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Berklee is set to launch a global, four-channel, 24-hour guided tour through the world's premier college for contemporary music education. The BIRN (Berklee Internet Radio Network), the college's first radio station in its 61-year history, will officially kickoff April 30 - May 3, with a week of special programming, including recorded broadcasts of a interviews with George Massenburg, Thomas Dolby, Marcus Miller, Richard Devine, and more. Listen to the BIRN at www.thebirn.com.

Under the leadership of Stephen Croes, dean of Berklee's Music Technology Division, the BIRN, which began development in 2003, has grown into a credit-earning course and thriving, student-run organization, complete with DJs, producers, engineers, and promoters. BIRN DJs are career oriented music students, not communications majors - they are not generally training for jobs in radio. Rather, they use the studio as a tool for personal expression, resulting in a highly original and improvisational approach to programming, capturing a phase in a young musician's life when they are hungry to discover new artists and styles, and dying to share the music they love with others. Since all participants are musicians, expect to hear orginal songs by Berklee students and bands, as well as music created by the DJs themselves.

"If you want to hear what some of the hippest, most music obsessed people on the planet are listening to — and who wouldn't? — the BIRN is well worth checking out," says Croes. "This is the sound of pure enthusiasm, untethered from corporate programming or institutional playlists. I'm sure music lovers will find this group of committed young musicians to be an irresistible barometer of emerging tastes and trends."

The station's facilities are largely designed and implemented by students, who used network-based programming methods to establish a powerful and adaptable broadcast environment. CDs, iPods, software-based musical DJ programs, and simplified broadcast console concepts flow through customized networking schemes that expand the studios' power and flexibility. New facilities will open in January, 2008, that will put the station at the center of the college's concert and lecture activities and add a performance studio for live music and interviews.

A guide to the BIRN's four channels

Channel 1: The BIRN - The home of more than 30 student-produced shows, featuring over 60 hours of diverse, personality-rich programming each week. Shows range from indie rock, hip-hop, electronica, R&B and metal, to news, talk, local, Latin, jazz, classical, world, and blues. Standouts include: "The Melting Pot," which changes themes from week to week— from Pink Floyd to Irish music on St. Patrick's Day —and is heavy on music history and trivia. "Girltown" is a showcase for women musicians (featuring one "guy song of the week"), and "This is Now" offers a musician's daily take on world issues, politics, science and of course, music.

Channel 2: Special Events - Broadcasts a variety of recorded Berklee concerts, as well as exclusive lectures and interviews with visiting artists and music industry leaders, allowing the general public to get in on the action at Berklee regardless of where they live.

Channel 3: Air Alumni - Featuring music, news, and original programming from Berklee alumni around the world - fantastic musicians you haven't heard yet.

Channel 4: The Setlist - A jukebox loaded with music by Berklee's most famous alumni —Quincy Jones, Melissa Etheridge, John Mayer, etc. — as well as popular recordings that feature the contributions of alumni producers, songwriters, studio musicians, arrangers, managers, and engineers.

BIRN special programming, April 30 - May 3. All shows to air on Channel 2: Special Events.

April 30, 7 p.m. The Great American Songbook: The Music of Stevie Wonder. Berklee pays tribute to Stevie Wonder with a 46-piece orchestra and student and faculty soloists. Past tribute concerts for Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and George Gershwin will air throughout the day.

May 1, 7 p.m. Grammy-winning bassist, producer and recent Berklee artist-in-residence Marcus Miller is interviewed, teaches a clinic, and performs with two student bands at the Berklee Performance Center.

May 2, 7 p.m. Writer, scholar, and 2007 Herb Alpert visiting professor Stanley Crouch gives a series of lectures on music, race, and the media.

May 3, 7 p.m. Music technology leader and 80s icon Thomas Dolby performs at the Berklee Performance Center.

Additional interviews airing throughout the week include world-class drummer, Berklee professor and alumna Terri Lyne Carrington; saxophonist, composer and alumnus Greg Osby; legendary producer, engineer, and Herb Alpert visiting professor George Massenburg; Blue Note Label Group president and CEO Bruce Lundvall; pioneering guitarist Kaki King; and electronic musician and sound designer Richard Devine.

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