Talking Animals Celebrates 10th Anniversary With Live Broadcast of Animal Songs

I marked the 10th anniversary in high style and with elephantine amounts of fun, assembling a live broadcast of animal songs performed by top musicians from the Tampa Bay music scene.

A quick bit of history. After studying and analyzing  the animal-oriented radio shows occupying the airwaves 11-12 years ago, I created “Talking Animals” and launched the program on June 13, 2003 at KUCI, the University of California at Irvine campus and community radio station.

“Talking Animals” first aired on WMNF in November of 2005—with guest Nellie McKay—and in its 10-year history I’ve managed to interviewing such illustrious guests as Jane Goodall, Alec BaldwinTemple Grandin, Captain Paul Watson, Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, Brian May, Chrissie Hynde and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog.  

The interviews round out a singular format that blends animal comedy, animal news and announcements, a quick quiz feature (“Name That Animal Tune”), and RonnyHarryAnnerpanimal songs—animal songs have served as a key component of the Talking Animals Festivals in 2010 and 2011 at Lowry Park, and 2012’s Talking Animals Music Night at New World Brewery.

And so, for the June 19 edition it seemed like the most fitting—not to mention most festive and fun—way  to celebrate the 10th anniversary was to invite several fantastic musicians to perform animal songs. And, even though the show airs at RebekahEdit9am, and they needed to turn up at 7:30am to load in, set up and sound check before 9, they said “Yes”!

On hand to perform were local luminaries Rebekah Pulley (who created the show’s spiffy new opening theme), Ronny Elliott, Judy Tampa, Gracie Grieshop, Harry Hayward, Scott Elliott, Mark Murphy, Anne Van Atta, and George Pappas.

We worked in a couple of elements from a regular “Talking Animals” (Comedy Corner:  a snippet of Jim Gaffigan’s whale bit, a few animal announcements), but it was chiefly live animal songs, both originals and covers of songs ranging from Paul Weller to Leonard Cohen, a trio of monkey songs—plus Harry Hayward telling one highly memorable story.

It was fun, it was fantastic. Thanks to all who played, and all who helped. And thanks to all who’ve supported the show in its first 10 years.

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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