In the Studio: Michael Oren tapes Overheard 1/31

Please join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Ambassador Michael Oren

Date: January 31Oren
Time: 2:45pm (doors open at 2 pm)
Location: KLRU’s Studio 6A (map).
RSVP: The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP now

Michael Oren has served as Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. since 2009. In a time of rumored tension between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Oren is the middle man between lawmakers in Washington and Jerusalem. Born and raised in the U.S., Oren gives a unique perspective into the long, complicated history of the United States and one of its closest allies. Oren is also an historian and author of two New York Times bestsellers about history in the Middle East.

We hope you’ll be there for the third season of Overheard with Evan Smith, as we continue to bring you great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor.  The show features in-depth interviews with a mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and reaches PBS viewers from California to Florida.  We’d love to see you in the studio for the interview, and for a chance to join the audience Q&A after the interview.

Science Night 1/23

Nature “Attenborough’s Life Stories: Life on Camera” at 7 pm
In honor of Sir David Attenborough’s 60th anniversary on television, this three-part miniseries focuses on three fields that David Attenborough feels have been transformed most profoundly: filmmaking, science and the environment. Richly illustrated with the sequences (re-mastered in HD) that Attenborough has spent 60 years capturing, new interviews in which he revisits the content, stories and locations that were featured in his landmark series, and packed with the personal anecdotes of the BBC’s most accomplished raconteur, “Attenborough’s Life Stories” is a singular synopsis of a unique half-century plus. In “Life on Camera,” Sir David Attenborough revisits key places and events in his wildlife filmmaking career, reminisces through his old photos and reflects on memorable wildlife footage, including swimming with dolphins and catching a komodo dragon. Returning to his old haunts in Borneo, he recalls the challenges of filming on a seething pile of guano in a bat cave.

NOVA “Rise of the Drones” at 8 pm
Drones. These unmanned flying robots – some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds – do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense and kill has remained secret. But now, with unprecedented access to drone engineers (including a rare interview with the “Father of the Predator,” Abe Karem) and those who operate drones for the U.S. military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make them so powerful. Discover the cutting-edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history.

Life On Fire “Phoenix Temple” at 9 pm
Around the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua, life has struggled for thousands of years to re-emerge from the ashes. Underground, vampire and other bat species have colonized the miles of tunnels created by hot flowing magma. In the crater, parakeets and vultures have made nests on cliffs exposed to toxic gases. On the flanks of this still active mountain, the vegetation has been burnt away by lava flows leaving barren stretches that are recolonized over hundreds of years. At the foot of the volcano, fields, pastures and towns have grown over the oldest lava flows. In this harsh environment, nature struggles to conquer ash and lava before the next eruption erases its efforts … and the phoenix must rise again.

Highlights: January 20-26

KLRU Highlights

Masterpiece Classic at 7 pm Sunday presents the part two of Downton Abbey, Series III. The fate of Downton Abbey hinges on a letter from a dead man, while Edith and Sir Anthony face their own fateful moment.

Masterpiece Classic at 8 pm Sunday and 8 pm Saturday presents the part three of Downton Abbey, Series III. Two social revolutions arrive at Downton Abbey: the Irish civil war and the fight for women’s suffrage. Meanwhile, a mysterious conspiracy keeps Anna and Bates apart.

Annie Cabbot investigates the murder of a woman found out on the moor with her throat cut, while Banks is called to a murder of a young girl in the centre of town in DCI Banks at 9 pm Sunday and 9 pm Thursday.

Independent Lens at 9 pm Monday presents “Beauty is Embarrassing,” a film that chronicles the vaulted highs and the crushing lows of commercial artist Wayne White as he struggles to find peace and balance between his work and his art.

Pioneers of Television at 7 pm Tuesday profiles the primetime soap frenzy in the late 1970s with shows like “Dallas,” “Dynasty,” and “Knots Landing.”

Part three of Abolitionists: American Experience at 8 pm Tuesday examines the battle between pro-slavery and free-soil contingents rising to fever pitch with the raid on Harpers Ferry, the 1860 election, and the secession of southern states.

