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Comment on piece: Kohler Factory

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Review of Kohler Factory

Solid arts feature. The kids voices at the top are full of life and the sonic arrangement flows well, although it bogs down a bit in the middle. If you were doing a series on artists or residencies, this would be a good addition. I think the visual environment might have been better drawn. I didn't get enough mental pictures and I know there must have been plenty available. You'll need to cut off Kurt Anderson's Studio 360 intro and outro, and you need to be careful of an ambience cut at the end. It would be better to upload pieces like this without the program hosts.

Comment on piece: Elviscop

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Review of Elviscop

Profiles are not usually my thing but this is a delightful and beautifully produced piece. A graceful and entertaining blend of many sounds and voices--the Elviscop, those who work with him, his fans and, of course, the King himself -- that are woven together in a way that is surprising, funny and touching all at once. A tribute to Elvis and the inherent value of following your dreams...whatever they may be.

Comment on piece: An Insider's View of Freak Radio

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Review of An Insider's View of Freak Radio

A solid straightforward news-type piece on the state of things at Freak Radio. Given it's a "pirate station", I was hoping for something a little more edgy, some more examples of what IS on the air. I was curious about the station's "personality" - (though everyone's on-air names are intriguing....Reckless, Skidmark, Uncle Dennis). Since there wasn't an actual news item then I think this might have been more engaging as a portrait piece - not just talking heads. In fact this piece is good background but this listener wants to hear/know more. notes to producer.

Comment on piece: Christmas in the Trenches

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Review of Christmas in the Trenches

Nice mixing of music and actualities. Mood fits an evening show, perhaps "cross-themed" with peace and war issues. Would be a excellent series part on music related to war.

Comment on piece: NYC Taxi Medallions

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Review of NYC Taxi Medallions

A very informative piece. Professional sounding - rich mix of narration, interview clips and sound effects. Awesome voice. This producer is certainly talented.

Comment on piece: This American Cheese

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Review of This American Cheese

I'm with Kyle. This guy's nailed the TAL way. It's no stirring indictment - there's no bite like you might expect from a top notch Gouda or Gorgonzola - but hey, for 2:35 minutes, it deserves a chance to shine on air and garners its share of chuckles. Well-produced, coherent.

Comment on piece: Katie Becomes a Mom

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Review of Katie Becomes a Mom

This story itself is very powerful and very moving. But Katie tells it in one fell swoop. I was waiting for a break, even just a pause in her story so the sad, poignant parts would stand out and I could process them. The story is told very clearly, one thing happened after the other. I just wanted some pauses so it could sink in.

Comment on piece: Spam-o-Rama!

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Review of Spam -o-Rama!

That’s right folks SPAM is no longer the plain Ham in a can your mother knew. With inventively named dishes and spokespersons like Spamish Rice and Spamela Anderson respectively, this mostly pork dish is reaching new heights of culinary enlightenment.

In this piece producer John Basile takes a humorous look at a local Maine tradition by the name of SPAM-O-Rama. The piece is fun, light not at all to serious and just a plain good time to listen to. The audio quality is good as is the narrative writing, I certainty got a good laugh in and found myself craving of all things… Well you know.

Comment on piece: Too Curvy and Not Enough Shoulder

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Review of Too Curvy and Not Enough Shoulder

Some truly lovely tape here. Kelly is totally sweet -- I love his opening scene, and there's another bit of wonderful tape from him towards the end. What we have here is a bicycle encased in vaseline, and a teenager who talks about the seat of a fast bike as being his favorite place to pray. Beautiful.

The mom, though, feels superfluous. I'd rather have spent the time getting deeper into Kelly's world. He's such a sweetie, and he somehow doesn't seem to know how appealing and unusual he is, but there's that loneliness -- he can't find a soul to shoot baskets with. What's going on with this kid?

Alternatively, you might go the less-is-more route, use the existing tape of Kelly, and tighten this into a 2-minute piece. Give us something that whirrs past headed down the mountain, and leaves us wanting more.

True confessions: I was lured to this piece by seeing that Gillian Welch is in the mix. So maybe I'm too close to the music to have a valid perspective, but my main quibble with this piece does have to do with the use of music. I often felt distracted from the main story by trying to track the correspondences, and the non-correspondences, between the song and the two characters. (The music levels are also a bit hot.) It may be that the only thing standing in the way of this being an utterly delightful piece is the urge to match the story to the music. Dare to lose it. Try to find the shape of the story that comes from Kelly. You might do better by having the narrative carried along by wild sound, instead of by the song -- you could figure out a way to tape Kelly actually cruising on his bike, then use that as your "traveling music." There's a lot of promise here, and I'd love to hear it fulfilled -- then, maybe, we could hear some Gillian Welch.

Comment on piece: Too Curvy and Not Enough Shoulder

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Review of Too Curvy and Not Enough Shoulder

A nice little slice of life in eastern Kentucky, by way of interviews with a mom and her son, deftly mixed with a Gillian Welch song. He rides a bicycle, which is kind of a big deal around there, she started raising her family when she was 17, which is not such a big deal. The final mix is a visit with some friendly, thoughtful, charming folks, who will give your listeners some insight into how folks around Appalachia think and live. It's a kind of gentle telling, not forced too much, which is kind of how it's done in those parts...

