eTown and eTown Hall Press Coverage
May 15, 2013
Radio’s eTown Preaches Music, Ideas to the World From Boulder
January 2013 / John Wenzel / The Denver Post
Boulder’s eTown Hall has seen a lot of action lately — especially for a venue that’s not even officially finished. The 89-year-old former church, which is undergoing a $5 million renovation, is the new home of eTown, the liberal-minded music-and-conversation radio show that reaches more than 300 stations and an estimated 1 million listeners each week. It’s the dream of Nick and Helen Forster, the co-founders of the 21-year-old nonprofit show, who also host and play music on each hour-long episode. “They’re uniquely Boulder, and they have a huge impact for us in that we’re advertised on hundreds of radio stations nationally,” said Liz Hanson, Boulder’s economic vitality coordinator. “We’ve heard reports that people visit Boulder just to hear where eTown is taped.”
And it’s not just about Boulder, as the Forsters are quick to remind listeners. Their multimedia blueprint for eTown includes greatly expanding their online and podcast audiences. In addition to taping and producing their weekly radio show and 126,000-subscriber podcast, they want their budding recording studio — housed in the church’s converted former gymnasium — to become a pop-in destination for top touring artists like Phish and Ben Harper.
Technology: eTown Hall / eTown Brings Music to the Masses with Help from SC48 Remote
When it comes to eTown Hall in Boulder, CO, what you see is literally a small percentage of what you get. After all, the beautifully designed and appointed venue is merely the physical plant embodiment for a movement that provides its rabid fans with a blend of inspiring musical performances and socially conscious messages. The new venue, which is currently undergoing funding to complete the last phase of construction, is where the magic that is eTown happens. The solar powered music and media center is home to a performance space, recording/editing suites, full recording studio, and a cafe.
Sam Berkow at SIA Acoustics serves as the facility’s acoustical, technical, and sound systems designer. As a longtime fan of eTown, he knew that the space had to sound perfect.That’s why Berkow and team chose the Avid SC48 Remote System to serve as the hall’s backbone. “That choice was a no-brainer,” he says. “It’s a great sounding console that provides tremendous flexibility, has a small footprint at front of house, has recall ability, plug-in capability, and it has an amazing array of ways in which it helps you to pull extra mixes right to Pro Tools.”
eTown Hall Proudly Opens Doors To Music Lovers
October 2012/ Ashley Dean / Daily Camera
The building on Spruce and 16th Streets still has vestiges of its former purpose. Wooden pews provide seating down along the sides of the high-ceiling room, and a large stained-glass window sits high on the back wall.What was once a house of God is now a house of music .Lights go down, and a staff member checks the sound levels of audience applause. Helen Forster introduces the night’s eTown show over Nick Forster’s guitar. When she’s done, her husband takes his turn to welcome the crowd and future radio listeners to “our musical town hall meeting.”
As a music venue, eTown Hall is poised to fill a gap in the Boulder music scene. The city has long been lacking midsize spaces for bands too big for the bars and coffee shops but not popular enough to sell the Fox or Boulder theaters.When eTown organizers set out to build the concert hall and recording studio, they brought in the best resources they could find. The acoustical engineering was done by Sam Berkow, who worked on Lincoln Center, the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, the Hollywood Bowl and “The Tonight Show” studios. Lighting designer Wendy Cooney worked on the Guggenheim Museum. The state and city helped eTown go green with its 236 rooftop solar panels.
State of the State: Media / eTown Hall Primed To Help the Radio Show Expand its Global Reach While Increasing its Community Ties
September 2012 / Mike Cote / Colorado Biz Magazine
Nick Forster stands atop the roof of the new eTown Hall on a sunny afternoon in downtown Boulder, showing off the nearly 300 solar panels that will help provide power to the 200-seat performance hall, meeting rooms, recording studio and other spaces at the 16th and Spruce building. While “eTown” is best known for the hundreds of musicians who have appeared on the syndicated radio show over the past 21 years, the promotion of environmentalism and social causes by Forster and his wife and co-host, Helen, has always been a big part of the message.
Converting an old church building as its headquarters enables eTown to both embrace a more global future while improving its ties to the immediate community, the Forsters say.”The media landscape and technology have changed so much. The idea that eTown can build another 21 years simply on radio impractical,” says Nick Forster, a veteran musician best known for his work with Boulder bluegrass quarter Hot Rize. “What eTown Hall gives us is the opportunity to capture great content in audio and video format any time we want in a variety of different spaces – the recording studio, the community space or up in the main hall. And then we can disseminate it on YouTube or on a website or using radio and conventional television stations.”
