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Comment on piece: Kitty Keeps On Singing

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Review of Kitty Keeps On Singing

I've re-listened and am re-reviewing because the producer recently made some production changes. So subjective, the review business. Today the piece seems stronger, or maybe my mood is different. In any event, I continue to applaud the honoring of this grandmother's strong spirit, and it's still great to hear the home-recordings of Kitty belting out a song. The writing is good throughout, there's a nice blend of text and music of the period, and Kitty is brought to life. She lived through tough times, and the piece feels timely at this particular moment. This is a fine personal offering for Mother's or Memorial Day programming.

Comment on piece: Spring Clean/The "Junk Shrink"

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Review of Spring Clean/The "Junk Shrink"

I'm not really a big fan of the typical "public radio essay"...they usually don't pass my "So what?" test. But this one worked so well the "so what" question seemed moot. It's fun, it's easy to get "hooked", the writing is clever,the delivery is fresh and real, it was personal without being self-centered...it's a nice light touch that will make listeners chuckle.

Comment on piece: Fulton Fish Market

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Review of Fulton Fish Market

This piece provides a thorough overview of the existing market, the sounds and the characters, and touches on the potential problems associated with the pending move to the Bronx. Packed with facts and figures, and sad reflections on the state of the fishing economy (eg. hardly any fish arrive by boat anymore, the tractor trailer is the name of the game these days), this piece paints a complex picture of the issues surrounding the move and as such would be a welcome addition to any show on the fishing or food industry.

Comment on piece: Joey's Phone Call Home

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Review of Joey's Phone Call Home

there is a voyeristic pleasure in listening in on a phone call, which we get in this piece. but there isn't really a story that's unfolding. perhaps if a series of joey's conversations were edited together, so we got a sense of life in rehab, a story could come alive

Comment on piece: Naked Barbies and Deflated Basketballs: A look inside the world of collectors

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Review of Naked Barbies and Deflated Basketballs: A look inside the world of collectors

In this piece we hear from many collectors about what they collect and why they do it. There are many differnt types of voices heard. Along with the music and first rate editing job, this piece really sings.

Comment on piece: The '63 March : Convergence on the Capitol

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Review of The '63 March : Convergence on the Capitol

The ’63 March offers some archival footage that you might have never heard before. While it doesn’t exactly offer a new perspective on its subject, it is interesting to hear the voices of the time. Of the rally, one man, who claims to essentially be all for integration says, “I think that its purpose is communism. I fear it.” It’s a real snapshot of the time, of a certain mentality that can easily be forgotten and lost to the annals of history. I can see this running on any related anniversary.

Comment on piece: The Ring and I: The Passion, The Myth, The Mania

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Review of The Ring and I: The Passion, The Myth, The Mania

Attention-grabbing from the start, The Ring and I explores a little-understood musical aspect that almost unknowingly impacts American life across social and economical levels. From cartoons watched by impovished children to Met performances "graced" by the presence of debutantes, virtually all here have heard at least a segment of Wagnerian opera.

It is also honest in its presentation, including openly addressing Wagner's anti-Semitism.

The presentation is sufficiently broad-ranged to enrapt adult listeners (including professional musicians), yet is simple enough to warrant presenting to children as young as pre-teens. It achieves this by relating the music and story to modern music stories, especially the Ring Trilogy in the movies.

The gift of this presentation is that however stereotyped opera and especially Wagner's opera is in our minds, we are lifted beyond our prejudices to explore the possibilities his music has to enrich all our lives.

Comment on piece: Naked Barbies and Deflated Basketballs: A look inside the world of collectors

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Review of Naked Barbies and Deflated Basketballs: A look inside the world of collectors

A nice enough story as is, but it could profit from losing a couple of minutes. Then it could fit nicely in one of the news mags. Nice mix of voices.

