Hearts of Space

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Hearts of Space
GenreAmbient, new-age, electronic, space, and related contemplative music
Running time60 minutes, weekly
Country of originUnited States
Syndicatesself-distributed to 100+ public radio stations (2009),[1]
Hosted by1973–1974
Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill,
Anna Turner
Stephen Hill
Created byStephen Hill[2][3]
Produced bySteve Davis
Executive producer(s)Stephen Hill
Recording studioSan Rafael, California
Original release1973 –
Websitewww.hos.com Edit this at Wikidata

Hearts of Space is an American weekly syndicated public radio show[4] featuring music of a contemplative nature[5] drawn largely from the ambient, new-age and electronic genres, while also including classical, world, Celtic, experimental, and other music selections.[6][7][8] For many years, the show's producer and presenter, Stephen Hill, has applied the term "space music" to the music broadcast on the show, irrespective of genre.[9] It is the longest-running radio program of its type in the world. Each episode ends with Hill gently saying, "Safe journeys, space fans ... wherever you are."


Hearts of Space was created in 1973 by Stephen Hill,[2][3][10] and co-produced by Hill and Anna Turner. It was first broadcast as Music from the Hearts of Space, a three-hour-long[2][11] late-night show on KPFA in Berkeley, California. It was hosted by Hill under the on-air pseudonym "Timotheo",[12] with Turner becoming co-host from 1974[2][3] to 1986 as "Annamystic".[12]

Shortened to a one-hour version, it entered syndication on public radio on January 1, 1983, and quickly grew in popularity, signing its 200th station within three years.[13] In December 2009, it was still broadcast by over 200 public radio stations weekly. Until April 1, 2010, the show was also broadcast nightly by XM Satellite Radio. Beginning on its Audio Visions channel in 2001, older shows aired weeknights at 11 PM ET. The current week's show was broadcast on Saturdays at 9 AM ET, then repeated on Sundays at 9 PM ET. After the merger, Sirius XM Satellite Radio moved the program to its Spa channel until discontinuing it. On January 4, 2013, the show celebrated a milestone broadcasting its 1000th program on the 40th anniversary of its KPFA debut and 30th anniversary month/year of its national syndication on NPR. On November 12, 2021, it reached its latest milestone, 1,300 installments[14] of the show have been produced.

Production details[edit]

Episodes, or "transmissions," are thematic, commencing with a voice-over introduction by Hill, followed by almost an hour of uninterrupted segue-mixed music. The show concludes with back-announced track details. Before she left the program in 1986, co-producer Anna Turner jointly announced the show with Hill. As of June 2009, Hearts of Space is presented by Hill and produced by Hill and Associate Producer Steve Davis.[15] A number of other individuals have worked on Hearts of Space, including guest producer Ellen Holmes who created a series of "Adagio Recordings classical spacemusic" shows.

Related projects[edit]

The Hearts of Space radio show has spawned a number of related projects, including the Hearts of Space Archive, a commercial ambient-music streaming service[16] started in 2001, and a record label started in 1984, Hearts of Space Records (including 5 divisions, sub-labels or label imprints:[17] Hearts of Space Records, for the core space music; Hearts O' Space,[18] for Irish/Celtic albums; World Class,[19] for world-music albums; Fathom,[20] for sounding the deep, dark ambient albums by artists such as Robert Rich and Steve Roach; and RGB, for soundtrack and pop-oriented electronic albums). The record label released nearly 150 albums over the course of its existence; it also licensed and released European albums in the U.S. During the 1980s Hill also produced[21] albums for other labels,[22] such as those of Eckart Rahn (Celestial Harmonies, Fortuna Records, and Kuckuck Schallplatten). In 2001, the label (and catalogue) was sold to Valley Entertainment.[17] Stephen Hill, though no longer associated with the label's business side, continues to work on A&R and to produce new compilation recordings for the label.[23][24][25]

Cultural influence[edit]

The show was parodied on Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 303 (Pod People). A running gag during the film, which sported an ambient noise soundtrack similar to the music typical of the show, was to imitate the announcer of the program. One of the host segments featured "Music from Some Guys in Space" as a parody of the show. According to the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, the MST3k staff were sent several albums from the Hearts of Space producers after the episode aired.

