Cap’s Off to You!–The Story Mine / David Bullock & Cathy Barker – and Celebrating Story

The Story Mine collage - David Bullock and Cathy BarkerFeaturing:  The Story Mine / David Bullock & Cathy Barker

7-Year Radio Show with 344 Episodes

The Story Mine radio show on KPCW brought storytelling to people who needed to discover the art.  David Bullock and Cathy Barker volunteered their time to make sure each 30-minute episode was compiled, edited, and ready to air every Sunday morning at 8:30am for seven years. They had no paid staff.  They had no funds from KPCW to gather in the material.  They invited Utah storytellers to record for free in their studio. This dedication from David and Cathy shone as bright as gold on the radio waves and into the homes of people in Park City, in Utah, and around the world.  Storytellers known locally and internationally were featured with the hard-to-believe-but-true commentary from David and Cathy. These people, amazing storytellers in their own right, gave their all to others.  The Story Mine will forever be treasured.

David Bullock and Cathy Barker are a husband and wife team like no other.  They decided to live in a cabin among the mountains and be surrounded by story full-time.  Not that anyone else could have adventures, but how many people come upon moose and bear on a regular basis?  And of the two, moose are certainly more dangerous.  David can attest to it–and share on stage–but that is another story.

In fact, when I approached David about doing this piece, he said, “We have had so many near Deer misses in the past few weeks. Oh the stories I could tell.  It’s been way below 0 degrees for several nights. Our water lines froze but we took care of it and haven’t had problems since. We really do enjoy our life up here. Who gets to Snowmobile to get to or away from their home?”

I reminded David that on Facebook he said that it got to -9 degrees.  He then responded, “It’s wonderful up here.  I could dazzle you with stories about my encounters with Sasquatch but you’d think I was telling a Tall Tale. I love stories.”

Rather than focusing on himself, David made sure the credit was given where it was due and declared, “Cathy is the best Program Manager and Producer at the Station.”  David added, “While other Radio Storytelling programs have a full staff to produce a show, the Story Mine had [us], Volunteers at KPCW.” Before The Story Mine became The Story Mine, David had already been sharing 3-minute stories on KPCW “Tales From The Wasatch Back” in 2011 and 2012.

Here are more moments shared in David’s words:

In the Summer of 2012, Cathy and [I] approached the Management of KPCW about airing a Storytelling Radio Broadcast Program, which would feature stories told by Storytellers from all around the World. [We] were asked to Produce a “Pilot” show to demonstrate what [we] had to offer. Three separate Pilots were produced by [us] and submitted to the Board of Directors. [The] proposal was heartily accepted and the first Story Mine program was Aired/Streamed across the globe on October 7, 2012 featuring Author Stacy Dymalski, a Humorist Amy Tisovic, and Beloved Local Storyteller, Karl Behling.

Name a well known Storyteller and that teller has probably shared their tales with The Story Mine. Local Storytellers were also invited to come into the Mine and record their Stories so they could be shared with the world. 

The Story Mine was a labor of Love. Cathy and I found a way to gain free access to a Multi Million dollar Recording Studio, (KPCW Park City, Utah) one of the most awarded and successful NPR affiliates in the United States, to share our love of Story and help Foster this wonderful performance art.

I asked David about favorite moments or shows, and he responded:

It’s hard to pick a favorite show, we loved producing and listening to them all. One of our favorite shows was when Cathy and I did a dramatic reading of Mark Twain’s Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, it was just like the real characters were  here. Another was our 2012 Christmas show when Santa Visited the Story Mine and got Mud all over the floor of the Mine Tunnel. That one was an impromptu performance starring Cathy, [me] and Santa Himself. It was so rewarding to play back the recording and listen to what we spontaneously came up with. Having fun like that made us want to put a recording studio in our basement -so we did. We had a little company called Barking Dog Productions. 

As for what David and Cathy see as the greatest impact in their own lives, David shared:

I guess the best reward we got out of volunteering all of our time and energies to our Weekly Sunday Morning Radio Show, was the meeting and associating with so many wonderful people who shared common interests. 

Then I remembered when David Bullock announced the final episode for The Story Mine.  July 8, 2019 was the farewell performance.  My own world was on pause–it seemed unreal.  Though, I breathed again, the world continued forward, and I reflected on how much fun I had in listening to that show.

David explained:

The Station had plans to change their Weekend Morning programming to an NPR format, and rather than going to a different time slot, Cathy and [I] chose to go out and again, find and tell [our] own Stories.

I could practically see the sparkle and gleam in David’s eyes when he said, “Boy, do we have stories to tell.”

So toss, tip, or take off your cap to The Story Mine / David Bullock & Cathy Barker!

We also have year-round events such as the monthly house concerts and the 5th Annual Story Crossroads Festival that will be on May 13, 2020.

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