Niki Dakota

Music Director and Host, Excursions

Born a Hoosier, but only living there in spurts, Niki Dakota spent much of her young life moving around the United States with her archeologist mother. Throughout these years, there was always a ukulele somewhere close at hand. By the time the family settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ms. Dakota found herself in pursuit of professional music-making as she headed-up the Alterna-Folk band, Plow On Boy. In the course of her first live radio interview to promote the band, Niki’s keen excitedness manifest itself in extreme chattiness. At the conclusion of the segment, the DJ closed the mic and said, “You need to be in radio."  That was in 1990.

In 2002, Niki’s radio career brought her to WYSO where she continues to enjoy a love of music and shares that love with the Miami Valley weekdays on Excursions.

Ways to Connect

courtesy of Central State University Chorus

Members of the Central State University Chorus and director Jeremy Winston joined WYSO Music Director live in the studio on Excursions.  The Chorus performed several songs on the air, and Winston talked about their upcoming season, including a performance at the WYSO Community Concert.

The Central State University Chorus will perform at the WYSO Community Concert on Sunday, September 11th at RiverScape MetroPark. 

Inversion, the latest release from Eric Leonhardt Brown, comes 11 years after his prior release and spans genres across an arc of emotion.  Brown returned to the WYSO studios to share the album on Excursions and talked with Niki Dakota about the process of returning to music after a hiatus and and creating Inversion.

Inversion is available now on iTunes and other digital outlets.  Learn more at

Nigerian painter Ben Ibebe has returned to the Miami Valley for a second art show, New Works, at Front Street.   Ibebe visited the WYSO studios to talk with Niki Dakota about the upcoming opening.  He was joined by the Collaboratory's Peter Benkendorf.

Ben Ibebe's New Works exhibition opens on August 19th at Front Street in downtown Dayton.

Fred Bartenstein of the Springfield Rotary Club, and local musician Andy Fox visited WYSO to talk about the Springfield Rotary Club's Third Annual Gourmet Food Truck Competition. The event takes place Saturday, August 13th, from 11am, to 9pm, at Veteran's Park (formerly Cliff Park), 250 Cliff Park Road, Springfield, Ohio.

There will be 35 food trucks, which will serve a variety of dishes from different cultures, such as Cuban, BBQ, Italian, and Mediterranean. There will be live music played throughout the event by several bands, including Andy Fox. Admission to the event is free.

Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band

  This week Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band, a group from Mutual, Ohio, stopped by for a live performance and a chat with Niki Dakota. They’re the founders of the annual Madden Road Music Festival, which takes place Saturday, August 13, at the old Madden Farm in Mutual.

The Miller Road Band is a family affair. Lead singer Daniel Dye, who plays guitar and banjo, is joined by his nieces and nephews: Emily on violin and viola, Carrie on violin, and Thomas on cello. Today they were joined by Dye’s sister, Sarah, who plays a major role in organizing the festival.

UBUNTU Men's Chorus Presents Begin to Love

Jul 26, 2016
UBUNTU Men's Chorus

This week, Niki Dakota talks with Cathy Roma, director of the UBUNTU Men’s Chorus at the London Correctional Institution. UBUNTU’s first album, Begin to Love, was released last month.

Ubuntu is a Zulu word that, according to Roma, means “I am who I am in community—I exist in relationship.” The men in the choir, she says, “Want to be there for each other and learn about the world through each other.”

Pokemon GO Primer from Silas Dakota

Jul 18, 2016

  This week, Niki Dakota talks with Excursions’ senior Pokemon correspondent, also known as her son, Silas. Together they bring listeners up to speed on the new Pokemon GO smartphone game that’s become a worldwide sensation.

With a new album underway, The Pullouts made a return visit to the WYSO studios for a live set on Excursions.  The band chatted with Niki Dakota about recording, upcoming live gigs and more.

The Pullouts will perform at W.O. Wrights on Saturday, July 16th.

Now based in Nashville, Griffin House stopped by the WYSO studios on a visit to his hometown of Springfield, Ohio.  House performed live on Excursions and chatted with Niki Dakota about his local musical roots, life on the road and more.

Griffin House will perform at Veteran's Amphitheater Park in Springfield on July 8th. 

After the overwhelming success of the debut Pure Acoustic showcase, the Yellow Cab will host a follow up show on Saturday, July 9th.  The Yellow Cab's Jeff Opt visited the WYSO studios to talk about the show, which features no microphones or amplifiers, live on Excursions.  He was joined by Charlie Tipton, who played live on the air.

Pure Acoustic 2 is Saturday, July 9th at the Yellow Cab in downtown Dayton.