Frontline at 9 pm Tuesday investigates why Wall Street’s leaders have escaped prosecution following their fraudulent practices contributing to America’s financial meltdown in “The Untouchables”.

TV megahit Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal discusses the (not so) universal language of comedy on On Story Presented by the Austin Film Festival at 10 pm Tuesday.

Join Vincent Martinez – one of the most stunningly original artists in Austin – as he lives his self-proclaimed “Jazz Life” on Hardly Sound at 10:30 pm Tuesday. Then marvel at his undeniable hooks and poetic, personal lyrics as he steps into the studio as Emcee Eats.

Nature at 7 pm Wednesday presents part one of a three-part miniseries focusing on three fields that Sir David Attenborough feels have been transformed most profoundly: filmmaking, science and the environment, in “Attenborough’s Life Stories.”

NOVA at 8 pm Wednesday reveals the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful in “Rise of the Drones.”

Life on Fire at 9 pm Wednesday watches at the foot of the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua as fields, pastures and towns have grown over the oldest lava flows and nature struggles to conquer ash and lava before the next eruption erases its efforts in “Phoenix Temple.”

Diane Ravitch, one of the country’s leading thinkers about education, discusses the school system on Overheard with Evan Smith at 7 pm Thursday.

Arts in Context at 7:30pm Thursday profiles La Junta Heritage Center, the product of the late artist, writer, cowboy sage and visionary A Kelly Pruitt.

Mind of a Chef at 8 pm Thursday features over-the-top indulgence with Joe Beef chefs Federic Morin and David McMillian’s foie gras sandwich, a whiskey tasting mayhem with Chef Sean Brock at Buffalo Trace in Kentucky and the classic dish “Hot Brown” served up three ways.

The Daytripper at 8:30 pm Thursday follows Chet as he heads to Stephenville, TX to visit Dublin Bottling Works, see some barrel racing at Lone Star Arena, and polish it off with chicken fried steak.

Discover the facts and legends behind the wildflowers that captivate us every spring on Wildflowers: Seeds of History at 9 pm Thursday.

Acclaimed author and horticulturist Greg Grant transitions the winter garden to summer on Central Texas Gardener at noon Saturday. On tour, see how a new gardener replaced grass with a charming vegetable garden and flowers to attract bee pollinators.

Austin City Limits at 7 pm Saturday showcases alternative rock with punk veteran Bob Mould and young bucks Delta Spirit.

KLRU Q Saturday Night at the Movies – 1/19

KLRU-Q’s Saturday Night at the Movies presents a full-length feature film every Saturday night, plus extra content that gives the evening an exciting spin. Each film explores the work of legendary actors and actresses through many important films from their careers. Here is a peek of what this Saturday has in store:

8:00pm – No Way Out
The secretary of Defense (Gene Hackman) forces a Pentagon naval aide (Kevin Costner) to lead a manhunt for a Soviet spy during a murder cover-up. Cast: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young.

10:00pm – Rockin’ The Wall
This program presents the history of the Berlin Wall through the experiences of well-know rock musicians and those who lived behind the wall. Among the rock musicians featured are Robby Krieger (The Doors), Mark Stein and Vinny Martell (Vanilla Fudge), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot), David Paich (Toto), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), and the group Mother’s Finest who played in East Berlin just weeks before the Wall fell.

11:00pm – How The Beatles Rocked the Kremlin
This is the unknown story of how the Beatles inspired a revolution that helped to destroy the communist system. Leslie Woodhead first met the Beatles in 1962 when he worked on a film in the Liverpool Cavern Club before the world had heard of the Fab Four. Twenty-five years later, when Woodhead began to make films in the Soviet Union, he became aware of how the Beatles legend had soaked into the lives of a generation of Soviet kids — even though they were barred from playing “Back in the USSR.” Now he has been on a journey to meet the Soviet Beatles generation and to discover how the Fab Four changed their lives. Featuring a bizarre collection of Beatles tribute bands, the film tracks down the stories of how the Cold War was won with music as much as with nuclear missiles.

