It turns out that public media does indeed rock, and here’s a playlist to prove it

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Sometimes it feels like the Venn diagram of public media personalities and musicians looks like a circle — it makes sense, since we spend most of our waking lives with headphones on.

We asked public media musicians to send us a song so we could compile a playlist. We heard from 40 musicians from across the country — coast to coast, and even Alaska!

The music covers a wide variety of genres and inspirations: acoustic ballads, electronic bops, rap, jazz and country.

Jay Cowit is the director and editor of WNYC’s The Takeaway. His music stemmed from making bumper music for the station.

“The Ruthless Orchestra project was all about taking those bumps and building off them, making them weirder and more complex and busier,” he says.

And at Louisville Public Media, coworkers collaborate on music.

“I have been performing as a classical percussionist and hip-hop artist for almost a decade now,” says Jecorey Arthur, music education manager at WUOL. “When I started working at Louisville Public Media, it just so happened that my keyboardist/violinist/producer was also working at the company.”

Some artists promised upcoming music inspired by the highlights and … difficulties of working with audio.

“On my upcoming album, I have a song about all of the people I’ve done mic checks for: the Dalai Lama, Gene Wilder, Judas Priest, Maya Angelou, etc.,” says Kurt Kohnen, radio production manager at KPBS.

I personally can’t wait for this one from my colleague Eric French, an audio engineer at WOSU: “Still working on my ballad to ProTools called ‘Just This Once (Would You Please Work).’”

Next time you have a free ear or two, put this playlist on shuffle and listen to all that public media has to offer!

Paige Pfleger is a reporter for WOSU Public Media in Columbus, Ohio.

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