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

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

A decade ago, Laura Gibson kicked off the Tiny Desk concert series. Will Marsh/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Will Marsh/NPR

Tiny Desk Concerts At 10: How One Miserable Show Led To A Magical Concert Series

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/603355204/604751995" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lord Huron's Vide Noir comes out April 20 via Whispering Pines/Republic Records. Pamela Littky/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Pamela Littky/Courtesy of the artist

Guest DJ: Lord Huron On The Songs That Shaped The Cinematic 'Vide Noir'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/603602958/603632605" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Slash performs his epic guitar solo in the Guns And Roses video "November Rain." Youtube screenshot by NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Youtube screenshot by NPR

Swan Songs: Music For Your Final Exit

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/602879162/603161358" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

This photo from Duane Michals originally appeared in The Last Whole Earth Catalog in 1971. It's now the album cover to Uniform Distortion, the new album from Jim James Duane Michals/Courtesy of the Artist hide caption

toggle caption
Duane Michals/Courtesy of the Artist

Clockwise from upper left: Ari Roar, Beatrice Deer, Ólafur Arnalds, Khruangbin, Whyte Horses Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artists

New Mix: Ólafur Arnalds, Khruangbin, Whyte Horses, Ari Roar, More

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/600788769/601106509" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Clockwise from upper left: Confidence Man, Young Fathers, Hookworms Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artists

New Mix: Young Fathers, Confidence Man, A Stunning Tiny Desk Contest Entry, More

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/598875983/599184105" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">