PBS Newshour selects UT students to cover inauguration

Instead of merely watching the Inauguration on Jan. 21, two graduate students and a senior lecturer from the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin will be running through Washington, D.C., covering the event for PBS NewsHour. The school is part of the College of Communication.

They will participate in a PBS NewsHour multimedia short course, which will take place Jan. 18-22 in Washington, D.C. The goals of the course are to give rising journalism stars an opportunity to be a part of history and collaborate with their peers from across the country, said PBS NewsHour Extra director Imani Cheers.

Second-year graduate students David Barer and Efren Salinas are among 14 student-reporters selected from a nationwide search. After being nominated by a professor, applicants were each asked to submit a cover letter, résumé, references, letter of recommendation, short biography, news clips and three story pitches.

“It was a great feeling to be selected for this short course,” Salinas said. “I’ve been working very hard since arriving at the School of Journalism, and I feel this is not only a validation of my hard work but an excellent opportunity.”

After visiting one of senior lecturer Kate Dawson’s classes in 2012, PBS’s Cheers invited Dawson to help lead the short course.

Instructors and student-reporters will arrive at the PBS NewsHour headquarters Jan. 18.

“It will be hectic,” Dawson said. “We’ll watch the show live on Friday, have a working dinner and then it’s a litany of 12- to 14-hour days.”

Barer will serve on a print team, writing stories about corporate donations and how the Obama administration plans to respond to environmental issues.

Salinas will serve on a film team led by Dawson. He will work on a video piece about the Hispanic vote, with a focus on the Dream Act and “Dreamers,” young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

To follow the multimedia short course blog, visit inaugblog.com. On Twitter, student-reporters will post under #newshouru and #inaugblog.

“Going through this boot camp will be tough but really rewarding,” Dawson said. “We’re working on some really innovative ways to tell stories, including some amazing shooting techniques. This will be like a mini multimedia course for students — a semester rolled into six days. We’ll just need some rest when it’s done!”

In the Studio: Lawrence Wright tapes Overheard 1/25

Please join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright.

DATE: January 25
TIME: 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
LOCATION: KLRU’s Studio 6A (map)
RSVP: The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP now

Lawrence Wright’s book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, will be available for purchase at the taping courtesy of Book People.

Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author. He’s written extensively about Al-Qaeda for The New Yorker and in a highly-acclaimed book. Now, Wright is eliciting threats by tackling another controversial topic: Scientology. His 8th book follows the history of the church through its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and its more famous members like John Travolta and Tom Cruise. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief will be published January 17.

We hope you’ll be there as Overheard with Evan Smith continues a third season of great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor. The show features in-depth interviews with a mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and reaches PBS viewers from California to Florida. We’d love to see you in the studio for the interview, and for a chance to join the audience Q&A after the interview. Watch past episodes and audience Q&A segments of Overheard with Evan Smith at klru.org/overheard.

Ottomans Versus Christians Thursdays on KLRU Q

The Mediterranean Sea may be a beautiful tourist destination today, but in the 16th Century it was the central arena for a mighty power struggle between Christian Europe and the formidable Muslim Ottoman Empire. It was a conflict not just for power and wealth but for cultural and religious supremacy that lasted nearly three centuries, and its outcome resonates to this day. In Ottomans Versus Christians: Battle for the Mediterranean, host Julian Davis leads us on a swashbuckling adventure to some of the most extraordinary destinations in the Mediterranean. Tune in to KLRU-Q at 8pm Thursdays throughout the month of January.

