Stephen Reader

Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.

Stephen got his start in radio at the College of William & Mary, where he was a DJ and Music Director for the student-run station WCWM. He was a frequent contributor to the station's music magazine Vinyl Tap, and continues to do occasional freelance work in arts and entertainment. His work has appeared on Studio 360, where he also helped produce a piece on Jimi Hendrix for the show's American Icons series, and in The Awl.

As a political reporter, Stephen has covered redistricting, gay marriage legalization, and Egyptian solidarity protests in New York. At the national level, Stephen has covered 2012 electoral politics, campaign finance, health care reform, budget debates, tax policy, and more. He has produced features for the WNYC newsroom and has been a guest on The Takeaway, WNYC's national morning news show.

Born in New Orleans, raised in Virginia, Stephen has a degree from the College of William & Mary. He's on Twitter @reader_stephen.

Stephen Reader appears in the following:

Aha Moment: John Darnielle and Black Sabbath

Friday, July 20, 2012

Twenty years ago John Darnielle formed one of indie rock's great bands: The Mountain Goats. The New Yorker called Darnielle "America's best non-hip hop lyricist”; his songs are moody, literary, maybe a bit navel-gazey. But Darnielle's biggest influence isn't Leonard Cohen ...

Video: Black Sabbath, "Iron Man"

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Aha Moment: John Darnielle and Black Sabbath

Friday, May 13, 2011

Twenty years ago, just as indie rock started to be called indie rock, John Darnielle founded one of its great bands — The Mountain Goats. The New Yorker called Darnielle "America's best non-hip hop lyricist"; his songs are moody, literary, some might say a bit navel-gazey. ...

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American Icons: Jimi Hendrix's Star-Spangled Banner

Friday, November 19, 2010

Using a whammy bar and a fuzz box, Hendrix captured the sound of bombs falling overseas and screaming protestors.  “I didn’t think it was unorthodox,” Hendrix said. “I thought it was beautiful.”

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Everybody Loves Lucy

Friday, October 08, 2010

Lucille Ball knew however big the star, TV was a writer’s medium.  There was just no time for lots of takes to figure it out.  Every gesture, every glance, and every step was written into the script – and that’s the way Lucy wanted it.

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Stewart, Colbert to Rally at Lincoln Memorial

Friday, September 17, 2010

Last night, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announced that they would hold sort-of-but-not-really-competing rallies at the Lincoln Memorial on October 30th.

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Arcade Fire, Google Make Internet Even More Ridiculous

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

HTML5 is here, and if you're like me you have no idea what that means.  Thankfully, (and in a sentence I never thought I'd write),Arcade Fire and Google are here to help.  The indie band and the internet behemoth teamed up to make a music video called 'The Wilderness Downtown' with HTML5, showing just what the internet of the future looks like.

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360 Staff Pick: Mogwai Live

Monday, August 30, 2010

This new live album from post-rock darlings Mogwai might sound better than their studio records. The effects-laden guitar melodies tower a bit higher, but the inevitable crash of drums and strums is more deafening than ever. Special Moves is a collection of great songs spanning the band's entire career, accompanied by a DVD of gorgeous, black-and-white footage from a performance in Brooklyn. For the uninitiated, live albums don't normally act as good introductions. In this case, one could make an exception.

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This Week in Swag

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Swag is supposed to impress people.  Right, Soulja Boy?  That's why I was a little surprised by the Independent Film Channel's promotional offering for their new series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.  These folders are sure to make you look unimpressive in the eyes of your co-workers.

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Lost Jazz Finds a Home in Harlem

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Before yesterday, I had never heard of Bill Savory.  For this, I'm thankful: If I had known about Savory, I would have wasted a lot of time and energy being very upset with him.  As a sound engineer in the 1930s, he made nearly 1,000 unique recordings of seminal jazz musicians -- and refused to let anyone hear them.

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360 Staff Pick: House of the Devil

Monday, August 16, 2010

House of the Devil uses a familiar horror movie plot of a babysitting gig gone horribly wrong and turns it into something surprising. Samantha has no idea that her employers are raving Satanists -- but before the night is over, she'll become painfully aware. Rather than confuse torture and gore for genuine scares, director Ti West creates an atmosphere of terror that relies almost entirely on what you don'tsee. There will be blood, but not for nearly two-thirds of the film, in which practically nothing 'happens.' It's the most scared you will ever be by an (almost) empty house.

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360 Staff Pick: Memory Wall

Monday, August 09, 2010

An Alzheimer's patient in South Africa gets addicted to a machine that reboots lost memories. A dying woman's seizures force her to relive the time she spent at an orphanage in Nazi Germany. These stories and more make up Memory Wall, a collection of short fiction by Anthony Doerr. Doerr focuses on intensely private, emotional narratives in mostly-alien locales, but the effect on the reader isn't one of exclusion. Memory Wall draws you deep into the lives of its characters with heart-wrenching prose, making you briefly forget where and who you are.

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Radio City Gets Spiritualized

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Last Friday, at Radio City Music Hall, space-rock band Spiritualized gave a rare – and, they said, final -- performance of their 1997 album Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space, all 70 minutes of it.  I was lucky enough to attend.

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"Pale Fire" Redux

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

One of the highlights of new releases in poetry this fall is a long poem by John Shade that begins with the remarkable line “I was the shadow of the waxwing slain.” It’s all the more remarkable because John Shade does not exist.

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Mama-Say What?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The first-ever disco song, the one that spawned the entire American craze, made its debut in the Top 40 this week in 1973.  Only, back then, it wasn't yet disco.  In fact, it wasn't even American.

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360 Staff Pick: Infra

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

 

You wouldn't guess that Infra, an ambient-classical piece by Max Richter, was originally conceived as a score for Britain’s Royal Ballet; nothing about it screams 'dance' to me. While the music leaves the choreography to our imagination, it translates into an album quite nicely. Richter contrasts melodic chamber arrangements with subtle swaths of static and electric ripples. Yet the colors don't clash: on record they gel to suggest a painting, rather than a dance.

 

 

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Does the Guggenheim Need YouTube?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It was only a matter of time, wasn't it? Until one of the art world's most renowned institutions began trafficking in amateur YouTubevideos...

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"Heartland" Gets Some Love

Thursday, July 08, 2010

It's been an awesome year for Owen Pallett. His record Heartland has just been named one of the best of 2010 -- and it's only July.

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Fred Hersch Whirls Again

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two years ago, celebrated jazz pianist Fred Hersch was in the throes of a life-threatening, A.I.D.S.-related dementia.  He'd been living with H.I.V. since the mid-'80s, but when the virus spread to his brain, he suffered hallucinations, paranoia, and fell into a coma.

Perhaps the only ...

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BLK JKS: Too Good For Vowels

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's hard to imagine a band getting more exposure than by playing at the opening ceremony of the World Cup.  With the eyes of the world on South Africa last Thursday, the nation's own BLK JKS delivered what was arguably the best performance of the night.

At the ...

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360 Staff Pick: Emeralds

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

These days, most synthesizer music feels like some variant of techno, noise, or drone.  Refreshing, then, that Emeralds are using those same sounds to update the more lyrical electronic styles pioneered by German bands like Kraftwerk.  On the new album Does It Look Like ...
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