Comment on piece: Joey's Phone Call Home

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Review of Joey's Phone Call Home

The trick to programming this would be the framing. The call itself is not consequential, but the IDEA of the call is. It doesn't resolve or go anywhere particularly, but it opens a window that's worth listening through. If it were contained in a longer piece about Joey, it might feel too long as a "moment." By itself, it would be a challenge to frame, but I think it could be done. Maybe in the context of a series of overheard conversations or verite moments between parents and their kids. The techhnical quality is good, at least over computer speakers, and you at least come away knowing you have heard something real. It would definitely be a break from standard public radio fare, which is something most stations can use.

Comment on piece: Confessions of Teen Stripper

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Review of Confessions of Teen Stripper

I would put this on our air, mainly because it's a very particular first-person perspective we don't hear from much. Yes, as other reviewers said, it has some flaws on the radiophonic scale, but if we were doing a call-in show, for instance, on the sex industry with journalists and social workers, this piece would bring it home. The context would be key, but a good programmer could make the right nest for this, by preparing the listener. I would be appreciative to a public radio station that included this perspective, even thought it might not be as well developed as it could be.

Comment on piece: Firefighters Pt 1

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Review of Firefighters Pt 1

I liked the editing style, tight and offbeat, with a lot of interesting music mixed in. Along the lines of TAL, but with one theme and music between the informal interviews about firefighting, life in the station, the politics of the station house and the chain of command. It is very interesting to hear about this line of work -- many kid's dream job and how it came to be. Personal, rich with a variety of songs and interesting to hear.

Comment on piece: Joey's Phone Call Home

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Review of Joey's Phone Call Home

I liked this piece and found myself drawn into it. The phone call speaks for itself- there is no need to elaborate with a narrative. It is a refreshingly honest dialogue between a son, his mother and little sister. The power lies not in what is said- but what is not said.

Comment on piece: Massachusetts/Mongolia Sister Stations - Introduction

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Review of Massachusetts/Mongolia Sister Stations - Introductory Piece

This piece literally gave me goose bumps at several moments- at the delight of hearing the rolling melody of a sea shanty responded to by mesmerizing Huntu (throat) singing, the clapping rhythms of sea scallops met by the yearning cries of baby camels. The Mongolian Sister Station project invites people to find poetry throughout the mundane moments of their lives, by anticipating how those moments might ring in distant foreigners’ ears for the first time. After hearing this story, I found myself walking along a path I usually only treat with the blurred perception of routine, combing through its suddenly rich audio textures for sounds that might convey a flicker of what my life here is, to someone in the Gobi. I am extremely eager to hear what people across the US and in Mongolia come up with.
The Developing Radio Partners project also represents a profound leap down the path I hope more media travels. In heated debates about globalization, the media is commonly targeted as a primary force of cultural homogenization, as both a symbol and perpetuator of tragic development discrepancies. This project serves as a tremendous example that modern technology and media can in fact build valuable forums for human exchange, empowering rather than overpowering local communities and culture. The fact that the audience is invited to participate in this effort makes it even more sincere, effective, and exhilarating. It is an inspiring concept that I hope stations across the nation somehow emulate.

Comment on piece: Strip Club USA Part Two

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Review of Strip Club USA Part Two

In this second installment of Strip Club USA, Borten continues to explore the much maligned and misunderstood world of the strip club. Part two has a slightly darker edge, filling out the introductory chapter with an exploration of the psychological aftermath of prolonged exposure to the club scene. Borten delves into the mutual fantasies of the strippers and their clients and deflates both. Part two also strays a little further from the story-telling vox format of the first to offer some grander pronouncements and “voice of the clinician” statements. But Borten still continues to offer small moments of the mundane work-a-day life that all-at-once open up onto greater psycho-sexual, emotional truths. And there’s something about hearing stories aided along by the not-so-distant strains of Bon Jovi coming off a dance stage that really makes you feel like you’re there. Borten’s project attempts to foster understanding, and I think she succeeds without pandering.