In a 1981 interview with Tom Snyder for The Tomorrow Show, convicted criminal Charles Manson said that he would listen to Hearts of Space when a radio was available to him.[26]

See also[edit]

  • Echoes, a nightly ambient music show produced by music critic John Diliberto
  • Musical Starstreams, a US-based commercial radio program produced and hosted by Frank Forest since 1981
  • Star's End, a weekly ambient music programme broadcast on public radio in Philadelphia since 1976, hosted by Chuck van Zyl
  • Ultima Thule Ambient Music, a weekly ambient music show broadcast on community radio in Australia since 1989


  1. ^ An option for This American Life, self-distribution dwindles among public radio producers
  2. ^ a b c d HOS, "Hearts of Space - Stephen Hill": "[...] in 1973 Hill created Hearts of Space as a three-hour live weekly radio program on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California. Joined a year later by former co-producer Anna Turner [...]"
  3. ^ a b c HOS, "Hearts of Space - Company": "Intriguing sounds were in the air in 1973 when producer Stephen Hill turned his fascination with space-creating music into a weekly late-night program called Music from the Hearts of Space on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, CA. With original co-producer Anna Turner joining the enterprise in 1974, [...]"
  4. ^ Herberlein, L.A. (2002). The Rough Guide to Internet Radio. Rough Guides. p. 95. ISBN 1-85828-961-0.
  5. ^ "When you listen to space and ambient music you are connecting with a tradition of contemplative sound experience whose roots are ancient and diverse. The genre spans historical, ethnic, and contemporary styles. In fact, almost any music with a slow pace and space-creating sound images could be called spacemusic." Stephen Hill, co-founder, Hearts of Space, What is spacemusic?
  6. ^ HOS, "Hearts of Space - History": "The program has defined its own niche — a mix of ambient, electronic, world, new age, classical and experimental music. [...] Slow-paced, space-creating music from many cultures — ancient bell meditations, classical adagios, creative space jazz, and the latest electronic and acoustic ambient music are woven into a seamless sequence unified by sound, emotion, and spatial imagery." (Stephen Hill, "Contemplative Music, Broadly defined")
  7. ^ Hearts of Space Playlist - Complete list of genres
  8. ^ Lancaster, Kurt (1999). Warlocks and Warpdrive: Contemporary Fantasy Entertainments with Interactive and Virtual Environments. McFarland. p. 26. ISBN 0786406348.
  9. ^ HOS, "Hearts of Space - History": "A timeless experience... as ancient as the echoes of a simple bamboo flute or as contemporary as the latest ambient electronica. Any music with a generally slow pace and space-creating sound image can be called spacemusic. Generally quiet, consonant, ethereal, often without conventional rhythmic and dynamic contrasts, spacemusic is found within many historical, ethnic, and contemporary genres." (Stephen Hill, "What Is Spacemusic?" sidebar to "Contemplative Music, Broadly Defined")
  10. ^ Johnson, Keith; Baczewski, Philip; Childs, Melody (1995). Using Gopher. Indianapolis, IN: Que. pp. 227–302. ISBN 0-7897-0136-7. OCLC 33057672.
  11. ^ Sturman, Janet (2019). The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture. SAGE Publications. p. 108. ISBN 978-1483317748.
  12. ^ a b NCET, "Anna Turner" Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback Machine: "[...] she continued to co-produce and host (under the pseudonym of Annamystic) the radio program 'Music from the Hearts of Space' [...] with co-host Stephen Hill (radio pseudonym: Timotheo)."
  13. ^ HOS, "Hearts of Space - Company"
  14. ^ HOS
  15. ^ HOS, "Hearts of Space - Bios", as seen in June 2009
  16. ^ "Hill's Hearts of Space Web site provides streaming access to an archive of hundreds of hours of spacemusic artfully blended into one-hour programs combining ambient, electronic, world, new age, and Western classical music." Steve Sande, The Sky's the Limit with Ambient Music, SF Chronicle, Sunday, January 11, 2004
  17. ^ a b Ambient News, 2001, "Valley Entertainment Announces Acquisition of Hearts of Space Records!" (scroll down), via Archive.org.
  18. ^ "Albums By Label". hos.com. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  19. ^ "Albums By Label". hos.com. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  20. ^ "Fathom". Discogs. Retrieved June 12, 2017. and "Fathom recordings". Hearts of Space. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  21. ^ "Company History". harmonies.com. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  22. ^ "Album Navigation". hos.com. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  23. ^ HOS, "Hearts of Space - About": "While we still help produce new recordings for the label, we no longer run it day to day."
  24. ^ HOS, "Hearts of Space—Company": "In 2001 the record label part of the company was sold to Valley Entertainment in New York, which maintains the catalog of almost 150 titles and releases selected new recordings. Producer Stephen Hill continues to work on A&R and production of new releases, while maintaining work on the radio program."
  25. ^ HOS, "Hearts of Space - Bios": "[Stephen Hill] produces new compilations for Valley/Hearts of Space, [...]"
  26. ^ "Charles Manson Interview with Tom Snyder (Complete)". YouTube.


External links[edit]