Playlist: News Station Picks for August '10
Compiled By: PRX Curators
Maybe these slow news days of August have you thinking about something fresh, new and lively. Well, you can’t give each of your listeners a yappy puppy, but how about a new series? Great stuff out there. I had a look around on PRX and it was hard to pick just a few. This list displays a range from series with short interstitial pieces that you can plug in to a news magazine or show, to longer ones that would make great choices for weekend hours that right now just aren’t quite dazzling your audience. Have a listen!
From Smart City Radio | 59:00
This is one in the series from Smart City Radio. All of the pieces are about cities...sometimes specific cities and how people are dealing with particular problems (Detroit, Syracuse), and other segments, like this one, are issue-oriented. These are heady and intellectual, and well-suited for an audience that is concerned or curious about urban life and its future.
It's hosted by Carol Coletta.
Ten years ago, two undergrads from Yale noticed the fundamental gap between their university and the community surrounds it. To bridge this divide they formed the volunteer training organization that's now known as LIFT. We'll speak with Ben Reuler, the executive director of LIFT, about harnessing the energy of students to engage them in the community and help combat poverty.
Good design can do many things, but can it change the world? My guest Warren Berger has written a book on how design is doing just that. The book, titled Glimmer, shows how design in action addressing business, social, and personal challenges, and improving the way we think, work, and live.
For that half-hour time slot, go science! Lots of lively interviews in these segments, along with commentaries and a question-of-the-week. This series is produced in Chicago and Tokyo by Dr. Charles Lee and Dr. Frank Ling, who also host the show. They are natural and curious, and lean toward short questions and long answers.
There are pieces on cancer-sniffing dogs, outsmarting your genes, number theory, ant adventures, and lots more, displaying great breadth.
It's geared to listeners who are interested in science...no college level inorganic chem required.
Archaeology is often portrayed as a romantic adventure to the remote corners of the globe. But, what is the life of an archaeologist really like? On this program, Dr. Donald Ryan discussed unconventional archaeology. For more information, visit the website: www.groks.net.
Dueling Docs is a great idea, well executed. Each two-minute piece answers a simple medical or health question. The host, Dr. Janice Horowitz, lays out a question (Should you get cosmetic surgery? Is dying your hair bad for you? Can stretching make you more prone to injury?), presents opposing views, and concludes with advice.
This would fit in nicely during a weekend or weekday news show. A good two minutes.
While the rest of the media doesn't bother to challenge the latest news flash, Dueling Docs always presents the other side of a medical issue, the side that most everyone ignores. Janice gets doctors to talk frankly about controversial health matters - then she sorts things out, leaving the listener with a no-nonsense take-home message
This series, Global Guru, claims to "ask one simple question -- just one -- about somewhere in the world." Those questions have included: "How do the Hopi bring rain to the desert?" "How and why do Thai people categorize their food?" "Why are there so many barbershops in Tanzania?" This is a great series of three-minute pieces you can squeeze into just about any hour. Rachel Louise Snyder out of Washington, DC is the producer. She says "each week, our mandate is to surprise listeners." Your listeners would say she succeeds.
The Global Guru is a weekly public radio show that seeks to celebrate global culture, particularly in countries where Americans have either single narrative story lines, like Afghanistan (war), Thailand (sex tourism), Rwanda, (genocide), or perhaps no story lines at all, like East Timor, Moldova, Malta, Lesotho, etc. Engaging and rich in sound, the 3:00 interstitial seeks to enrich our collective understanding of the vastness of human experience. Presenting station is WAMU in Washington, DC and sponsored by American University in DC. Some of our favorite past shows include: How do Cambodians predict the harvest each year? How did Tanzania become the capitol of barbershops? How and why does Thailand categorize food? What is Iceland’s most feared culinary delight? How do you track a Tasmanian devil? What are the hidden messages in Zulu beadwork?
A Way with Words (Series)
Produced by A Way with Words
Public radio listeners, as you know, are curious and intelligent. And they are, as you know, sticklers for language. Satisfy their curiosity with this hour-long series. It's hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette, who talk about word usage and origin, and take questions from callers. Often those questions center around a word or expression that the caller recalls from childhood and is curious about. The mood is informal and the hosts joust a bit in a friendly way with their answers.
Most recent piece in this series:
Whatever Roget's Thesaurus may have you believe, sinister buttocks is not a synonym for "left behind." But a growing number of students are blindly using the thesaurus, or Rogeting, trying mask plagiarism. And it's not working.
Next Thursday could mean this coming Thursday or the Thursday after. And despite the push to make oxt weekend a term for the weekend after next, even grammarians haven't settled on what next refers to, so it's always important to clarify with the person you're talking to.
Among Grant's candidates for his 2014 Words of the Year list are the phrases I can't even and Can you not.
The origin of the exclamation Balderdash!, meaning "nonsense," isn't entirely known. It is clear, however, that back in the 17th century balderdash could refer to a frothy mix of liquids, such as beer and buttermilk, or brandy and ale, and later to a jumbled mix of words.
The Irish writer Roddy Doyle has some good advice about using a thesaurus: "Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort."
Our quiz guy John Chaneski is back with a game of wedding puns. For example, if Ella Fitzgerald married Darth Vader, she'd be, well, a kind of shoe, or something that might convey you to the top floor of a building.
Hell's Bells!, an exclamation along the lines of darn!, is likely just variation of hellfire, and reinforced by its rhyme.
Back when George W. Bush was a student at a New England prep school, he took to the thesaurus to impress a teacher, and wound up using a synonym for the wrong meaning tear. Hence, the telltale phrase lacerates falling from my eyes wound up in one of his papers.
In addition to being the name of a plastic toy from the 60's, the term rat fink was once used specifically to mean a narc or stool pigeon. Today, it's used generally to mean a despicable person.
Like the boy when the calf ran over him, I had nothing to say, is an old saying describing someone who's speechless, and goes back to the mid-19th century.
A caller whose wife is from eastern Kentucky says she uses the term swarpy to describe clothing that's too big, ill-fitting, and may even drag on the ground. This term probably derives from an old Scots verb "swap," meaning to "sweep" or "swing," or otherwise "move downward forcibly."
Are we a proverb culture anymore? In a largely urban society, we're not likely to immediately recognize the meaning of the saying between hay and grass, meaning "weak" or "feeble."
The longer the description of an item on a menu, the more expensive it'll likely be. In The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu, Stanford University linguist Dan Jurafsky shows that with each extra letter in a menu description, the price goes up about 69 cents. For a really comprehensive collection of menus, from the earliest Chinese American restaurants to old cruise ship menus, we recommend the New York Public Library's menu database.
Spleeny, meaning "hypersensitive" or "hypochondriacal," is chiefly heard in New England and goes back to an old sense of the spleen affecting one's mood.
The writer Clay Shirky tipped us off to a morbid bit of slang used in the dying business of print newspapers, where obituaries are referred to as subscriber countdowns.
Widdershins, also spelled withershins, means "counterclockwise," and can also refer to someone or something that's off or backwards. Another word for "the opposite of widdershins," by the way, is deasil.
Before you insult a man, try walking a mile in his shoes. That way, when you insult him, you're a mile away -- you have his shoes.
For a good time, google wake vs. awaken. Perhaps the most vexing verb in English, the term for waking up still puzzles the experts.
Ingrid Bergman once said, "a kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous."
This episode was hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett.