Telling Stories, a group of musicians and writers combining classical pieces with David Sedaris-style essays, is one of the hippest home-grown cultural endeavors around. No wonder founder Jennie Dorris scored a 2010 Westword MasterMind award for her efforts. And while for years Telling Stories serenaded live audiences with intimate events at local joints like the Mercury Cafe, 910 Gallery and the D Note, now it's transformed itself into a Colorado Public Radio show, with its second episode airing this Sunday at 2 p.m. and again on Monday at 9 p.m. at 90.1 FM in Denver, 1490 AM in Boulder and online at cpr.org.
As it turns out, Telling Stories had been eyeing radio opportunities for a while. But it wasn't until CPR audio producer David Fender reached out to the troupe that everything came together. "He said, 'You guys already know how to do this, you want to do this, and it's going to be great," says Dorris. And their first radio episode in November, titled "Rush Hour," turned out exactly as he predicted. "Our audio quality really went up," says Dorris. "And I can't even say how much it grew our audience moving from the D Note to public radio."
There should be more great things from their second episode. Titled "Expecting," it's airing for the first time this weekend. From eclectic variations on "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," to essays about dunking basketballs and pregnancy tests, it's fair to say it's going to be Denver's answer to This American Life.
Eventually, Telling Stories will once again play to live audiences. Next year, for example, Dorris says the troupe will likely do a big concert for all their fans. But for the time being, she's all about the airwaves. "I am a public radio nerd, so I am ecstatic," she says. "And on Sunday, we are between Garrison Keillor and Ira Glass, and all that good stuff." Who knows: Soon Dorris and her multi-talented minstrels may be giving Keillor and Glass a run for their money.