Live Wire, Portland’s groundbreaking live public radio show will celebrate 20 years with The Live Wire 20th Anniversary Festival on March 16, 2024 from 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Portland’s Revolution Hall. The day-long event will feature riveting and unexpected voices from Portland and beyond, heralding the variety show’s roots and creative evolution while seeding funding for the next twenty years.
Live Wire first appeared on the Portland culture scene in 2004 as a variety show, conceptualized by its founders Robyn Tenenbaum and Kate Sokoloff as “variety for the ears, vaudeville for the mind”. With no background in live radio production, the two women gathered 175 friends and family at the Hollywood Theater, enticed by free beer. A year later, Live Wire caught the attention of Oregon Public Broadcasting where it was soon broadcast live every weekend to thousands of OPB listeners. In its 20 years, Live Wire has produced over 500 live recordings broadcast nationwide on over 200 radio stations, with a weekly listening audience of over 300,000. The show routinely travels the country, and has entertained audiences in dozens of cities across the U.S. In 2015, Live Wire added a podcast version of the show, which today boasts a weekly download rate of 35,000.
“This is an opportunity to reflect on not only our past, but also build momentum as we enter our next creative chapter as one of Portland’s most unique cultural offerings,” says Live Wire’s executive director Heather de Michele. “The show has evolved tremendously in the last twenty years, but the heart has stayed the same: bring creative talent from around the country to Portland as well as share a bit of our beloved city with the rest of the world. But most importantly, infuse joy into the lives of our audiences.”
Since its inception, the show has featured talks and performances by hundreds of wildly unique local poets, authors, comedians, musicians, and creators of all kinds, including Salman Rushdie, Pink Martini, Marc Maron, Phoebe Robinson, Reggie Watts, Mo Rocca, Aubrey Gordon, George Saunders, W. Kamau Bell, Lindy West, Ani DiFranco, Nick Offerman, Thundercat, Samantha Irby, Aasif Mandvi, and Cheryl Strayed.
The Live Wire Anniversary Event will include the same joy, discovery, and connection its audiences have cherished throughout the decades, featuring live music, storytelling, sketch comedy, and unparalleled interviews by hosts Luke Burbank, Courtenay Haimeister, and Elena Passarello. Special guests will be announced on Wednesday, January 3rd, when Live Wire Members will receive pre-sale access and special pricing. Tickets will go on sale to the general public via www.livewireradio.org on Wednesday, January 10th, and include a wide range of ticket options, from $25 individual events to all-inclusive VIP passes.