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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.

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Review of Barbie: Ken-Free (deleted)

Pretty good, but linked to specific time (the announcement of the breakup). Becomes dated quickly, but worth a listen if lead-in could put it in time context.

Comment on piece: Amanda's Diary: Girlfriend

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Review of Amanda from New York: Girlfriend

First off, I'm so glad these Radio Diaries are available again.

There's a segment in here with Amanda talking to her parents about her sexuality. It is so real, and completely captures the essence of what children face when they confront their parents' traditional values. Something I love about this is that there's no resolution to the story. It ends in the middle, where Amanda is.

I'm planning to use this, along with other Teen Diaries, and stories from Blunt Youth to do a special program on teens.

Comment on piece: Katie Becomes a Mom

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Review of Katie Becomes a Mom

An honest piece of self-exploration. Shows you the power of radio to tell an intimate, personal story that rings true. Simple production - one voice but Blunt Youth Radio is to be commended for providing an opportunity to the youth in this juvenile facility the tools to create some meaning and expression from a sad set of circumstances. There are a some technical problems at the end so it would need to be edited or faded out. This would be a good follow-up for any news magazine that might feature a juvenile crime or detention story. Access to these facilities is hard to get and every state has enough to make this a universal experience for any local station....Dmae

Comment on piece: The Most German Day Ever

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Review of The Most German Day Ever

This story reminded me of when I participated in a race in Munich called "Sauf und Lauf", or "Drink and Run", in which contestants race around a track while charged with finishing an entire case of beer between 2 partners. I miss living in Germany a great deal and this story really tapping into those nostalgic feelings. For all the stereotypes that get pinned to the Germans, they are nothing if not fun-loving yet extremely earnest.

Production-wise, I am sorry, but the extremely rough recordings started to bother me. I could have let it go to highlight an act hear and there but to carry a 13 minute story it was a stretch.

Furthermore, the producer did a masterful job narrating the piece, but I wonder if he could have hit all of the important story elements and bits of fun "German-ness" while shorting the whole thing maybe 3-4 minutes.

A fun and informative piece none-the-less

Prost!

Comment on piece: Profile of a (Reality) Composer

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Review of Profile of a (Reality) Composer

This piece focuses on the only aspect of reality TV that is in anyway real, and as such it provides an interesting (if brief) insight into the life of a modern-day musician with all the hightech gizmos he relies on. It provides historical perspective against a backdrop of familiar TV theme tunes and throws in a few surprising details like the fact that the Simpsons is one of only a few TV shows that uses a full orchestra for it's soundtrack. It is engaging and moves along nicely though it ends rather abruptly.

Comment on piece: Viagra: Medical and social effects of Viagra.

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Review of Viagra:

Viagra and other medications that address erectile disfunction are so omnipresent on TV and the internet, and absent on public radio as far as I am aware, that this piece's time may have come. According to the subject of this interview, erectile dysfuction affects 52% of men over 40 to some extent. This suprising statistic makes the barrage of advertisments and emails that we are exposed to daily a little easier to accept. The piece comprises a very indepth interview that covers all apsects of the viagra phenomenom, from diagnosis and prescription, to overuse and abuse, and puts it in the context of heterosexual relations. It clearly deals with the subject matter from a male perspective and oversimplifies the female side of things a little, but nevertheless it is an important issue and this is an informative interview. As for airing, the subject matter is inevitably going to raise a few eyebrows, but it is dealt with in a mature fashion and is not overly graphic, so I wouldn't have any qualms about airing it at any time. I appreciated that the interviewee did not continually plug his book; I find it grating when every answer to a question is prefaced with "well in my book you will find....."!

Comment on piece: Family

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Review of Family

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Tolstoy probably turns in his grave every time this is quoted but how can you not quote Tolstoy when reviewing a show dedicated to exploring the family dynamic as portrayed in Children's Literature? This show is wonderfully eclectic. And it's structurally non-linear . This gives the show an unusual momentum; the pacing is brilliant as the content alternately appeals to adults and kids. You don't even have to like reading: their unconventional analysis of "Goldie Locks," could engage even the most hardened bibliophobe.

Broadcast this on the weekend; either Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Comment on piece: The Most German Day Ever

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Review of The Most German Day Ever

This is what radio is all about: informative, amusing, entertaining, engaging listening. The reporter tells his tale with a dry humor that does not corrode his respect and love for the subject. Even the poor sound quality of his clips somehow adds to the color of the story.
As for the Germans having a sense of humor...hell...they're funnier than the Dutch.

Comment on piece: The Most German Day Ever

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Review of The Most German Day Ever

Great story, VERY entertaining! Being a Swede, I enjoyed the Swedish connection, but even more so the image of "big brother" Germany. I was laughing out loud watching the power point presentation, but since I started it a little late, and it was a little out of sync with the audio, I got lost in the many amusing details. I would love it to air in Sweden as well!

Comment on piece: The Singing Yeast Cell

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Review of The Singing Yeast Cell

It may seem like this is only for the technologically-inclined -- but I'm not -- and I still loved it. This piece is a great scientific sound journey into the life of cells and the scientists who study them. The sound is simply amazing - eery and other-worldly -- and it completely takes you out of your environment and puts you somewhere else. This is what radio was made for! I found it fascinating and definitely would recommend it to any programmer who wants to give the audience a wild ride.

Comment on piece: The Most German Day Ever

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Review of The Most German Day Ever

I like the tone of this piece -- the narration is very entertaining as is the background music. You don't have to have lived in Germany to appreciate this. It makes it seem as if the Germans almost have a sense of humor! It's the right mix of bizarre, funny and entertaining -the best part is that the humor exposes the humanity of these people in Krautsand. I hope someone airs this!

Comment on piece: Hollow Victory

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Review of Hollow Victory

Missing toes, internal hemorrhaging, black lung, eating flour and sugar for dinner: the life of West Virginian miners. This sounds straight out of Steinbeck, and like Steinbeck Helen Borten explores the economic problems of rural labor , the political power of the bullying coal industry. Unlike Steinbeck , Borten's piece is not nearly as aggressive in its social criticism. Rather, her investigative reporting is so thorough and her interviewees so compelling, that the listener is sufficiently equipped to draw his /her own conclusions.

When would you broadcast a piece that explores the darker side of American industry, the realities of the working poor? Well, that's the beauty of an election year because just about anything that's political is relevant. This would also work nicely if you paired it with another piece from Borten's series to make a one-hour show. Another option for broadcast is Labor Day but why wait it's six months when this resonates today?

Comment on piece: Going Home: Cristel's Diary

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Review of Going Home: Cristel's Diary

This piece is an amazing document of a young woman, named Cristel, as she is released from prison after serving three years for an incredibly violent crime she committed when she was a troubled (and pregnant) 15-year-old.

Like all great documentaries, the piece offers a subject that is relatable, but doesn't fit into predictable patterns or clean outcomes. When you first hear this piece, there is a nagging feeling that you are about to experience a cliche: showing how "the system" really does work. However, the more time you spend with Cristel, you realize the change she has experienced has nothing to do with the penal system and everything to do with the emergence of her own character. She is the source of her success.

When the piece ends, we see Cristel happy and excited to have a chance at life with her daughter, but everything isn't rosey and resolved. We're left with Cristel commenting on seeing her first sun rise, commenting, "It was so beautiful...it made me think this is what normal life is like. I remember that."

Strangely, it would be a mistake to try to "peg" this piece to a topic or program "theme"--that effort won't serve the piece or the program well--it's too universal for that. Stations should just drop this in as it fits. It is engaging, inspiring, and tremendously human.