World Cafe® “Sense of Place” series will bring the music of Athens, Georgia to radio listeners nationwide

An eight-part exploration of the music scene in Athens, Georgia will be heard on 288 U.S. radio stations when World Cafe, the daily music and interview program distributed by NPR, launches its “Sense of Place: Athens, Georgia” series on Wednesday, May 8.

“Sense of Place: Athens, Georgia” will showcase Athens’ legendary and current music scene through exclusive interviews and studio sessions with musicians including Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), The B-52s, Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers), and Adam Wayton (Telemarket), in addition to venue visits and conversations with local music insiders and influencers such as Barrie Buck of the 40-Watt Club, Dan Wall of Wuxtry Records, and more.

Athens, Georgia is the most recent city explored by World Cafe, which has visited dozens of musical hotspots around the globe to capture each city’s unique music scene for the “Sense of Place” series. World Cafe recently garnered international recognition when New York Festivals® Radio Awards awarded its Gold Award to the show for Host Raina Douris’ interview with “Weird Al” Yankovic, and the Bronze Award for a piece in its “Sense of Place: Provo, Utah” series.

Douris, World Cafe Senior Producer Kimberly Junod, and Producer Miguel Perez traveled to Athens from the show’s home base at WXPN/Philadelphia in March 2024 to gather content for “Sense of Place: Athens, Georgia.”

About their visit, Douris said, “There’s a true spirit of kindness in Athens, Georgia’s music scene. You get the feeling that everyone is watching out for each other – whether it’s musicians helping other musicians out, venues that put hospitality above everything, or the fostering of a safe space where artists can access mental health resources and community. There’s also a lot of care put into preserving and celebrating the city’s musical legacy, which in turn has inspired each new generation of music-makers to keep making music in Athens.”

The “Sense of Place: Athens, Georgia” eight episodes are:

Wednesday, May 8 – WUOG

“Sense of Place: Athens, Georgia” kicks off with a visit to WUOG, the University of Georgia’s student-run radio station that was the first to play R.E.M. back in 1980. Hear how the station is still searching out and spinning the best new music that Athens has to offer.

World Cafe Host Raina Douris at WUOG with Music Directors Mal Holmes (L) and Elizabeth Kim (R) | Photo by Miguel Perez

Thursday, May 9 – Michael Stipe 

R.E.M. is everywhere in Athens, and helped put the city on the map: The band played the 40-Watt Club, was first spun on University of Georgia’s WUOG, named its Automatic for the People album after a local cafe sign, and has inspired generations of Athens musicians. This episode of “Sense of Place: Athens, Georgia” revisits World Cafe host Raina Douris’ 2022 talk with R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe.

Friday, May 10 – 40-Watt Club

The 40-Watt is as legendary as New York’s CBGB or LA’s Whisky A Go-Go, despite being located in Athens, Georgia – population approximately 130,000. Its longtime owner, Barrie Buck, talks to World Cafe Host Raina Douris about hosting bands such as Nirvana and The Replacements, and shares what makes the club so special.

Monday, May 13 – Wuxtry Records

A great independent record store isn’t just a place to buy records – the truly great ones are also community hubs for the local music scene, and that’s exactly what Wuxtry Records is in Athens, Georgia. World Cafe Host Raina Douris talks to owner Dan Wall about Wuxtry’s nearly 50-year run, and its former employees who went on to become some of Athens’ most famed musicians.

Wuxtry Records Owner Dan Wall (L) and Manager Nathaniel Mitchell (R ) with World Cafe Host Raina Douris | Photo by Kimberly Junod

Tuesday, May 14 – The B-52s

In 1976, the members of The B-52s shared a flaming volcano cocktail before jamming for the first time. A fitting start for a band known for flamboyant style and quirky songwriting – and the beginning of a long journey together. In their final World Cafe session from 2008, the band reflects on its 45+ year career, with live performances of some of its most memorable songs.

Wednesday, May 15 – Telemarket

Widely considered one of the birthplaces of alternative rock, Athens, Georgia is home to bands like The B-52s and R.E.M. That illustrious music history is ever-present, and it continues to influence new bands. World Cafe Host Raina Douris talks with Adam Wayton, frontman of punk band Telemarket, about what it’s like making music in Athens today.

Adam Wayton of the band Telemarket (L) with World Cafe Host Raina Douris in Adam’s home studio | Photo by Kimberly Junod

Thursday, May 16 – Patterson Hood

Before launching the Drive-By Truckers, Patterson Hood moved to Athens, Georgia and started handing out cassette tapes of some early solo songs to everyone he met. A decade later, Hood rediscovered that early work and decided to make it the cornerstone of his album Murdering Oscar (And Other Love Songs), which he talks about in this 2009 World Cafe session.

Friday, May 17 – Nuçi’s Space

Nuçi Phillips left an indelible mark on Athens, Georgia. After the young musician died by suicide in the 1996, his mother, Linda Phillips, established a nonprofit organization in his name to help other local musicians find the mental health support they need. World Cafe host Raina Douris visits Nuçi’s Space to find out how the nonprofit has changed the way Athens’ music community talks about mental health

“Sense of Place: Athens, Georgia” can be heard on the U.S. radio stations that carry World Cafe and online at World Cafe on NPR Music. More about World Cafe is also at

Related Content
View All Related Content

No news added recently