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:
Shopping malls take their name from the fashionable street now known as Pall Mall in London's St. James area. The game of pall-mall, which involves hitting a ball with a wooden mallet, was once played there.
Listen up, Scrabble players! Zax is a real word that refers to a kind of roofing tool.
A small eating place where the food is not particularly good is sometimes called a grab-it-and-growl.
A crackerjack fellow is someone who's excellent or first-rate. It's most likely the same positive sense of crack found in terms like cracking good, crack team, and crack shot.
The idiom rob Peter to pay Paul, means "to borrow someone from someone in order to repay someone else." In Nicaragua, the same idea is expressed by a phrase that translates as take Juan's clothes to give them to Pedro.
Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a game of phrases involving the letter B.
Mad money is the emergency cash a woman tucked away to get home safely if an evening out went badly. These days, it's largely been replaced by cell phones.
There's a First World and a Third World, but what about a Second World? The Soviet Bloc countries once made up the Second World, but these terms are becoming increasingly irrelevant.
In an earlier episode, we played a game in which we raised the ante on words with hidden "numbers" inside them. For example, forever became five-ever. Many listeners wrote to share Victor Borge's hilarious Inflationary Language video along the same lines.
The legendary baseball announcer Red Barber is credited with popularizing the term the catbird seat, the enviable position in poker where you're last to bet. James Thurber amusing story "The Catbird Seat" published in The New Yorker helped popularize it even further.
Name developer and language observer Nancy Friedman tweeted this curious tracking notice from UPS: "Your package has experienced an exception."
What do you say to the person next to you on the swings who's in sync with you? How about, Get out of my bathtub!
There's some great stuff out there on the web. Among our current favorites are Stan Carey's blog Sentence First, and The Paris Review, where they're recapping Dante's Inferno.
The animal called an aardvark takes its name from an Afrikaans term meaning "earth pig." The word is cognate with the English words earth and pork.
Meetup is an increasingly common substitute for meeting, especially when the gathering's meant to be less formal and attendance is optional.
About that inflationary language: Writing on our Facebook page, Jen Lynch inflated the word tuba, calling it a threeba.
You might want horns, but you're gonna die butt-headed! This expression derives from butt-headed, meaning "without horns," and shows up in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston.
This episode was hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett.