Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Briana Heaney, Caroline MacGregor, Chris Schulz, Kelley Libby Published

Flat Five Studio, Old Growth Forests And Trouble At WVU, Inside Appalachia

A black and yellow shirt hang on a wall. Next to them is a sign that reads, "Hippies Use Side Door."
Flat Five merchandise hangs in the recording studio. Flat Five Studio in Virginia made a big splash in the 1990s. Now, it's looking to the future and a new generation.
Mason Adams/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This week, Inside Appalachia drops by Flat Five Studio in Salem, Virginia. It had a reputation for recording bluegrass bands, but caught a big break in the early 1990s when the Dave Matthews Band needed a quiet place to record its debut album.

We also learn a little about primordial forests. A patch of woods in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve was recently inducted into the Old Growth Forest Network.

And we visit a small nonprofit company in West Virginia that’s making solar powered light kits for families in war-torn Ukraine.

In This Episode:

The Once And Future Flat Five

Tom Ohmsen’s been around music and recording his whole life. He got his first tape recorder when he was just a kid. In college, he recorded bluegrass bands, which led to the start of Flat Five Studio in Salem, Virginia.

In the early 1990s, the studio helped launch the Dave Matthews Band, but now Ohmsen’s looking toward retirement.

Mason Adams visited Flat Five to get its history and hear about its future.

The Burnwood Trail Protected And Preserved

If you ever want perspective on your place in the world, visit one of Appalachia’s old-growth forests. Trees tower overhead and you can get a sense of just how old the world is. Old-growth forests play an important ecological role, too, protecting against erosion and providing a habitat for rare animal and plant species. 

The nonprofit Old-Growth Forest Network is dedicated to protecting these old growth forests. Recently, the Burnwood Trail at the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve was brought into the group’s network.

WVPB’s Briana Heaney has this story.

Lights For Ukraine

Russia’s war with Ukraine has dragged on for more than a year and a half. The distant war has faded into the background for some, but not for the head of a West Virginia nonprofit, who wanted to do something for Ukrainian families under constant threat of bombardment. 

WVPB’s Assistant News Director Caroline MacGregor visited New Vision Renewable Energy in Philippi, West Virginia where they’re making solar light kits for Ukrainian families that can also be used to charge a cell phone. 

Dire Decisions At WVU

A cardboard sign reading "Save World Languages" is held up in a crowd of red shirts. In the background can be seen WVU's Oglebay Hall
Students and community members protest on the downtown Morgantown campus of West Virginia University Aug. 21, 2023.

Credit: Chris Schulz/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Grappling with a $45 million budget shortfall, West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia has recommended cutting 32 of its 338 majors, including all of its world language programs.

WVPB’s Chris Schulz has been covering the story.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by ONA, Valerie June, John Blissard, June Carter Cash and Little Sparrow. 

Bill Lynch is our producer. Zander Aloi is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.