Michael Joyce


Michael's love of radio began with snowstorm school closure announcements during elementary school in his native Minnesota.  For over a decade he produced features in Sacramento and then turned to documentary film while obtaining a Master's in Health Journalism. He's just back from the Philippines where he produced both radio and film. "Radio and film inform each other," says Michael. "Good filmmakers hear as astutely as they see, and in radio we're trying to get people to see what they hear."

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Humboldt County, California is wrestling with a choice of energy futures.  Until recently, one-third of the county’s energy production came from burning woody biomass to make electricity.

But economic factors have led to local biomass power plants closing. This, as Humboldt is trying to join other California counties in taking over its own energy rates and using more locally-sourced power.

In this second of two stories, we look at Humboldt’s plan to buy energy via an organization called a Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA.

Michael Joyce/JPR

Humboldt County, California is facing an energy crisis. It’s also facing an energy opportunity. 

Traditionally, one-third of the county’s energy production has come from converting woody biomass to energy. But local biomass power plants are closing, just as the county is trying to join the  likes of Sonoma and Marin counties in taking over its own energy rates and encourage more locally-sourced power. 

In this first of two stories, we take a closer look at a biomass industry in jeopardy.

Amy Uyeki

Next month marks five years since the Great East Japan Earthquake. The magnitude 9.0 quake generated tsunami waves over 120 feet high. It also killed nearly 16,000 people, and resulted in the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. 

But an unexpected connection with Crescent City, California also emerged.  The result is a newly published children’s book which tells of how a small boat managed to bring together a remarkable mix of people from both sides of the Pacific Ocean. 

Michael Joyce/JPR

First, the Pacific Northwest had small local wineries. Then came a bevy of microbreweries.

Now, there’s another craft movement growing in the adult beverage industry that brings that same artisanal sensibility to making distilled spirits.

JPR’s Michael Joyce is presenting stories exploring craftsmanship in the context of the four classical elements. Today’s story: WATER.

Michael Joyce/JPR

Humboldt County has become an internationally recognized mecca for glass-blowing. How this happened is a story of cannabis prohibition, social media, and life after the Grateful Dead.

JPR’s Michael Joyce continues bringing us his series exploring craftsmanship in the context of the four classical  elements. This is story number three: EARTH

Michael Joyce/JPR

According to Forbes magazine, more Americans listen to the radio each week than use Facebook. Despite this, people continue to wonder if radio is still relevant in the digital age.

The co-founder and guiding light of KHUM radio in Humboldt County works to keep radio relevant by making it less predictable. JPR’s Michael Joyce wraps up his series about craftsmanship in the context of the four classical elements with -- AIR. 

Michael Joyce | JPR


Imagine a snowglobe.  Inside is the sturdy, baroque Mozarteum alongside the delicate, tree-lined Mirabell Gardens. This is Salzburg, Austria, 1958. But it could just as well be 1858. Now give the globe a shake.  

Michael Joyce/JPR

Last month the number of breweries in the United States passed the 4,000 mark for the first time since the 1870s. On average, nearly two breweries open every day in this country, and by year’s end we’ll probably have more breweries than ever before. If you guess this growth is driven by so-called ‘craft’ or microbrews you’d be right.  But can you guess which style of beer is driving the microbrew industry?  JPR’s Michael Joyce found the answer, along with a local twist he didn’t expect.

Michael Joyce/JPR

Pianos placed in public spaces are becoming a staple of urban performance art. This summer you could find them in Portland, Minneapolis, and even Paris to name just a few places.  It seems many of us are fascinated by the magic that occurs when serendipity meets music in a place where music usually is not. 

JPR’s Michael Joyce found just such a place: a public piano on a sidewalk, just one block from the Center of the Universe.

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 9:40 AM ... Today residents and firefighters will be facing their third straight day of triple-digit temperatures, low humidity, and smoke inversions.

Air quality remains 'hazardous' in Willow Creek, Burnt Ranch, Hyampom, and Hayfork. Mad River and Hoopa air quality is considered 'very unhealthy'. 

Containment for the five major wildfires ranges from 20 (Denny area) to 65 percent (Ruth Lake). 


UPDATE: SUNDAY, AUGUST 16, NOON. … Over 140,000 acres have burned and containment is above 25 percent in all the fires except the River Complex near Denny. An Air Quality Alert has been issued with "hazardous" conditions in Hyampom, Denny, and Hayfork. Very unhealthy conditions persist in Burnt Ranch and Mad River. Forecast for the next few days is for high temperatures approaching 100 degrees and humidity below 20 percent.





USFS / via Twitter

UPDATE: FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 11 AM  - The Frog Fire has reached 100 percent containment while the Dodge Fire is 30 percent contained. Lightning is forecast for both areas throughout the day. 

Courtesy of KRCR TV

UPDATE: FRIDAY, JULY 31, 11:11 A.M ... Containment has improved, evacuations are lifted, and the cause of the China Fire remains under investigation. 


UPDATE: FRIDAY, JULY 31, 10:30 AM ... 

BUCK FIRE: 100% contained at 16 acres. 

QUEEN FIRE: Now 85% contained and still at 158 acres. 

Michael Joyce/JPR

With water shortages so common up and down the west coast, there's been no shortage of drought stories in the news. But JPR's Michael Joyce found this story about the only county in California with too much water, and the problem of figuring out what to do with it all.


Courtesy UC Agriculture & Natural Resources

Reports on Sudden Oak Death don’t seem to be nearly as common as they were a few years ago. The invasive plant disease, which has devastated oak stands along the West Coast, continues to spread in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. But funding, public engagement, and solutions have been hard to come by.

Michael Joyce

Frost apparently lingered a while before choosing the less traveled way.

Johnson sold his soul there. The price was virtuosity.

Yogi Berra’s advice was this: “when you come to a fork in the road, take it."

As metaphors go, crossroads are right up there with rivers and doorways. They seem to conjure a symmetry or polarity we can wrap our heads around. Perhaps an intrigue in positioning ourselves at the intersection of convergence and divergence, or dilemma and opportunity. But intersections have always held fascination for me more for what happens around them. I don’t deliberate my direction so much as wonder what are the stories here?

If there is an intersection in Arcata, California that holds sway for me it is the intersection of Tenth & H. Just one block north of the town plaza. Why? The obvious answer is that here I can find funky books, independent films, a burrito with authentic mole sauce, and a character who runs a cluttered shop with a clear sense of humor. That’s the veneer of the TinCan Mailman Used Bookstore, The Minor Theater, La Chiquita Taco Truck, and The Koop. But veneer is what I wanted to scrape away when I went looking for stories at this crossroads.


The West Coast is in its second straight year of unusually warm water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. JPR looks at what makes this particular warming phenomenon so unique, and what consequences may be in store for the Northwest.

Michael Joyce/JPR

As April 20th approaches, civil liberty activist and city officials in Arcata, California are at an impasse.

Is the annual gathering of marijuana smokers at 4:20 PM on April 20th -- so-called “4-20” --  a protected first amendment activity? Or is it a pot party run amok?   

Michael Joyce/JPR

Charles McDaniels likes to laugh. But if you saw where he works your immediate reaction might be to cry.

You see, he runs a warehouse filled with tons of discarded computers, monitors, printers, phones - just about anything with an on-off switch. Then it hits you: if it wasn’t here, where would it be?