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:
After inadvertently maligning marmots in an earlier discussion of the term whistle pig, Martha makes a formal apology to any marmots that might be listening.
Uff-da! is an exclamation of disgust or annoyance. In Norwegian, it means roughly the same as Yiddish Oy vey!, and is now common in areas of the U.S. settled by Norwegians, particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The worm has turned suggests a reversal of fortune, particularly the kind of situation in which a meek person begins behaving more confidently or starts defending himself. In other words, even the lowliest of creatures will still strike back if sufficiently provoked, an idea Shakespeare used in Henry VI, Part 3, where Lord Clifford observes, "The smallest worm will turn being trodden on, and doves will peck in safeguard of their brood."
Raise hell and put a chunk under it is simply an intensified version of the phrase raise hell, meaning "to cause trouble" or "create a noisy disturbance."
The phrases You bet your boots! and You bet your britches! mean "without a doubt" and most likely originate from gambling culture, where you wouldn't want to bet your boots or trousers without being confident that you'd win.
Quiz Guy John Chaneski takes us on a road trip, which means another round of the License Plate Game!
A Chicago-area listener wonders: When dictionaries go from print to online, are any words removed? What's the best print dictionary to replace the old one on her dictionary stand? For more about dictionaries and their history, Grant recommends the Cordell Collection of Dictionaries at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.
When two people are walking side-by-side holding hands but briefly separate to go around an obstacle on opposite sites, they might say bread and butter. This phrase apparently stems from an old superstition that if the two people want to remain inseparable as bread and butter, they should invoke that kind of togetherness. There are several variations of this practice, including the worry that if they fail to utter the phrase, they'll soon quarrel. Another version appears early in an episode of the old TV series The Twilight Zone, featuring a very young William Shatner.
John Webster's 1623 tragedy The Duchess of Malfi includes the memorable lines
Glories, like glowworms, afar off shine bright, / But looked to near have neither heat nor light. Much later, Stephen Crane expressed a similar idea in his poem A Man Saw a Ball of Gold in the Sky.
A woman in Monticello, Florida, is bothered by the phrase on tomorrow, and feels that the word on is redundant. However, this construction is a dialect feature, not a grammatical mistake. It has roots in the United Kingdom and probably derives from the phrase on the morrow.
What phrases do you use to encourage others to pick themselves up and dust themselves off? move on? What words do you say to acknowledge someone's bad luck and encourage them to move on? In a discussion on our Facebook group, listeners offer lots of suggestions, including tough beans, tough darts, suck it up, tough nougies, and you knew it was a snake when you picked it up.
A listener in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, requests advice about expanding her vocabulary as a writer, but admits she spends only about ten minutes a day reading. The hosts offer several suggestions: Make sure to stop and look up unfamiliar words; listen to podcasts, which will also introduce you to new words; check the etymology, which is sometimes a helpful memory aid; build vocabulary practice into your routine with a word-a-day calendar or a subscription to Anu Garg's A.Word.A.Day newsletter.
A teacher in Oakley, Vermont, noted a curious construction among his students while teaching in Maine. They would say things like We're all going to the party, and so isn't he orI like to play basketball, and so doesn't he. Primarily heard in eastern New England, this locution has a kind of internal logic, explained in more detail at one of our favorite resources, The Yale Grammatical Diversity Project.
A Jackson, Mississippi, woman who used to work in Japan says that each day as she left the office, her colleagues would say Otsukaresama desu, which means something along the lines of "Thank you for your hard work." Although its literal translation suggests that the hearer must be exhausted, it's simply understood as a polite, set phrase with no exact equivalent in English.
Pulitzer-winning historian Barbara Tuchman has observed that her single most formative educational experience was exploring Harvard's Widener Library. She captured the feelings of many library lovers when she added that her own daughter couldn't enter that building "without feeling that she ought to carry a compass, a sandwich, and a whistle."
To go at something bald-headed means "to rush at something head-on." The same idea informs the phrase to I'm going to pinch you bald-headed, which an exasperated parent might say to a misbehaving child. The more common version is snatch you bald-headed, a version of which Mark Twain used in his Letters from Hawaii.
This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett.