Fill this stage with Alaska musicians

emtpy stage
Alaska musicians travel Outside to make a living. Many would like to thrive here at home, and are making plans to validate music’s draw to the 49th state. Creative Commons Flickr image by Matt McGee.

Take Michael Howard, for example. He grew up playing music in Alaska punk rock bands. Today, he’s a songwriter and acoustic troubadour, in 2016 playing well over 100 gigs around Alaska and the United States.

Howard has a wish: Let me make a living as a musician in Alaska. The Lower 48 trips have been successful, but the soul wants to be were the soul wants to be. His soul warms to Alaska.

He’s not alone among Alaska musicians who want careers in the 49th state doing what they love. To that end, he and local musicians have formed an Alaska Independent

Logo for The Alaska Room
Logo for The Alaska Room independent musicians initiative.

Musicians Initiative. First up, they’ll host The Alaska Room at the world’s largest annual gathering of the folk music industry this February in Kansas City, Missouri. This means they’ll showcase Alaska musicians at the festival for the world to hear. More than seven Alaska-based organizations (KNBA, Parlor in the Round, Anchorage Music Co-Op, Spenard Jazzfest, Anchorage International Film Festival, Upword Creative, Taiga Creative, and more) are sponsoring the musicians’ initiative  to send some of Alaska’s best kept secrets to showcase in The Alaska Room.

They also hope to entice this same global gathering, the Folk Alliance International, to host a future annual conference in Alaska. They believe quality homegrown music can help draw Outsiders to Alaska. Sure, tourists come for the mountains, the bears, the moose, the rivers, the sheep. But they also come with questions for the locals: Who are you? Why are you here? Howard and his fellow musicians can supply the answer with a flood of original music.

We’ll hear all about this DIY effort on the next Hometown Alaska, plus a few fresh live tunes so listeners get the drift of just what they’re talking about. Join us!



HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • Michael Howard, independent musician
  • Jamie Whiteman, Tanana Rafters
  • Annie Bartholomew, Juneau musician (by phone)



  • Caroline Cotter
    Jan. 6, 2017, Octopus Ink
    Jan. 11 Tim’s House
    Jan. 12 Taproot
    Jan. 13 The Muse
    Jan. 14 Rez Art, Seward
  • Folk Alliance International, Feb. 15-19, 2017, Kansas City, Missouri


  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752  (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
  • Send email to before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air)
  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air)

LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, January 4, 2017, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, January 4, 2017, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

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kmccoy (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | About Kathleen

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