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Dave Smith, center, photographed attending the 2015 North American Music Merchants convention in Anaheim, Calif.

Remembering Dave Smith, inventor of MIDI and the Prophet-5 synthesizer

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WASHIGNTON, D.C. (NPR) — The sound of pop music in the ’80s was shaped by synthesizers – and one of the most impactful people behind that sound was inventor Dave Smith, creator of the Prophet-5 synthesizer and founder of Sequential Circuits, the instrument’s small-scale production company. Though his most well-known inventions were decades in the… Read More

The cover of the velveteen rabbit

As ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ turns 100, its message continues to resonate

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — What does it mean to be Real? It’s a big question for a children’s book. The main character in The Velveteen Rabbit, first published in 1922, is a simple toy “stuffed with sawdust” and ears “lined with pink sateen.” He feels inadequate next to the fancier, mechanical toys who are “full… Read More

The cast of Reading Rainbow Live sit together on set

‘Reading Rainbow’ is getting a reboot but without LeVar Burton

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — Reading Rainbow is about to get a reboot tailored to a generation of kids who rarely get their entertainment from broadcast TV. Streaming live this Sunday on the platform Looped, Reading Rainbow Live is described as an interactive “event” full of music, dancing and games. One glaring omission: LeVar Burton who… Read More

Elmo from Sesame Street posing for a portrait

What’s making social media smile? That time Elmo lost his cool over Rocco

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — Elmo losing his last nerve feels so good right now. With omicron raging and the prospect of more mass shutdowns, the beloved Muppet yelling about his pal Zoe’s pet rock — “Rocco’s just a rock!” — is downright cathartic. Thank you to Twitter user @wumbooty for sharing this video clip, which… Read More