Installations: eTown Hall / SIA Acoustics Helps Shape the Sound in eTown’s New Performing Arts Facility
July 2012 / Sam Berkow / Front Of House Magazine
It starts with a phone call… or an email. “I want to build a studio or a sound stage or even a concert hall.” Usually, it’s the owner, just starting out and wondering how to move forward. Sometimes, it’s an architect or even a construction manager, hired on and wondering how to turn a mostly amorphous vision for a facility into drawings and either a new building or a renovation of an existing space. Some discussion of the project’s program, what the facility’s intended to do, and its space requirements, budget and goals — both operational and initial capital needs, as well as potential cash flow — will quickly reveal how realistic (or unrealistic) the concept is. These calls come often. Sometimes there is a second or even third call. Some of these turn into real projects. It’s all part of the life of an acoustical consulting firm.
Almost five years ago, Nick Forster called my company, SIA Acoustics, sharing the vision that he and his wife Helen had to convert a 17,000 square-foot former church in the middle of downtown Boulder, CO into eTown Hall. Housing eTown, the nonprofit organization behind eTown, the public radio program that has aired since 1991, the facility would include a performance space for the show’s live performances, master classes and interviews. It would also provide a community gathering space while housing the eTown offices and a serious recording facility with a suite of post-production rooms. Clearly, this was a vision they had been developing for some time.
Second Act / Boulder’s Iconic Old-Timey Radio Show Finally Gets Its Long Awaited Home
July 2012 / Luc Hatlestad / 5280 Magazine
For 21 years, Forster and his wife, Helen, have headed up eTown, an internationally syndicated radio show based in Boulder. And for almost that long, Forster had his eye on an old church at 16th and Spruce streets. He envisioned it as an all-in-one performance space: the ideal blend of near-perfect acoustics, a first-rate recording studio, and a coffee bar that would serve as a local gathering spot.
10 Questions with Liz Forster @ eTown
April 20, 2012 / Roderik Nelson Saleh Alvarado / Boulder2140.com
Broadcasting social responsibility and environmental sustainability has never sounded so good. And the best is yet to come; Liz Forster has been committed to eTown for more than 21 years. She has recently taken her interest to the next level and will be graduating this summer in Non-Profit studies from Metropolitan State College of Denver to further develop and grow radio eTown.
What’s eTown up to when you’re not recording or on-air?
Lots, it takes hard work to keep things running! We do fundraising, marketing, sponsorship, bookings, vetting E-Chievement award nominees, and community outreach. We do all that, and more, with just a small team of 9 persons on staff and a handful of incredible volunteers.What’s
Creating A Third Place
January 1, 2012 / Brad Weismann / Boulder Magazine
For Nick and Helen Forster, a dream 20 years in the making is coming true. For Boulder, a brand-new cultural center is almost a reality. The Forsters (Nick is best known as a founding member of the influential bluegrass group Hot Rize) founded and have helmed the award-winning, nationally syndicated music/environmental issues radio show eTown in Boulder for two decades. The show has lacked only one thing—a home of its own. “It’s going to give the community something it’s never had before,” says Nick Forster from the offices he and Helen and their staff already occupy in the building-in-progress at the corner of 16th and Spruce streets. “It’s going to give the town a listening room.”
(Click image above for full article, or read online, here)
Construction on eTown Hall nearing completion
November 9, 2011 / Ashley Dean / Colorado Daily
Back in April, Boulder’s eTown radio program announced that it received a grant from the Fort Collins-based organization, the Bohemian Foundation. The “challenge grant” meant the foundation would match any donations made to the development of eTown Hall, a new venue, recording studio and community space that would cost $5.5 million.
It’s been about six months, and construction of the new space is well underway in an old church at the corner of 16th and Spruce Streets. The bulk of the remaining work is in the venue space — eTown is already moved in and doing post-production, editing and administrative work from the new offices.
“What’s interesting about this project is that eTown, after 20 years of being a radio show, is positioning itself so that it can continue to be relevant…and nimble in capturing and distributing content in any format,” said eTown host and founder Nick Forster. In all, the new space will include a 200-seat live music venue, a recording studio, audio and video editing studios, a coffee shop and eTown’s offices.
As part of eTown’s effort to make eTown Hall as green as possible, they’ve also installed close to 300 solar panels on the roof, some of which are already helping to power the building. They’ve also set up a program in which supporters can adopt one of those panels, and received updates on what kind of power it’s generating.
“It’s kind of a cool concept,” Forster said. “People want to support eTown Hall, they want to be a part of it ,and this gives people an actual, tangible way to participate.”