Comment on piece: For the Blood Is the Life

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Review of For the Blood Is the Life

Here's an unusual mix that's sure to turn a few heads: religion, children, and goat-killing. This story provides a fascinating glimpse into Appalachian family life and tradition as it weaves together the laughter of children, the the sweet but final bleats of a yearling goat, some heartfelt biblical testimony, and practical advice on raising and killing goats...
a story with a strong sense of place, tradition and culture.

Comment on piece: City Lights

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Review of City Lights

China is the story of our time and what happens there in the next decade or so will surely shape the world we live in.
I think all journalism about China is incredibly important and this story adds quite a lot to what little I know about the people and the country. This piece could run cut down or perhaps as a series during Morning Edition or ATC; news pegs abound. It could use some smoothing out -- the naration and ambient levels were off in places.

Comment on piece: Dyslexia: Identifying, coping and learning to read.

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Review of Dyslexia: Identifying, coping and learning to read.

When shopping for content to air on their stations, one important criterion many programmers use is whether pieces/programs offer something that a station could not do themselves. When listening to this program, it's hard to feel that this program meets that mark.

The program features a 29-minute telephone interview with a book author about the subject of her book-dyslexia. The content of the interview is pretty boilerplate, offering little surprise or engagement. The interview begins with the first question and rolls forward without much of a sense of purpose or direction.

The audio quality of the guest is an issue as well. Many stations avoid telephone-quality interviews with their own local material (let alone acquired material) unless it the information is too urgent or better facilities aren't available. Since the content of this interview is neither time-sensitive or is the doctor calling from a remote location, the quality standard should be higher.

The host is not as warm and dynamic as one would hope, sounding very restrained and stoic--especially when reading copy. The program does a good job of putting the content first, but perhaps too good a job. The host offers short, quick questions and let's the guests go, and go, and go. The host does ask for occasional clarification, but is hesitant to draw out, challenge, or question the ideas put forth by his guest.

Comment on piece: Different Worlds - Moving From NY to San Fran

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Review of Moving From NY to San Fran

This piece starts with a great hook and gives a wonderful focused look at San Francisco through the eyes of New Yorkers with brief moments of how NYC looks to a native SF woman. Having many friends who are tortured by this choice (my city of choice is SF, where people strip down and jump into hot tubs "more often than you'd expect," notes a New Yorker), I felt this piece was relevant to those of us who want to be in on a piece of the action here in America. Like Paris and Rome, SF and NYC are unique and pulsing with intense creative human energy. The piece could be tightened by focusing almost entirely on the thoughts of the New Yorkers who moved to San Fran. The music was grabbing in the beginning but somewhat distracting by the end. This piece would work well after a big winter storm when people in New York may be wondering what the grass looks like on the other side. (It's green and 65 degrees)

Comment on piece: Two-Minute Danger Theater 02: The Voice "Death Stalks at Midnight" Ch 2

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Review of Two-Minute Danger Theater 02: The Voice "Death Stalks at Midnight" Ch 2

If you like parodies of old-time radio, this is snappy and well-produced. It's a continuing story, so if you're looking for a (limited) series as a drop-in for a news magazine or arts show, this would be a good choice.

Comment on piece: Doorbells, . . Offramp

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Review of Doorbells

The editing is impeccable. The content is a fictional conversation among three elders about cows, doorbells and other miscellany.
This is the kind of piece you would hear on Sunday Edition. If radio drama is your cup of tea then consider broadcasting this when you have the proper gap.

Comment on piece: Different Worlds - Moving From NY to San Fran

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Review of Moving From NY to San Fran

Interesting piece--good acts and tracks. I wanted to hear more comment about the differences between east coast/west coast mentalities. Thank goodness the narrator mentions (close to the end) that there is, in fact, a whole country of "other" places to live besides NY or San Fran.

This story would be perfect for the obvisous KQED or WNYC, but also other stations as well. Those of us who live in the vast "in between" are still acquaintened with the east vs. west quandry.

Comment on piece: Charlie Zimmerman, Water Tower Builder

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Review of Charlie Zimmerman, Water Tower Builder

Joe Richman's "New York Works" series remind me of the best Murray Kempton columns. It's a sensitivity and a style not to mention a sound that's missing from our media and our lives. Richman champions real people who discourse knowledgeably and beautifully on the mundane and the notorious. This series would be a treat anytime; how about this summer during the Repbulican convention?

Comment on piece: Weill and Vegas

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Review of Weill and Vegas

The metaphor is the message in this piece. The opera Kurt Weill wrote 75 years ago with Berthold Brecht "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny" imagined a city of sin decades before Las Vegas became the capital of American decadence. The music from the opera is a wonderful flourish at the beginning and at the end of this piece but I tiredof hearing it throughout. The story would work best at a much shorter length; less of a documentary and more of a travelogue.
 

 

Comment on piece: Sweet Phil from Sugar Hill

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Review of Sweet Phil from Sugar Hill

An engaging personal story with characters we really get to know and care about.