1/17 – Empire Builders
In part one, Julian Davison begins his journey in Istanbul, the gateway between East and West and former epicenter of the Eastern Christian Empire of Byzantium. He charts the rise of the Ottomans and their momentous conquest of Constantinople, which they transform into the capitol of their empire, Istanbul. Exploring the city, Julian reveals the inner workings of the Ottoman system, the secrets of its invincible army, and the intrigues and power games of its Sultans’ private world – inside the harem of the imperial Topkopi palace. Here we examine the ascendancy of perhaps the most celebrated Ottoman Sultan of them all, Sulieman the Magnificent. Tracing Sulieman’s campaign of expansion, Julian sets sail for the legendary island of Rhodes, a former stronghold of the infamous Christian Crusader Knights of St. John – the scourge of the Ottoman Empire. While on Rhodes, Julian explores the beautifully preserved old city and learns what it meant to be a Knight’s Hospitaller. He delves into the military tactics of the day and discovers how they shaped the outcome of a gruesome siege that pitted the Knights against the full might of the Ottoman military machine. To conclude the episode Davison returns to Istanbul to follow the rise of the Ottoman Navy and explore the formidable relationship forged between Sulieman and one of the most notorious Pirates that ever roamed the seas, Barbarossa. Together they would terrorize the coastlines of Southern Europe and strike fear in the hearts of Christians.

1/24 – Masters of the Mediterranean
In part two, Julian Davison travels to the site of one of the most extraordinary sieges in European history, the island of Malta. The pride of the Christian Crusader Order of the Knights of St. John, Malta stands today like a baroque jewel, but in the 16th century it was the object of desire for Ottoman Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent and he was prepared to risk all to possess it. Here, Julian enlists in a local re-enactment group and tries his hand at the weapons of the day before dissecting a siege that would become one of the Ottomans’ most shocking defeats. Davison then brings us northward to the commercial superpower of the time, the resplendent kingdom on water, Venice. Here he participates in the time honored pageant, La Sensa, a symbolic marriage between Venice and the Sea before revealing how this tiny island Republic grew into one of the richest and most formidable sea powers in the world. Discover how Venice managed a complex love/hate relationship with the Ottoman Empire that exploded into an all-out war for control of the Mediterranean involving the Pope and much of Christian Europe. Davison then heads to the former Venetian stronghold, Cyprus. Part Turkish, part Greek, Cyprus continues to be one of the most contested islands in the whole Mediterranean and the roots of its struggle can be traced to the bloody battles waged here in the 16th century. Julian begins his exploration in the Turkish occupied North where he follows the trail of the Ottoman Army’s relentless campaign for control of the island in 1571. The bloodiest and most decisive battle for Cyprus was yet to come.

1/31 – Clash of Civilizations
Part three begins in the legendary city of Famagusta on the island of Cyprus. Once the wealthiest city on earth, Famagusta was the jewel in the Venetian crown when Ottoman armies surrounded it in 1571. Julian Davison takes us on a tour of the city’s magnificent gothic cathedrals and intimidating fortress, detailing the gory battles and fabled acts of heroism that took place here during the Ottoman conquest of the city. The battle for Famagusta became famous for an act of such extraordinary cruelty, the torture and death of Venetian Commander Marc Antonio Bragadin, that it propelled Christian Europe into unified action against the Ottomans. Julian returns to Venice and its ancient ship building complex, the Arsenal, to reveal the city’s secret plan for revenge; a plan that would be put to the test in one of the bloodiest maritime conflicts in history, the legendary Battle of Lepanto. Travelling across the Adriatic Sea to the town of Lepanto, today Nafpaktos in Greece, Julian and historian Roger Crowley visit the very waters where this pivotal battle is believed to have taken place and marvel at the apocalyptic scale of a clash that would become one of the most iconic Christian victories of the era. On the final leg of his journey, Julian makes his way back to Istanbul via Crete to chronicle the slow and decadent decline of the Ottoman Empire and contemplate the legacy of a struggle so deeply embedded in our culture and history that it continues to inform the world we live in today.

Highlights: January 13-19

KLRU Highlights

Masterpiece Classic at 6 pm Sunday presents part one of Downton Abbey, Series III. The Great War is over and the long-awaited engagement of Lady Mary and Matthew is on, but all is not tranquil at Downton Abbey as wrenching social changes, romantic intrigues, and personal crises grip the majestic English country estate.