Quite an E-Chievement
Hospitality House co-founder earns honor on national radio show
October 27, 2011 / The Union (Nevada City, CA)
One of the co-founders of Nevada County’s Hospitality House has been named the winner of the “E-Chievement Award” by a national radio series. Boulder, Colo-based eTown, a live music and talk series heard on 300 radio stations, has chosen Joanna Robinson for the honors, which the show says go to “remarkable individuals who are working hard to make a positive difference in their communities and beyond.”
(click image above for full article)
How did the idea for eTown begin?
I was on tour with Sam Bush in Eastern Europe in 1990 and was blown away by the power of music in bringing people together — even people who didn’t get along, as was often the case back then just after the “wall” came down. I was also amazed to see the environmental degradation in that part of the world, something that happens in China and Russia and virtually anywhere where government and industry are the same (coming soon to a neighborhood near you!). (full article)
Music as Glue
As eTown enters its 20th year, its founders talk about what makes the program stick
August 11, 2011 / Corey O’Brien / Boulder Weekly
If the goal of music truly is to bring people together, then eTown may be the ideal music program. A combination of live performances and artist interviews (as well as a few other goodies thrown in along the way), eTown has been breaking down walls between artists and audiences for 20 years now. Through eTown, we learned that Neko Case has a killer sense of humor, that Charlie Louvin “isn’t a tree-hugger” and that Steve Earle loves his First Amendment (OK, so we probably already knew that one). In a world where everything needs to fit into a pre-determined format, eTown allows artists to talk openly about their music, their childhoods, their politics or anything else that they feel like sharing, and then actually play their music. This isn’t AM or FM radio — it’s eTown. And while AM and FM radio are losing ground to new media, eTown is quietly humming along, connecting a million listeners to their favorite artists every week.
INSIGHT - eTown Hall: A Mutt Makeover
July 31, 2011 / Clay Evans / Daily Camera
…Construction is well under way at the site and the nonprofit has raised some $4 million from “outside Boulder County” for the project, including some big grants. Now, say Forster and his wife Helen, they are looking to eTown’s home base to raise the final $1.5 million of the campaign.
eTown is 20 years old this week, and is — or should be — a true Boulder institution. Many people know and love the show, but don’t realize that the nonprofit also promotes community development through its ongoing support for other organizations, including winners of its E-Chievement Award.
(click thumbnail below for full article)
Icons: eTown – ‘To Educate, Entertain and Inspire’
August, 2011 / Carol Maskus / Boulder County Business Report
(click thumbnail above for full article)
Radio Show Honors The Food Project
The Food Project, started in Ashland and now thriving in Medford, Talent and a number of other cities, will be presented with the E-Chievement Award on Friday at the Britt Festival during a live taping of the popular, nationally-syndicated public radio show eTown.
Despite Sluggish Economy, Colo. Bluegrass Festivals Thrive
July 18, 2011 / Michelle Mercer / NPR’s All Things Considered
(eTown host Nick Forster is interviewed regarding his role in the influential bluegrass group – Hot Rize)
While a number of music festivals are struggling in a down economy, Colorado has three bluegrass festivals that are selling out. And one small mountain town there is becoming the Nashville of the Rockies.
eTown radio show airs in Los Angeles
July 15, 2011 / Beth Potter / Boulder County Business Report
BOULDER – Nationally syndicated radio show eTown will start airing weekly on KCSN radio station in Los Angeles starting this Sunday.The nonprofit radio program in Boulder does not charge stations for its shows, said Zack Littlefield, a spokesman. Instead local and national sponsors such as Celestial Seasonings Inc., Rudi’s Organic Bakery and Silk soymilk have signed on because of the show’s advertising clout – about 1 million listeners per week on about 300 radio stations around the country, he said.
“It’s very unique,” Littlefield said of the nonprofit group’s fundraising strategy. “We could charge money for the show, and it would help us in our fundraising. For us, it’s more about the values and the ideas we promote.” (full article)
July, 2011 / Brian F. Johnson / Marquee Magazine
I don’t often use this space to champion causes, but I saw something last week that blew my mind and it would be a disservice to not share it.
eTown, the nationally syndicated radio show that calls Boulder home, is well under way on a complete renovation of the former church at 16th and Spruce streets in Boulder. The project has been 20 years in the making, as the radio show grew its tenure on the air and while eTown host Nick Forster found a way to make the whole idea come together. At one point, Forster even had himself ordained as a minister so that, if he had to, they could run eTown like a church, to avoid zoning regulations that originally forbade any other uses on the site.
