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:
Has anyone collected the stuff bald people say? How about a busy road grows no grass, or God only made so many perfect heads—the rest he covered in hair. Jorge Luis Borges deemed the 1982 Falklands War between the UK and Argentina as "a fight between two bald men over a comb."
If someone seems too good to be true, he may be a four-flusher. This term for "a fake" or "a phony" comes from the poker slang four-flusher, meaning someone who has four cards of a suit but not yet the full flush. Some people confuse the term as floor-flusher, like in the 1954 Popeye cartoon about a plumbing mishap that makes humorous use of this expression.
Is someone dull as ditchwater or dishwater? The more common phrase, which came into use much earlier, is ditchwater.
What do you call the rear compartment of a station wagon or minivan? Many know it as the way back, not to be confused with the regular back, which is more likely to have seat belts.
Who knows if Harry means "hairy," but we do know that the name Calvin means "bald." It derives from the Latin calvus, which means the same thing, and is also the root of the term Calvary.
Quiz Guy John Chaneski plays master of ceremonies for the Miss Word Pageant, a popularity contest for words based on their Google search frequency. For example, between bacon, lettuce and tomato, bacon takes the prize by far for most Google hits, while lettuce brings up the rear. What’d lettuce do for the talent portion?
What's the difference between Pandora's box and a can of worms? In Greek myth, the contents of the fateful box belonging to Pandora (literally, "all gifts" in ancient Greek) were a mystery. WIth a can of worms, on the other hand, you know the kind of tangled, unpleasant mess you're in for. It's worms.
Does the possessive “s” go at the end of a proper name ending in “s”? What's the possessive of a name like James -- James' or James's? Either's correct, depending on your style guide. The AP Stylebook says you just use an apostrophe, but others say to add the “s”. Your best bet is to choose a style and then be consistent.
The term callow goes back to Old English calu, meaning "bald." The original sense of callow referred to young birds lacking feathers on their heads, then referred to a young man's down cheek, and eventually came to mean "youthful" or "immature."
The word stet was borrowed from the Latin word spelled the same way, which translates "let it stand." Stet is commonly used by writers and editors to indicate that something should remain as written, especially after a correction has been suggested.
Why do we refer to a draw in tic-tac-toe as a cat's game? Throughout the history of the game, cats have been associated with it. In some Spanish-speaking countries, for example, it's known as gato, or "cat."
Photos and tests from the Mars Rover show an abundance of hematite, a dark red mineral that takes its name from the Greek word haima, meaning "blood." Another mineral, goethite, is named for the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, an amateur geologist whose collection of 18,000 minerals was famous throughout Europe.
Is versing, meaning "to compete against someone," a real verb? In the past thirty years, this term has grown in popularity because versus, when spoken, sounds like a conjugated verb. So youngsters especially will talk about one team getting ready to verse another. Similar things happened with misunderstanding the plural forms of kudos (in ancient Greek, "glory") and biceps (literally, "two-headed") — both of those words were originally singular.
To sell woof tickets, or wolf tickets, is African-American slang meaning "to threaten in a boastful manner." Geneva Smitherman, a professor at Michigan State University who's studied the term, believes it has its origins in the idea of a dog barking uselessly.
The term doozie, which refers to something good or first rate, may derive from daisy, as in the flower, sometimes considered an example of excellence. It might also have to do with the Italian actress Eleanora Duse, who toured the States in the 1890s.
Goethe wasn't all about the minerals. He's also quoted as saying, "One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Goethe also said, "Everything is simpler than one can imagine and yet complicated and intertwined beyond comprehension," which seems quite appropriate for a poet whose name graces rocks on another planet.
What does it mean if someone's on a still hunt? This hunting term, for when you're walking quietly to find prey, has been conscripted by the political world to refer to certain kinds of campaign strategies.
Can ordinary also mean "crude" or "crass"? This usage was more common in previous generations, but it is acceptable. It's also the source of ornery, meaning "combative" or "crotchety."
If someone's a piece of work, they're a real pain in the rear. Merriam-Webster defines a piece of work as "a complicated, difficult, or eccentric person." The expression appears to derive from Hamlet.
This episode was hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett.