Jessica Balisle

Administrative Specialist/Studio Live

Jessica Balisle, a Springfield native, grew up listening to KSMU. She now commands the front desk, taking your calls and greeting you at the door. Jessica co-hosts live music show Studio Live and is heavily involved with the station’s membership office. In 2006, she earned her BA in Applied Anthropology from Missouri State University. When she’s not at KSMU, Jessica plays bass in local bands the Hook KnivesBrother Wiley and the Ozark Sheiks, and sings in Shattered and JM Buttermilk.  She and her husband Todd live with their two cats Cory And Trevor and Elle Driver.

Ways to Connect

Jerry Buckner

Since the young age of five, Randy Buckner has been a fan of Merle Travis. Known for his unique thumbpicking guitar style, Travis stood out to the young Buckner when he would spend time at his grandparents’ farm on North Grant Avenue in Springfield.

“So, being the usual rambunctious kid, to get me to keep quiet, Grandpa would play Merle Travis records, like Walking the Strings and The Merle Travis Guitar. And just the sound of that guitar just totally fascinated me,” said Buckner.

Whitney Houseman

Songwriter Ryan Wallace had a band name tucked away long before he actually had a band.

“I can thank my mom for the name. I don’t remember exactly what she said. She was talking about someone that she didn’t hold in real high esteem and about how they spent their time always out in bars just talking to random strangers,” said Ryan

By the time 2010 rolled around, Ryan had written enough songs to record an EP.

“So, I went into a small studio in Nevada, Missouri, now defunct. The Armadillo Sound Studio,” he said.

Bailey Vassalli / KSMU

In the days of segregation, African Americans had to refer to The Green Book to find places to safely stay overnight when they traveled.  And a three-story, Victorian house in central Springfield was on the list. 

I’m standing on North Benton, just south of Chestnut Expressway between the Jordan Valley Community Health Center and the Springfield Municipal Court building on what was the site of Alberta’s Hotel. It’s just a parking lot now, but the history of this place extends way beyond the pavement.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

When you hear the name Ruell Chappell, what comes to mind? The Ozark Mountain Daredevils? Ozarks Writer’s Night at Friends Karaoke Pub? Maybe you’re like me and it’s Nick, Ruell and Ned the Band at McSalty’s in the 90s. Whatever it might be, now you can add Play It Forward to the list.

Jessica Balisle / KSMU

Nearly everyone in Springfield is familiar with the Sertoma Chili Cook-off. It’s the big celebration in February where local businesses and organizations compete for the best chili, all while helping support the Boys and Girls Clubs. Anyone who’s been to a chili cook-off knows that live music is a major part of the day’s events. This year’s event on February 23rd will again feature the KSMU Acoustic Stage, as well as the main stage in the big room of the downtown Expo Center.

I spoke with Sertoman Ken Childers about what makes live music such a vital part of this event.

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