With those hurdles now behind the organization, Forster is focusing on the reconstruction project, which has already wrapped up phase one (offices) and is now fully entrenched in phase two, which will include construction of a new 200 seat venue, completely wired for recording audio and video, a full recording studio with isolation rooms, and other mixing and editing rooms for the radio show.
The small theater size, Forster said, will allow eTown to host artists who weren’t quite big enough for their shows at the Boulder Theater, and it will also allow them to host some big national artists in an intimate setting, without interfering with those artists’ bigger shows at Red Rocks and the like.
The concept of the entire facility is as much community center as it is a home for eTown, and Forster said that the building truly is being built by musicians for musicians. Every part of the building’s design has been monitored and analyzed by an acoustics engineer and tremendous attention is being paid to isolate all building sounds (plumbing, ducting, etc.) from the main hall and the studios. (full article)
(Cover of the May 2, 2011 Local section of Boulder’s Daily Camera)
(online video coverage from Boulder’s Daily Camera on May 2, 2011)
eTown secures $500,000 challenge grant
April 21, 2011 / Beth Potter / Boulder County Business Report
With a new $500,000 challenge grant from the Bohemian Foundation, the new, 200-seat ETown Hall could be open by late fall, founder Nick Forster said.
Boulder’s local nonprofit eTown radio program is in the middle of a campaign to raise $5.5 million for the project. The money is being used to remodel the former church at the northwest corner of 1535 Spruce St. into the performance space. The Fort Collins-based Bohemian Foundation has pledged to match $500,000 worth of future donations to the project. (full article)
Backer appears for ‘etown’ project
April 21, 2011 / Denver Business Journal
The Bohemian Foundation in Fort Collins is pledging to match as much as $500,000 in future donations to help Boulder’s popular “etown” radio program with its performance space. (full article)
Fort Collins group pledges matching funds for etown
April 21, 2011 / Alicia Wallace / Loveland Reporter Herald
If the challenge grant is applied in full and “etown” raises $1 million, the local radio program would be more than 85 percent of the way toward its $5.5 million goal for Etown Hall, said Nick Forster, “etown’s” founder.
“Etown” has raised $3.8 million to date, Forster said.
“But frankly, most of that has come from outside Boulder County,” he said, noting about 10 percent of funds raised have come from local individuals and organizations. “This is really the first time we’re asking the Boulder community to help support the campaign.” (full article)
Bohemian pledges $500,000 to eTown
April 20, 2011 / Pat Ferrier / Fort Collins Coloradoan
The Bohemian Foundation on Wednesday announced a $500,000 matching grant to help eTown — the Boulder-based nonprofit syndicated radio show that preaches music, sustainability and social responsibility —complete renovations on a new home. The Fort Collins-based Bohemian Foundation pledged to double every contribution to eTown, up to $500,000. (full article)
Boulder’s ‘etown’ receives grant for music hall – Fort Collins group intends to match up to $500K in future contributions
April 20, 2011 / Alicia Wallace / Daily Camera
Boulder’s “etown” radio program — which is in the throes of a $5.5 million capital campaign for a downtown music hall — on Wednesday announced a Fort Collins organization has pledged to match up to $500,000 in future donations received by the local nonprofit.
“Etown” secured a “challenge grant” from the Bohemian Foundation in support of the Etown Hall, a concert hall, studio and office property in development off 16th and Pearl streets in Boulder. The Bohemian Foundation, a family organization focused on improving community and music, serves as an underwriter of “etown’s” E-Achievement Awards.
If the challenge grant is applied in full and “etown” raises $1 million, the local radio program would be more than 85 percent of the way toward its $5.5 million goal for Etown Hall, said Nick Forster, “etown’s” founder. (full article)
From Telluride to the [national] airwaves – Former local Helen Forster brings etown message to radio listeners
December 17, 2010 / Kathrine Warren / Telluride Daily Planet
From the foothills of the rocky mountains, it’s etown.” If you’ve tuned into KOTO on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. you’ve heard that familiar introduction from Helen Forster as she kicks off the nationally syndicated radio show, etown. Or if you’ve lived here long enough, that voice may be familiar because Forster is a former resident of the box canyon.
In 1973 she moved to Telluride after college, seeking an alternative lifestyle, and certainly found it. She wore many hats during her 14 years here, but her main role has always been that of a performer. She worked at the post office, ran Whispering Eagle Trading Company, performed with the SRO Theater Troupe and Plunge Players and even was a co-owner and co-producer of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in its early days.
“It was starting up and I was one of the people to organize it, invest in it and get involved,” she said.
After eight years with the festival, she resigned and finally had time to enjoy the music. She saw the band Hot Rize perform, and the rest is, shall we say, history.
