Amanda Rabinowitz

Northeast Ohio’s music scene is likely to change dramatically with the arrival of AEG. The world’s second-largest concert promoter is taking over the storied Agora venue, in a building in Cleveland's midtown that began life over a century ago as an opera house.

For this week’s Shuffle, Cleveland Scene music writer Jeff Niesel explains why the takeover is good for Cleveland and music fans.

Good for Cleveland:

One of the most beloved players in Ohio State history is suing the university in a case that could set a precedent in college football. At issue is whether Ohio State should be able to use current and former players’ names and images for profit without consent.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the lawsuit has been filed by highly respected and popular former player Chris Spielman and has the support of Archie Griffin:

Kent-based indie-folk band The Speedbumps is ready to hit the road with a new album out Friday. “When The Darkness Comes” marks a different sound for the five-piece band.

After a one-year absence, Cleveland is again rolling out the red carpet for the Alternative Press Music Awards. The fourth annual ceremony is the brain child of Cleveland’s Alternative Press magazine to recognize the so-called “misfits” of pop-punk, hard rock, rap and metal.

For this week’s Shuffle, Alternative Press CEO Mike Shea talks about the awards show and the evolution and future of the magazine he started 32 years ago.

The Indians are sending five players to next week’s All-Star game. That's the most since 2004. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says each player has taken a different path to the top. 

Corey Kluber: "He's from Texas and went to Stetson University, which is in Florida. So he wasn't even highly recruited."

Pluto says Kluber was drafted by the San Diego Padres, but was barely on their radar. "He wasn't even in the top 30 prospects within the Padres organization."

Cleveland Indians fans are attending more games this year than last year, but WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto says it doesn’t seem like the team is making it worth their while.

Last year, the Cleveland Indians advanced the World Series and had one of their best seasons when it came to attendance. 

Pluto says the Indians had a hard time selling tickets for the last 15 years, but this year came close to beating an old record.

A Wadsworth pop singer/songwriter says she’s ready to release her first album as her true self. Natalie Grace Martin’s forthcoming record, She/Her/Hers, is about coming out as transgender. Moreover, she says, it’s about coming back from heartbreak. For this week’s Shuffle, Natalie Grace Martin talks about her journey: 

Martin says a lot has changed since The Devil Strip Magazine's cover story about her in February, 2016.

One of the local bands playing at this weekend’s Tri-C Jazz Fest is having a big year -- all while finishing their sophomore year of high school. For this week’s Shuffle, we meet Cleveland School of The Arts students Alana Amore, Jasmine Sims and Kevin Pace of the band Montage.  

Bass player Jasmine Sims' family dining room in East Cleveland has been transformed into a practice space. There's a drum set, amps and a microphone facing the living room for a small audience. 

The Cavs are wasting no time making big changes following their NBA Finals loss. On Monday, owner Dan Gilbert parted ways with General Manager David Griffin after three seasons. 

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks about Griffin's role, departure and what it means for what's likely to be a busy summer for the Cavs. 

Pluto likens the general manager of an NBA team to the conductor of an orchestra. They're in charge of making sure all the parts are working together. 

A new club in Akron wants music lovers to gather around a turntable and listen to their favorite albums from start to finish. For this week’s Shuffle, The Devil Strip Magazine’s music editor Brittany Nader says the group wants to make listening to music a social activity again:

"It's like a book club for vinyl," Nader says. 

LeBron James said he had no reason to hang his head after the Cavs lost the NBA title to the Golden State Warriors Monday. That’s because he had his best postseason performance in his 14-year career.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto explains how James is at his best despite defeat:

"For an athlete in this time and place, this was an exceptional postseason for LeBron because he did so many things right on so many fronts," Pluto says.

On the court 

Chicago has Lollapalooza. The California desert has Coachella. And dozens of other U.S. cities, including Columbus and Cincinnati, have signature festivals with the biggest names in music. But not the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A fledgling music festival this weekend is attempting to fill that void.

In this week’s shuffle, Cleveland Scene music writer Jeff Niesel talks about LaureLive:

The Cavs are in a familiar spot -- playing Game 3 of the NBA finals down 2-0. But a lot has changed since the NBA champs pushed the Golden State Warriors to seven games last season. WKSU Commentator Terry Pluto says that winning tonight’s game is crucial.

“No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in NBA history,” he says. “In fact, what often happens is when you go down three games to none, you lose game four because the players themselves know it’s over.”

The Cavs come home down 2-0 in the NBA Finals, after losing to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Golden State beat the Cavs 132-113 with strong performances from Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. It's the second consecutive year Golden State won the first two games of the Finals. Last year, Cleveland rallied to win last year's series in seven games.

LeBron James said even though they lost, the Cavs were much more physical on Sunday than they were in Game 1. LeBron acknowledged there's room for improvement in upcoming games.

