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.

We revisit one of our favorite topics on this program over the years (back when this was a four minute show called The Blue Dot Report) The Kepler Space Telescope, the world's greatest hunter of worlds beyond our solar system. With two of its four reaction wheels (gyroscope like devices used to stabilize and point the telescope) failing, Kepler was unable to continue its primary mission. But the K2 mission uses the telescopes still operating instruments to not only hunt for exoplanets but also study objects both near and far from our solar system to energetic galaxies at cosmic distances. Dave talks to two of K2's mission scientists, Ann Marie Cody (who created the cool cartoon above) and Michael Gully-Santiago as we examine what is likely Kepler's last hurrah.

Throughout his life, Paradise author Garth Nielsen has participated in Native American ceremonies and talked to traditional elders. As an adult he was adopted by an Iroquois woman. His first book was a collection of essays about what he learned, and it described his personal discovery. After this first book, Odyssey of a Spiritual Nomad, he published a second collection of stories called Petroglyphs.

Summer travel season means it is time to hit the road. This one is very long if not winding as we learn about what it would be like to travel to planets beyond our solar system! Dave visits with Eric Mamajek, Deputy Project Scientist for NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program. Dr. Mamajek gives an overview of the history of detecting planets beyond our solar system as well as the many different kinds of worlds that we have discovered in the past few decades. Then we visit with Arielle Samuelson. Arielle is a web manager who has helped pool the resources of scientists and artists to create the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Exoplanet Travel Bureau. You can see what it would be like to travel to an alien landscape with virtual reality simulations and whimsical travel posters promoting destinations light years away from our solar system. FInally, Sheryl Hosler, aka The Roving Naturalist, joins us for her report on strange lifeforms on our own planet that emit their own light in a story about bioluminescence.

Palo Cedo author Steven Callan learned a love of nature from his game warden father, and Steve himself had a 30-year career as a wildlife protection officer for the California Department of Fish and Game conducting investigations that thwarted outlaws and saved wildlife. This week join Nancy for a conversation with the author of The Game Warden's Son.

Today our guest is Nashville songwriter, Nicki Bluhm. Originally based out of San Francisco, Bluhm is perhaps best known from her band Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, which she led alongside her former husband Tim Bluhm. After the couple split in 2015, Nicki moved to Nashville for a change of pace and to process her thoughts the best way she knows how, through her songwriting. We talk with Bluhm about her latest album, To Rise You Gotta Fall.

Our nation's fleet of weather satellites are one of our greatest orbital assets. They provide the data that is fed into sophisticated computer models which are then used by forecasters to give us accurate 5 to 7 day outlooks on the weather. In November, the Joint Polar Satellite System or JPSS-1 was launched with amazing instrumental capabilities. In the image above, you can see the smoke plumes from the devastating Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in California history. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service operate the nation's weather satellites and provide their products for local forecasters, firefighters and disaster planners as well as commerce and industry. In this episode, Dave talks to Mitch Goldberg, the Program Scientist for the JPSS and an expert on all types of weather satellites. In the second half of the show, a three way discussion ensues with Joe Pica, the Director of Observations for the NWS and Rob Elvington, a television meteorologist with a deep level of understanding of how to use satellite data and imagery for his daily forecasts.

Today's guests are husband/wife authors who share an interest in nature. Ornothologist Roger Lederer co-wrote Latin for Bird Lovers with his wife, retired English professor Carol Burr. Co-authors Roger and Helen Ekins collaborated on a trail guide to the flumes and trails of Paradise.

In this episode, Dave talks to volcanologist Erik Klemmeti to get us all educated about volcanoes since two have been huge stories in the news. We talk about magmas, lavas and eruption types with the focus on Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano that has been in an intense eruptive episode since early May. Volcano Fuego in Guatamala unleashed an explosive eruption in May that killed dozens of people in a dreaded "pyroclastic flow." Volcanoes invoke primal fascination and are a testament to Earth's classification as a "living planet." California and the Pacific Northwest have volcanoes too that are classified as potentially dangerous leading to the need for the USGS California Volcano Observatory.

storeyandersonphotography.com

Today our guests are Ben Ruttenburg and Samantha Francis who make up the Chico acoustic duo, The Bidwells. Ruttenburg and Francis both have strong ties to the local theatre scene here in town and have known each other as performers since childhood, but it wasn’t until they began performing together in the local cover band Decades that a stronger friendship would develop. Shortly after Francis left the group in 2016, the two musicians began learning cover songs and writing their own originals as The Bidwells. 

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This is the second part of our tribute to Apollo astronaut Alan Bean. Alan was the fourth man to walk on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission in November of 1969 four month's after Neil Armstrong's "One small step for man..." Bean was a talented and prolific painter who was also extraordinarily kind and generous as one of NASA's legendary Apollo era astronauts. We are joined by his good friend and colleague Rusty Schweickart who was one of the first astronauts to fly the lunar module on the Apollo 9 test flight along with commander Jim McDivitt. in the spring of 1969. Then Dave talks to his friend Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on The Moon which was the basis for the Tom Hank's produced mini series on HBO, From The Earth to The Moon. Chaikin met Bean when he was a 12 year old visiting the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and later in life interviewed the astronaut extensively for his book, eventually becoming longtime friends with the astronaut. Audio highlights from the surface of the Moon and the number one pop hit from 1969 also appear on the conclusion of this special two part tribute to an American icon and hero.

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