Blue Ridge Public Radio continues to invest in the development of local programming and content with the hiring of Matt Peiken as the NPR station’s first Arts Producer.
Peiken, whose entire journalism career has concentrated in covering arts and culture, will produce segments for Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and will develop a range of digital elements for BPR’s web and mobile platforms. He’ll also lay the groundwork for a new, weekly arts and performance showcase for BPR.
Earlier in his career, Peiken spent ten years at the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota writing profiles, opinion columns, and trend stories on visual, literary and performing arts. At WCPO Television in Cincinnati, Ohio, he produced videos and created podcasts for WCPO.com about area artists and cultural events. Returning to Minnesota, he created an independent online arts television series, 3-Minute Egg, which he expanded into a weekly broadcast series on Twin Cities Public Television.
Peiken has served as a regional editor for Patch.com, part of a national network of hyperlocal news sites. He was also the Managing Editor of the Walker Magazine, the bimonthly publication of the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis.
Blue Ridge Public Radio General Manager and CEO David Feingold said “We like Matt’s willingness to take chances. Last year he experimented with a weekly, hour-long talk show interviewing Twin Cities artists from his car and video streaming it over Facebook Live.”
Feingold went on to say, “Matt is passionate about the arts and is a drummer in his own right. So, it wasn’t a surprise to learn that he also spent ten years as a contributing writer to Modern Drummer Magazine.” In 2015, Peiken founded, produced, and hosted Metal Braniac “the podcast for smart metalheads” that featured serious interviews with nationally renowned metal musicians.
Peiken said he was drawn to Blue Ridge Public Radio and Asheville for the opportunity to produce public radio journalism in a region that is renowned for its creative community.
He’s especially interested in forming partnerships across Western North Carolina that shine a light on regional artists for new audiences.
He received his Bachelor of Arts in journalism at California State University – Fresno, and was the recipient of a National Arts Journalism Program Fellowship and a Poynter Institute Fellowship.
He moves to Asheville with his 9-year-old chocolate Lab, Wellstone, in mid-August.