A performance tonight at one of Akron’s underground venues blends experimental music and visual art.

For this week’s Shuffle, The Devil Strip magazine’s music editor Brittany Nader says the show is organized by Hive Mind, which is one of Akron’s do-it-yourself spaces that showcases independent artists.

The Cavs trailed by 10 points at halftime in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics. Then Terry Pluto says the 'Big Three" came through.

"In the third quarter, the whole game just turned around," Terry Pluto says.

Pluto says the credit goes to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Irving scored a remarkable 42 points in the game, a career playoff high. Love had 17 rebounds, also unprecedented for him in a playoff game.

Here’s how Terry Pluto sums up game three of the playoffs:

“The Cavs just suddenly decided, ‘Well, we can just go home.’ And they pretty much did, mentally.”

The Cavs blew a 21-point lead in Cleveland on Sunday, ultimately losing by a mere three points to the Boston Celtics. 

Pluto somehow knew this would happen.

“Even in basketball, pride and arrogance are deadly sins,” he says.

The Cavs dominated the Boston Celtics last night, beating them 117-104 in the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says Cleveland did exactly what it needed to do in Boston. 

A music school founded by Bhutanese refugees in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood is introducing its sound to the greater community.

In this week’s Shuffle, Akron Beacon Journal music writer Malcolm Abram introduces us to The Himalayan Music Academy:

While the Cavs work to defend their NBA title, the team has been making big money moves off the court.

The Cavs recently got a commitment for $140 million in public funding for renovations to Quicken Loans Arena. This week, the team announced a partnership with Akron-based Goodyear Tire and Rubber for its signature wingfoot logo to appear on jerseys next season.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto explains why both of these moves have been controversial but necessary:

An Akron indie rock band is branching out on its upcoming album with a new sound. For this week’s Shuffle, WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz talks with The Devil Strip Magazine Music Editor Brittany Nader about ‘Stems.’

Stems is a four-piece founded by vocalist and guitarist Justin Seeker, bassist Mike Voris on bass , drummer Josh Weiss and guitarist Joel McAdams.

Superheroes and sequels will rule the box office this summer, as the big releases vie to break the billion dollar mark. WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz talked with Akron Beacon Journal pop culture writer Clint O’Conner about the busy season that kicks off today.

Box Office Billions

“This is the big time. This is when they make all their money during the summer, traditionally.”

The iconic music and pop culture magazine Rolling Stone turns 50 this year. On Friday, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opens an exhibit that takes music fans through the vast archives of photos and interviews.

For this week’s Shuffle, WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz talks with Cleveland Scene music writer Jeff Niesel about Rolling Stone Magazine at 50.

The Cleveland Browns are getting high marks for their NFL draft performance. The team selected 10 players this past weekend, including a potential quarterback of the future.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the Browns played it safe with their No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Myles Garrett of Texas A&M.

Convinced that Myles Garrett was too good to pass up, the Browns wasted no time in taking the consensus best player in the NFL draft with the first overall pick Thursday night. Garrett is a defensive end from Texas A&M. The Browns then traded their No 12 pick to Houston and selected all-purpose defensive dynamo Jabrill Peppers of Michigan at No. 25, who fills hole at safety and on returns. They then traded up to select Miami tight end David Njoku. Our commentator Terry Pluto likes that move:


Opera has been going more high tech in recent years to create an immersive experience and bring in new audiences. The Cleveland Orchestra next week stages an intricate production of "Pelléas and Mélisande."

For this week’s Shuffle, Plain Dealer classical music critic Zach Lewis says the orchestra is taking a much different approach to opera: 

The NFL draft begins Thursday night. For Browns fans, it's the equivalent of the Super Bowl. The team has the No. 1 pick after going 1-15 this past season.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the Browns have 11 total picks, and five of the top 65 selections.

Pluto says fans will be glued to ESPN watching the draft experts analyze the players.

An Akron band that mixes business with its psychadelic prog rock is getting ready to release a new album next month.

In this week’s Shuffle, Devil Strip Magazine music editor Brittany Nader introduces us to Relaxer.

The Cavs’ first two playoff games have shown just how difficult defending their NBA title is going to be. Cleveland is up 2-0 over the Indiana Pacers, but both games have come down to the final minutes. 

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the Cavs’ regular season struggles are evident early in these playoffs, but  the Cavs have some time to settle in: 

The slogan for the Cavs’ postseason is “Defend the Land.” And Pluto says players need to start taking that literally. “They better start defending somebody.”

Next week, Northeast Ohio rocker Michael Stanley returns to The Akron Civic Theater for the first time in nearly 40 years.

The Rocky River native has become a Cleveland icon during his decades-long career. And he's still going, despite being diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year.

In this week’s Shuffle, Akron Beacon Journal music writer Malcolm Abram talks about Stanley's career --still going strong in his hometown. 

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