2013 was a fairly phenomenal year for music documentaries, with such stand-outs as Twenty Feet From Stardom and A Band Called Death. Another worthy title to add to that list is Muscle Shoals, filmmaker Greg "Freddy" Camalier's portrait of the little Alabama that produced some of the biggest hits and most enduring anthems of all time. See at at The Riviera Theatre in Three Rivers through February 1st.

Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

Retired Western Michigan University professor of art Charles Stroh spent five years putting together six walking tours of Kalamazoo’s architecture. He gathered information for the tours from his year-long column with the Kalamazoo Gazette called Hidden Kalamazoo and extra credit assignments from his old classes. You can pick up Charles Stroh’s CD on Kalamazoo architecture at Petals and Postings, Bella Patina, Retro, and through Stroh himself.

Megan Yurko is small, but she's a big name in barrel racing. And the 16-year-old is on track to be crowned the world's top cowgirl barrel racer at the upcoming International Professional Rodeo Association's finals in Oklahoma City.

Just under 4-foot-10, Megan depends on her 1,200-pound filly Beea in a sport where the fastest rider around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern wins.

"The thrill of it all is awesome," Megan says.

A years-in-the-making, top-secret engineering and design project for a superaerodynamic suit to be worn by U.S. speedskaters at next month's Winter Olympics was finally unveiled Thursday.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin and sporting goods company Under Armour released photos of the suit they're calling "Mach 39." It has been kept so tightly under wraps that the sport's governing body wouldn't even allow it to be worn at the Olympic trials in Salt Lake City.

Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and though lots of the slots went to the expected titles — Gravity, American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave led the pack — there were certainly some surprises.

Tracy Barnes just secured a spot on the U.S. Olympic team heading to Sochi — but almost immediately, she decided to give it up.

She surrendered her spot to her twin, Lanny. The 31-year-old sisters compete in biathlon, the sport that combines cross-country skiing and shooting. Both competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics, and Lanny competed in 2010 as well.

Lanny fell ill during selection races in Italy this past weekend, and she finished sixth, dashing her hopes of qualifying. Only the top five make the Olympic team; Tracy qualified at fifth place.

In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.

"If we don't do it, what we're essentially doing, in my view, is dooming the spotted owl to extinction," says Lowell Diller, senior biologist for Green Diamond, a timber company.



Oscar nominations are in. They were announced this morning in Beverly Hills. And "American Hustle" and "Gravity" are the early front-runners. Each of them got 10 Academy Award nominations, including best picture. "12 Years a Slave" was close behind with nine nominations. For more, we're joined now by Linda Holmes, who writes and edits NPR's entertainment and pop culture blog Monkey See. Good morning.

LINDA HOLMES, BYLINE: Good morning to you.

Fox News CEO and President Roger Ailes has succeeded in turning a television news network into an unprecedented force. Fox News is the most dominant media organization in America, generating more than a billion dollars in profit and earning the highest ratings of any cable news network.

Gabriel Sherman writes about Ailes' success with Fox News in his new book, The Loudest Voice In The Room: How The Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — And Divided A Country.

"There goes the neighborhood." Every so often that cry goes up in San Francisco, announcing a new chapter in American cultural history, as the rest of the country looks on. There were the beats in North Beach, then the hippies in the Haight, then the gays in the Castro. Now it's the turn of the techies who are pouring into my own Mission neighborhood, among other places. Only this time around, the green stuff that's perfuming the air is money, not weed.

Gubernatorial candidate calls for investment in public education and increase in minimum wage

Cody Piechocki was an assistant coach for Battle Creek Bombers in Northwoods League last summer

Strain of influenza has not been identified.

The Oscar nominations are in! "American Hustle," "Gravity," and "12 Years a Slave" scored big. But did anything really surprise critics? Host Michel Martin speaks with actor and producer Rick Najera about the nods.

Paul Lo spent part of his childhood in a refugee camp in Thailand. Now he has been appointed as a judge on the Merced County Superior Court in California. That reportedly makes him the first Hmong-American judge in U.S. history. Host Michel Martin speaks with Lo about his unusual path to the bench.

Listener Celebrates 'Cheesepocalypse'

Jan 16, 2014

Host Michel Martin and Editor Ammad Omar crack open the listener inbox. This week, they take on the backlash from a conversation about the Velveeta cheese shortage.

More than 400 cases of flu have been reported in Kent County and at least 26 people have been hospitalized

Vice President says federal government will work to help Detroit, but no bailout is coming

Snyder met privately with lawmakers on Wednesday to pitch idea

Diversity Policy

WMUK is committed to ensuring that its workforce and Friends Advisory Committee reflect the diversity found in the communities it serves.   Central to WMUK’s mission, vision and values is maintaining a governing and workplace environment which recognizes and celebrates the power of diversity. WMUK strives to create and foster a supportive environment in which all individuals can be successful and reach their full potential within the organization.

WMUK seeks a diverse workforce and governing body through distinct personalities and capabilities of each individual within the group. On a personal level, the diversity of an individual is defined by their cultural and personal differences, as well as life and professional experiences.

Democratic State Senator Gretchen Whitmer and former Republican lawmakers Joe Schwarz and Shirley Johnson quoted in article

Decision necessary because Air National Guard fire department is closing

Governor not expected to repeat calls for no-reason absentee voting or online voter registration

Broncos host Toledo on Saturday

Jackie Hampton announced Wednesday that January 31st will be his last day on the job

Like other animals and many living things, we humans grow when we're young and then stop growing once we mature. But trees, it turns out, are an exception to this general rule. In fact, scientists have discovered that trees grow faster the older they get.

Once trees reach a certain height, they do stop getting taller. So many foresters figured that tree growth — and girth — also slowed with age.

With website names like Eat With, Side Tour, VoulezVousDiner and Feastly, a new food trend that is sweeping New York and other cities allows diners to enjoy fine meals inside someone else's home.

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, it's not all hybrids and battery-powered cars. Some car companies are making significant investments in a fuel that's not new at all — diesel.

The newest diesel engines are far cleaner than their predecessors, and they get many more miles per gallon. The question is, what's holding customers back from switching gas pumps?

When you look around the auto show, there's a lot of energy and there's a lot of money being spent again. The one topic that keeps coming up, of course, is fuel economy.

The documentary Blackfish made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival when it premiered last January, and got more attention when it was released in theaters over the summer. But it didn't reach its largest audience until October, when millions watched it on CNN.

It's a powerful documentary that focuses on Tilikum, the male orca who pulled trainer Dawn Brancheau into the water and killed her at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010. In telling the story, Blackfish relies heavily on interviews with former SeaWorld trainers like Samantha Berg.



So that's one question. And here's another that we're sure has been bothering many of you for years. What happens when you give a bird a guitar? Well, you'll get your answer at a new exhibition opening Saturday at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. It's called "From Here to Ear."


Picture this: One room, 70 zebra finches, 14 tuned and amplified guitars, no fingers.