Playlist: News Station Picks for April '10
Compiled By: PRX Curators
Here are April picks for news stations from PRX News Format Curator Naomi Starobin.
Jobs, jobs, jobs. Ever want to ask people with interesting or weird jobs what it's like? This month, a collection of stories that take you to a room full of 911 operators, to an ambitious marriage broker in Vietnam, a sound engineer who caters to Elvis and God, and back in time to the second World War to see what theater set designers added to the war effort.
Have a listen!
This feature is part of a series called "Working," by Homelands Productions out of Ithaca, NY, and Marketplace Radio. You will find yourself immediately immersed in this story of a Vietnamese marriage broker who matches Korean men with Vietnamese brides. It is sound-rich in just the right way.
The reporter is Kelly McEvers.
Be sure to check out the rest of the series. They are all compelling and well-produced.
If you're a Korean man who wants to marry a Vietnamese woman, Hang Nga is your go-to gal. She'll help you select a bride, buy the rings, and arrange the ceremony, reception, and honeymoon. It only takes three days – and several thousand dollars. Vietnam’s communist government frowns on such matchmaking practices, but Nga says it’s worth the risk. Making good money means a brighter future for her two young children. Kelly McEvers' profile is part of the WORKING series from Homelands Productions.
From Aaron Henkin | 08:10
The stress that goes with being a 911 operator n Baltimore comes through nicely in this feature by independent reporter/producer Aaron Henkin. But it also captures how seriously operators take their work and how they feel about what they do. It was created in 2007, but it's relevant today.
Working at a call center can be an extremely stressful job, whether you're fielding customer service calls for a bank, a computer company, or any other large organization. Chances are, when the phone rings you'll be dealing with someone who's got a problem. This is a story about a phone center where the callers' problems are about as bad as they can get...
From Sarah Kramer | 03:40
New York City independent reporter/producer Sarah Kramer brings us to Rabat, Morocco, with this profile of a man who sells water. In it, listeners will learn why it is that different people buy different water, how the water seller lets the buyer decide what to pay, and just how to pronounce "grrb," which is his job title.
Note: Kramer socs out "For the World Vision Report..."
Mustafa walks the streets of Rabat, the capital of Morocco, dressed in a colorful red costume with brass cups swinging from his jacket. His outfit draws attention, as does the bell he rings. He carries a sheepskin sack filled with a basic commodity: water.
From Sarah Elzas | 04:22
Talk about obscure jobs! This piece looks at how a group of Broadway set designers put their skills to work for the US Army during World War II. Think camouflage and inflatable tanks. The piece combines a lively interview with with archival audio.
Warning: it ends a bit abruptly with a cut. No soc-out.
The United States entered world war II in December of 1941. Everyone got involved, even artists. 'Fanfare for the Common Man' was composer Aaron Copland's contribution to the war effort. This piece looks at how a group of Broadway set designers put their skills to work in service of the US armed forces.
From Laura Strickler | 03:09
A funny and thoughtful first-person piece on the frustration of getting a recorded voice at the other end of a phone call. It's not bitter or whiny, and resolves nicely as reporter Laura Strickler gets help from a "real person."
Strickler is an independent reporter/producer in New York City. The piece includes lots of sound from the robots and the human operator.
This is a commentary about the loss of human interaction from the automation of customer service. "Julie" the Amtrak automated voice has replaced 600 call center employees, so this piece is a "conversation" with her. It's also includes a gripe about how some companies charge customers to talk to a live agent.