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“Pause/Play” Season 2 Explores the Austin Music Industry’s Emergence from the Pandemic

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David Fried
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AUSTIN, Texas – March 12, 2021 – As the pandemic hits the one-year mark and Texas lifts its COVID venue occupancy restrictions and mask mandate, season 2 of the “Pause/Play” podcast documents how Austin’s music industry navigates the recovery phase of the pandemic.

Co-hosts and co-producers Miles Bloxson and Elizabeth McQueen talk to people from across the spectrum of the Austin music ecosystem about what the year since the shutdown has been like for them and how they are moving forward as vaccination rates go up and public life begins to open up.

Season 2 features the voices of musicians Jackie Venson, Mobley, Nakia, Walker Lukens and Bibi Bidi Banda’s Stephanie Bergara, non-profit leaders like Reenie Collins from the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), and venue owners like Mohawk’s James Moody and Empire Control Room’s Steve Sternschein.

Musicians and venues are navigating difficult decisions. Musicians will have to balance their desire to perform live against their desire to keep themselves and others safe. Venues are deciding whether to open and whether to enforce mask use and limit capacity to protect employees and others.

“You can be open but the pandemic still rages,” said McQueen. “While season 1 told the story of how individuals and venues survived the pandemic, season 2 explores the difficult decisions musicians and venues need to make in this phase of pandemic. ‘Pause/Play’ documents this moment in history – as it’s happening – to help the public understand it more deeply.”

The pandemic also has inspired new ways of doing things – from ticketed virtual concerts and streamed events on Facebook, to curbside performances and pre-marked, socially distanced seating at outdoor performances. Will these new ways of doing business stick once vaccination rates are up and the virus is under control? What will Austin’s music ecosystem look like in the future? “Pause/Play” will explore these questions and more.

“We’re also engaging listeners through social media to reflect their stories in season 2,” said Bloxson. “If music fans attend an event, we want to know about their experience: What was different at the show? What was the same? We want to help music fans make informed decisions about going out and enjoying Austin’s music scene again.”

“Pause/Play” will bring other music cities into the narrative in season 2 by talking to NPR Music stations in cities such as Los Angeles, Nashville, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Thanks to Odell Brewing Co. and McCullough Heat & Air Conditioning for helping to make “Pause/Play” season 2 possible.

“Pause/Play” co-hosted and co-produced by Elizabeth McQueen and Miles Bloxson. It is executive produced by KUTX Program Director Matt Reilly. KUT Managing Editor Ben Philpott is consulting on the podcast, KUT Projects Editor Matt Largey is helping produce the podcast, KUT and KUTX engineer Jake Perlman is mixing the podcast. KUT aKUT and KUTX’s Julia Reihs is the multimedia producer and KUT’s Stephanie Federico is the digital editor.

Subscribe to “Pause/Play” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, NPROne or wherever you get your podcasts. Connect with “Pause/Play” fans and producers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Media contact: Erin Geisler

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