Bob Boilen Bob Boilen is the creator and host of NPR's All Songs Considered.
Bob Boilen
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Bob Boilen

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Bob Boilen 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Bob Boilen

Host, All Songs Considered

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Boilen's first book, Your Song Changed My Life, was published in April 2016 by HarperCollins.

Story Archive

Upper left: Jasmyn; Upper right: Alisa Amador; Bottom row (left to right): Companion, Jens Lekman, SOAK Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Tiny Desk Contest winner Alisa Amador, SOAK, Jens Lekman, more

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And the Tiny Desk Contest winner is... NPR hide caption

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Announcing the winner of the 2022 Tiny Desk Contest

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Top row (left to right): Regina Spektor, Tomberlin, Stella Donnelly; Bottom row: Shane Cooper & MABUTA Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Regina Spektor, Stella Donnelly, Tomberlin, More

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Top right, left to right: Phoebe Bridgers, Quinn Christopherson, Lizzy McAlpine; bottom row: Wilco Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Phoebe Bridgers, Wilco, Quinn Christopherson, more

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Top row, left to right: Sonny Singh, Charlie Hickey, The Good Ones; Bottom row: Pink Floyd (left to right: Nitin Sawhney, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Guy Pratt) Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Pink Floyd, Patrick Watson, Sonny Singh, more

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Top left: Florist; middle: Dana Gavanski; top right: dani mack; bottom right: Joan Shelley; bottom left: Craig Finn Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Joan Shelley, Craig Finn, Florist, more

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Clockwise from upper left: Angel Olsen, Arooj Aftab, Perfume Genius, Soccer Mommy Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Angel Olsen, Perfume Genius, Soccer Mommy, more

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Clockwise from upper left: The Smile, Brittany Davis, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, Valerie June Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Arcade Fire, Valerie June, The Smile, Andrew Bird, more

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Clockwise from upper left: Belle and Sebastian, Scout laRue Willis, Niia, Deer Scout Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Belle and Sebastian, Scout laRue Willis, Gang of Youths, More

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Clockwise from upper left: Superorganism, Kevin Morby, Sharon Van Etten, Regina Spektor Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Regina Spektor, a Son Lux collaboration with David Byrne and Mitski, more

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Top row, left to right: Sevdaliza, Fantastic Negrito and Daniel Rossen; bottom row: Porridge Radio Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: Sevdaliza, Porridge Radio, Fantastic Negrito, more

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Clockwise from upper left: The Suffers, Whatever The Weather, Maria BC, Lady Day, Yungchen Lhamo Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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New Mix: The Suffers, S. Carey, Lady Dan, more

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