Nolan Ford

Music Director, Producer, Midday Host

Nolan Ford is the Music Director for North State Public Radio. After graduating with a Media Arts degree from Chico State University in 2004, he accepted a part-time position with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. The job's flexible scheduling presented Nolan with the opportunity to travel and perform music all across the West Coast with his first rock band, the secret stolen. A love of the arts bloomed into an obsession. Following five glorious years with SNBC, Nolan returned to CSUC and received a mathematics teaching credential in 2009. After several years of teaching middle and high school math, he accepted a position as Managing Editor for Chico arts/entertainment weekly, The SynthesisCurrently, Nolan can be heard on-air as the local midday host for NSPR, and also produces several programs for the station including Blue Dot, Nancy's Bookshelf, and Songs From Studio C. In his spare time, Nolan continues to travel and perform with various musical projects.

Dave talks to Emer Reynolds, the director of the new documentary The Farthest, which aired on PBS Nova this summer. It tells the epic story of the twin Voyager spacecraft.

Launched in 1977, the Voyagers were the designed to tour the outer solar system thanks to an alignment that happens once in every 175 years. Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter and Saturn and then was flung into the outer solar system above the plane of the planets becoming the fastest object ever made by humans. In 2012, it entered interstellar space becoming, literally, the farthest.

Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune before also heading out toward the stars. Both carry the famous Golden Record, containing music, greetings and images — a time capsule of life on Earth sent to the stars. The records and the spacecraft will last a billion years, far outlasting any other human artifact. In the film, Reynolds interviews nearly every surviving member of the teams that engineered the missions, did the science and made the record.

Today our guest is Portland folk-rock songwriter Elizabeth Fagan, or as she’s known on stage, Lili St. Anne. Fagan has always been into music, but the idea of creating it herself was intimidating. It wasn’t until she was 20 years old and living alone in France that she began to obsessively write her own songs. The drama school she was attending at the time was highly competitive and exhausting. By the time she graduated, all she wanted to do was write and perform music. Several years and a couple of different bands later, Fagan is on the verge of releasing her debut album as Lili St. Anne.

Most Californians know little of California's experience during the Civil War. Author Richard Hurley delved into the home front activities during the nation's bloodiest war, and chronicles the adventures of the brave men who fought far from home. This week join Nancy for a conversation with the author of California and the Civil War.

Dave interviews Rob Wesson, author of Darwin's First Theory. In it, the USGS Scientist Emeritus follows in Darwin's footsteps from England and Scotland to the Voyage of the Beagle around the world. Darwin is of course famous for his theory of evolution by natural selection, but he was actually hired on to be a geologist for HMS Beagle English gentleman to keep Captain Robert Fitzroy company. Darwin's observations of the geologic landscapes of South America in particular, especially his documenting of the 1835 earthquake there, lead him to a theory of uplift and subsidence that is tantalizingly close to our modern theory of plate tectonics. Wesson traveled in Darwin's footsteps and immersed himself in the experience while simultaneously looking for evidence of past earthquakes and tsunamis. He recounts Darwin's brilliance as an observer of the natural landscape and discusses the tragedy of the Chilean earthquake and tsunami of 2010 along with some amazing observations confirming what Fitzroy and Darwin observed nearly two centuries before.

Dan Corbin grew up in a peach orchard near Yuba City to become a successful studio artist. He tells his story in a memoir, Kiss of the Art Gods. This week join Nancy for a conversation with this local author and sculptor.

We welcome Kate Fullam from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. She talks to Steven Jaret about his experience learning the fine art of communicating science at the Alda Center and then Dave has a conversation with Steven about his life as a planetary scientist and his interest in impact geology. Kate will be joining us on a regular basis as we interview folks who have gone through the Alda Center's training. One of these episodes, who knows, maybe Mr. Alda himself will pop by. Stay tuned!

Today our guest is San Francisco pysch-pop songwriter, Luke Sweeney. Originally hailing from Redding, Sweeney’s earliest memories of music were from a Beach Boys show here in Chico when he was a kid. As a teenager he started playing guitar and writing his own music, and after several years as part of the Bay Area trio Vows, he set off to begin releasing albums under his own name.  Luke Sweeney’s third full-length album is expected to be released early next year.

Local author Brian T. Marshall has written a mystery novel entitled Fleet. Nancy Leek writes about local history for children and adults, including her book, John and Annie Bidwell: The Long and Short of It. This week join Nancy for a conversation with two authors whose books are illustrated by artist Steve Ferchaud.

On this episode of Blue Dot, Dave talks to Sarah Scoles, author of Making Contact: Jill Tarter and The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Jill is a pivotal and inspirational leader for women in scientific careers as well as being a pioneering leader for SETI. Her career and personal life served as one of the major influences for the character of Ellie Arroway, played by Jodie Foster in the 1997 scifi epic Contact based on the novel by the late Carl Sagan.

With the start of a new school year, Redding occupational therapist and physical therapist Suzanne Cresswell offers strategies to help students find the "ability" in learning disability. This week join Nancy for a conversation with the author of Unique Learner Solutions.