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Airwaves, a listener publication from Colorado Public Radio.


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CPR marked a number of significant developments in 2011, including the launch of our newest station, OpenAir. To celebrate the conclusion of such an eventful year, OpenAir staff members are taking a look back and exploring the best music released in 2011.

“2011 was an unbeatable year for music, filled with impressive debuts, surprising collaborations and some awesome releases from both established bands and local artists,” said Jessi Whitten, OpenAir music director. “It was a great year to launch OpenAir, especially given that so many exciting things happened in the Colorado music community and on the national music scene.”

Be sure to check out the 100 best albums of 2011, which were all carefully selected by the OpenAir staff. Listen to the countdown on 1340 AM, or online at starting at 7 a.m. on Jan. 16. Here’s a preview of what topped the list:

  1. Fleet Foxes, "Helplessness Blues"

  2. Radiohead, "The King of Limbs"

  3. Tennis, "Cape Dory"

  4. Feist, "Metals"

  5. Devotchka, "100 Lovers"

  6. Bon Iver, "Bon Iver"

  7. M83, "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming"

  8. Ian Cooke, "Fortitude"

  9. Florence + The Machine, "Ceremonials"

  10. Wilco, "The Whole Love"

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In an average week, hundreds of listeners contact CPR with comments and questions, but it’s not every day that a listener writes to say CPR inspired a fifth-grade science fair project.

“I listen to ‘Colorado Matters’ every day when my mom drives me to school,” wrote 10-year-old Owen Sortwell. “I’ve been tardy at least two times because I wouldn’t leave the car until the story was done. I really like Ryan Warner—he asks good questions."

Owen sent an email saying the story he heard about natural water pollution in Colorado gave him a great idea for his science fair project. Owen requested more information on the subject and was thrilled when host Ryan Warner wrote back to say he’d forwarded Owen’s email to the man interviewed during the story, hydrogeologist Matt Sares.

“This just goes to show that you never know who’s listening or how they will be impacted by what they hear,” said Ryan. “As reporters, a lot of our time is spent behind the scenes in a soundproof studio, so it’s nice to hear from listeners who say CPR’s stories have made an impression. It shows the ripple effect that our work can have.”

Owen also sent in a comment about the Iraq War. Listen to the feature “Soldiers Making Movies" to hear what he had to say.

If you’re inspired by something you heard on CPR, tell us about it on Facebook and Twitter, or submit a comment online.

Photo: Owen Sortwell shows his science fair project experiment, "When the Environment Strikes First!"

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CPR was founded in 1970 by a few college students looking to help people make sense of the world. Since then, CPR has been committed to educating the Colorado community, so it’s no surprise that institutions like Regis University continue to support CPR’s mission and services.

Regis University has been a proud underwriter of CPR for over 10 years. Patricia Ladewig, vice president of academic affairs, says that’s because both organizations share common values. “Regis University and Colorado Public Radio both support our local community and aim to educate and inspire critical thinking on issues that matter most.”

Patricia enjoys listening to CPR’s in-depth reporting of local news and lists “Colorado Matters” as one of her favorite programs, but says, “the hosts and programs on CPR are all top-notch.”

Photo: Patricia Ladewig. Photo credit: Regis University.