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Introducing Georgia in Play from GPB News

'In play.'

It’s a phrase you often hear relating to Georgia’s political scene, especially since the 2020 election turned a reliably red state purple. But aside from politics, Georgia is in play for several other reasons. Ethnic and racial diversity, housing, sports, arts & culture, science and health are all topics that are interesting not just to Georgians, but a national audience is curious about what’s happening in the state as well. That’s what this show is about, a daily look at all the ways Georgia matters.   

A show with a mission statement 

We believe an informed community makes our state and the South better and that enriches all lives. Our show is where real conversations in a safe space help a listener better understand Georgia’s changing landscape. It’s a place where every day Georgians' voices are amplified along with lawmakers, entertainers and creatives to inspire us all. In a divided country and state, Leah Fleming will host conversations that inform, challenge and most importantly unify listeners. 

Georgia in Play airs Fridays at 2 p.m. ET on GPB Radio and

Listen to the podcast above at the top of the page. 


Highlights from the Sept. 15 Georgia in Play premiere: 

The controversy behind 'Try That in a Small Town'

Dr. Charles Hughes, author of Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South, weighs in on the controversy around country music star Jason Aldean's latest chart-topper. Hughes ties themes in the song to the "urban-rural divide," deepening discriminatory fears around political movements such as the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. He also notes the song promotes vigilantism, evoking a violent history of racist extrajudicial violence in the South.

Hughes is also quick to note Aldean doesn't speak for the direction of country music as a genre, which he says is becoming more diverse and accessible to new artists.

Music Midtown takes the stage again

After its cancellation in 2022, Music Midtown is returning to Piedmont Park with 40 artists across a three-day run. GPB Digital Editor Kristi Wooten attended the festival's debut weekend in 1994, where she noted the festival featured "a variety of artists," then unusual for major festivals in the South. Names like James Brown and Al Green dominated that first show, and this year's festival will feature artists like Lil Baby, P!NK, and Guns N' Roses.

Festival attendees stand against barricades before the artist performs..
Credit: Music Midtown on Facebook

Spreading 'Peach Jam' on the airwaves

GPB Senior Podcast Producer Jeremy Powell introduced Peach Jam to podcast platforms last season, but in the show's upcoming second season, you'll see acts from around the state on your television. Powell brings songs from two local acts to Georgia in Play, Lloyd Buchanan's "Gonna Be Alright" and Ryan Oyer's "Worthy of Love." You can find the Peach Jam, or Watch episodes of  Peach Jam TV here.

Heroes and harpsichords

Wakanda is taking over the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as it brings the music of the 2018 film Black Panther to life on stage. In a three-day special event, the orchestra will perform Ludwig Göransson’s Oscar-winning original score over the film while it's projected on the big screen. San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra conductor and director Anthony Parnther will guest direct the orchestra, with guest musician Massamba Diop on the tama, the Senegalese "talking drum."

ASO guest conductor Anthony Parnther

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra guest conductor Anthony Parnther will lead the Orchestra on a special three-day performance.

Credit: Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

City Cafe celebrates all month

In 1994, President Bill Clinton marked September as "Classical Music Month." GPB's John Lemley hosts City Cafe, and he's celebrating "Classical Music Month" all month long. He joins Leah Fleming to discuss the lasting legacy of classical music as a genre. You can listen to City Cafe Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 1 p.m., or listen to classical music 24/7 at GPB Classical.


From Columbus to Hollywood to Atlanta

Dallas Austin was a band kid during his time in high school in Columbus. He turned his story into a major motion picture, with Nick Cannon playing a self-inspired role. He recently was recognized with an award at the Macon Film Festival, and he spoke to Leah Fleming on what it meant to put his "Columbus story" in the spotlight.