for news, music and culture. That’s a lot of people whose lives are affected by public radio in a meaningful way.”
The Corporation of Public Broadcasting established NPR in 1970 to supplement content to the nation’s noncommercial and educational radio stations. Today, NPR reaches 30 million listeners weekly through more than 1,000 public stations. During this time of increased media fragmentation, relevant and accurate journalism is diminished. “Public radio programming enriches our quality of life in Central Arkansas as an important part of Central Arkansas’ cultural landscape,” Vanessa explains.
Block, Beer & Bourbon offers an opportunity to bring friends of KUAR/KLRE together for camaraderie and the connectedness that is at the core of the public radio mission. “Because we’re broadcast radio, most of our interaction with listeners is on-air, but Block, Beer & Bourbon is a chance for listeners and supporters to meet and interact face-to-face with the voices they hear on-air,” Vanessa notes. Jonathan adds, “Events like Block, Beer & Bourbon attract the well-established public radio listeners as well as folks who are simply interested in good beer and bourbon. It’s the perfect introduction to ‘why public radio matters’ and how accessible it is for all Americans to be better informed.”