Comment on piece: Sheridan Expressway

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Review of Sheridan Expressway

A perfectly good piece of reporting for stations in NYC. To make it of interest to PDs beyond the tristate area, it might be matched with other stories about traffic, highway, and transportation mayhem.

Comment on piece: Massachusetts/Mongolia Sister Stations - Introduction

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Review of Massachusetts/Mongolia Sister Stations - Introductory Piece

Hard to know where to begin, but if we are ever going to escape the echo chamber of our culture, it might very well be with something like this. The baby camels kill me -- do they wag their tails (do they have tails?). Jay sets the table wonderfully here -- as per usual. College stations trading with college stations, for example. And we don't always have to go 3/4s of the way around the globe to do this (or 1/4 if you go the other way).

Stations are logical traders, but what about producer pen pals? And how do we find stations and/or producer partners elsewhere?

Comment on piece: Strip Club USA Part One

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Review of Strip Club USA Part One

Helen Borten takes us into the world of the strip joint, examining its customs and rituals—the buying of drinks, the attempts to date dancers—and she brings to her subject the same curiosity and care that an anthropologist studying tribal customs might. Borten’s technique is to bounce around between all the people that populate the world she is exploring—the bouncers, the strippers, the clients—in order to create a sort of multi-perspectived, almost cubist rendering of her subject. But Strip Club USA is at its strongest when it zeros in on one particular person’s story and stays with them long enough to draw a full portrait, and when this occurs, she manages to make us care about them. “I like getting compliments from men my father’s age,” says one young stripper in a moment that just freezes you. Certain parts are structured as a kind of she said/ he said testimonial that shifts between strippers and their clients and, at their best, the revelations that pour forth transcend the world of the strip joint and say something about human sexual, emotional relationships. Strip Club really digs out all kinds of possible perspectives, never stopping to rest on any one pat point-of-view… like, say, all men are jerks, which would be valid, but also easier than what Strip Club aspires to do. It keeps searching out new ground and Borten is never judgmental. She has chosen articulate subjects and she allows them to speak for themselves. In so doing, they succeed in sucking you into their world. Their stories, while sad, are also funny. One stripper tells of her days as a dominatrix and the one client she had who paid for a 100 lemon pies to be thrown in his face. Another guy paid her to pretend she was drowning in quicksand. Strip Club could run as a part of a series dealing with women in the work force, human sexuality and economics… or just a series about sex. People like sex.

Comment on piece: Melissa's Diary, Part 1: Teen Mom

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Review of Melissa in New Haven: Teen Mom

Melissa's story is unique, but it also brings out universal aspects of teenaged motherood: I listened to this piece with a teenaged mom and the instructor at her school, a high school for teenaged moms, and they both recognized a lot in this piece.
The story is well told and sound-rich with parts of Melissa's life, including even the birth of her child. Melissa is realistic about her situation, but it is clear that she is determined to be a great mother. This is a great piece to stand on its own, or in a series on youth or motherhood.

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Review of Packin' Heat (deleted)

A really interesting subject, a good story. Could be shorter. One troubling element is the shifting back and forth of voice from first person to more traditional reporter. Maybe there are really two stories here: What does it feel like, as a vegetarian, to shoot a gun? And then there are lying lies telling us guns make life safer and the streets more crime-free.

Comment on piece: Singing BeeGees in the Pit

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Review of Singing BeeGees in the Pit

It's always reasuring to encounter someone who makes a living doing what he/she loves to do. In this case it's singing in the shower. Well, not exactly but that's the analogy Manoel Felciano offers in describing his job a as pit singer. How deep is your love for the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack? If it runs decidedly deep then you'll really like this. This piece would be great for Labor Day, for a series on poeple who work 'behind-the -scenes,' or a series on unusual jobs. It also stands on its own so if you have the time you should consider using it. You could easily shave 34 seconds off it too to accomodate the new ATC clock. This is somehting you would hear on ATC, Weekend Edition and possibly Market Place.