Twenty-three years later, and today she is married to Nick Forster of Hot Rize, and together they co-host and co-produce etown, with a mission to educate, entertain and inspire audiences to create a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable world with conversation and music.
Etown broadcasts across the nation on public, commercial and community radio stations. It has become a radio staple in the ranks of a Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage. The show’s format features live performances from such artists as Lyle Lovett, Taj Mahal, Mumford & Sons, Michael Franti, Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, woven with conversation and Forster’s baby, the E-Chievement Award. The award honors people who make a difference in their communities, whether it be river clean up, aid to the homeless, environmental activism or work in other social causes.
“We use the music as the hook to bring people in,” she said, but then they try to create a sense of connectedness and empowerment to their listeners.
Their house band, the etones, back up some musicians and then both Nick and Helen jump in on performances and collaborations with their guests. The show is recorded live from the Boulder Theater, but the etown non-profit recently purchased an old church, which is undergoing a makeover to become the new eTown Hall. The new digs will eventually be a community center for regional musicians and non-profits. The old worship room will soon become a state of the art listening room that will accommodate 200-250 for etown recordings.
A downstairs community room will be available to all sorts of organizations. The renovations have been as sustainable as possible, salvaging or recycling material and using environmentally friendly building practices.
The goal is to make it a “comfortable place where you can come and not have it be a bar,” she said.
eTown Hall is still under construction and if all goes accordingly — with fundraising efforts — it’ll be open in its full function by late 2011.
“[etown] required and deserved a permanent home,” Forster said. “Eventually, down the line when Nick and I retire, it’ll be able to go on and keep that message of get informed, get inspired and get involved out there.”
To find out more about etown, nominate someone for the e-cheivement award or to hear podcasts of the show, visit www.etown.org.
December 9, 2010 / Dawne Belloise / Mountain Gazette
In the spirit of tenacious mountain folk living in the newcomer pioneer days of Telluride’s wild 1970s era, innovation was as essential as duct tape. Helen Forster was one of a handful whose vision and talent helped to create the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and shape the town’s embryonic radio station and community theatre. Today, she, along with her hubby Nick Forster, of Hot Rize fame, brings that can-do experience and attitude to eTown, an enviro- social awareness radio program broadcast to over one million listeners from downtown Boulder. (full article)
Nick and Helen Forster’s united church of eTown – After a long effort, the radio show’s mix of mission and music will move to a new space
May 23, 2010 / John Wenzel / Denver Post
Nick and Helen Forster are preachers of a sort, so it only makes sense that their new home is a church. The couple founded eTown, a Boulder nonprofit radio show, 19 years ago to push their vision of music, community and positive social change to the masses — a perfectly Boulderesque notion if ever there was one. Over those years, they’ve welcomed everyone from Emmylou Harris, James Taylor and Ben Harper to Al Gore and Jane Goodall to their shows, building a congregation of nearly 300 public and commercial radio stations that weekly broadcast their music-and-conversation programs to thousands around the world. (full article)
News: eTown receives $2 million loan to begin “construction” on eTown Hall
February 19, 2010 / John Wenzel / Reverb
Get ready for some welcome construction dust up in your area, Boulder. Your favorite locally-based public radio program, eTown, announced yesterday that it will get a $2 million loan from Public Radio Capital to renovate its new home, to be called eTown Hall. The building, a former church near 16th and Spruce streets in downtown Boulder, will house the nonprofit radio program’s performance spaces, recording studios, offices and more.
Boulder’s ‘etown’ receives $2M for hall
February 18, 2011 / Alicia Wallace / Colorado Daily
Boulder-based radio program “etown” plans to start construction for its new offices and its Etown Hall after receiving a $2 million loan from a public radio-focused nonprofit, officials announced Thursday. Public Radio Capital, a Boulder-based organization that has completed more than $220 million in transactions, provided the $2 million loan through its Public Radio Fund. (full article)
At home in Boulder with “etown” founders Nick and Helen Forster – Their 1904 place restored, musical couple converting church into a studio
November 8, 2009 / Maria Cote / Denver Post
If you don’t recognize their names, a quick tour of Nick and Helen Forster’s house reveals their passion. A Bösendorfer 7-foot grand piano dominates the music room to the right of the entrance. A bass rests near the wall in the breakfast nook. Shelves in the couple’s finished basement are stacked with dozens of guitars and the occasional oddball string instrument like a mandocello. Step through the doors of this classic Victorian beauty in Boulder and you’ll meet the Forsters, who started the radio show “etown” nearly 20 years ago. (full article)