Masterpiece Classic at 8 pm Sunday and 8 pm Saturday presents the part two of Downton Abbey, Series III. The fate of Downton Abbey hinges on a letter from a dead man, while Edith and Sir Anthony face their own fateful moment.

DCI Banks and DS Annie Cabbot are called to investigate an arson attack that caused two narrow boats to go up in flames on DCI Banks at 9 pm Sunday and 9 pm Thursday.

Independent Lens at 9 pm Monday presents “Soul Food Junkies,” a film that puts the culinary tradition of soul food under the microscope to examine both its benefits and consequences.

Pioneers of Television at 7 pm Tuesday profiles the first standup comediennes to appear on television, covers television’s most enduring variety star and features interviews with contemporary actresses in “Funny Ladies.”

Part two of Abolitionists: American Experience at 8 pm Tuesday focuses on the deepening divide between the North and South, touching off a crisis that is about to careen out of control.

Frontline at 9 pm Tuesday takes a probing look at the first four years of Obama’s presidency and examines his key decisions and the experiences that will inform his second term in “Inside Obama’s Presidency.”

Take to the skies with psychedelic rock band Royal Forest as they lead Hardly Sound at 10:30 pm Tuesday on an epic adventure.

Nature at 7 pm Wednesday examines the day-to-day dramas of an extended family of koalas, seen through the eyes of the scientists studying their every move and vocalization on “Cracking The Koala Code.”

In a race against developers in the Rockies, archaeologists uncover a unique site packed with astonishingly preserved bones of mammoths, mastodons and other giant extinct beasts, opening a vivid window on the vanished world of the Ice Age on NOVA at 8 pm Wednesday.

Life on Fire at 9 pm Wednesday explores the fish escaping the Earth’s wrath to give birth to descendants that continue their pioneering journey to the heart of an active volcano in “The Surprise Salmon.”

David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist, discusses his career on Overheard with Evan Smith at 7 pm Thursday.

Arts in Context at 7:30 pm Thursday grants viewers an all-access pass to Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the U.S., to give a glimpse at horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from around the world.

Mind of a Chef at 8 pm Thursday explores deceptively simple dishes around the world with David Chang ranging from Chicken Yakitori to high-end sushi.

The Daytripper at 8:30 pm Thursday follows Chet to Bay Area Houston to visit NASA, eat a hoagie and fried shrimp, go birding on Armand Bayou, and visit the Kemah Boardwalk.

Discover how fungi, like mushrooms, slime mold, and lichens, benefit the garden on Central Texas Gardener at noon Saturda. On tour, visit a garden geared for wildlife all year long.

Jazz and pop cross on Austin City Limits at 7 pm Saturday with Norah Jones and Kat Edmonson.

Science Night 1/16

Nature “Cracking The Koala Code” at 7 pm
This program examines the day-to-day dramas of an extended family of koalas, seen through the eyes of the scientists studying their every move and vocalization. Fascinating social dynamics include territorial displays, vicious fighting and the surprising life and loves of a “traveling salesman,” a rogue male who truly plays the field. New science even “cracks the koala communication code,” providing insights into their basic language and social structure.

NOVA “Ice Age Death Trap” at 8 pm
In a race against developers in the Rockies, archaeologists uncover a unique site packed with astonishingly preserved bones of mammoths, mastodons and other giant extinct beasts, opening a vivid window on the vanished world of the Ice Age.

Life On Fire “The Surprise Salmon” at 9 pm
In Alaska, the fresh water that feeds the rivers is snowmelt from North America’s highest mountains and most active volcanoes. Time and again, they erupt and poison the rivers. Scientists have only just begun to piece together what might have happened nearly 2,000 years ago, when one race of salmon faced the death of their natal river and were forced back to the open ocean on an exceptional adventure. Navigating between the sulphurous waters, bears, sharks and eagles, the fish escaped the Earth’s wrath to give birth to descendants that continue their pioneering journey to the heart of an active volcano.