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:
When it comes to tattoos, passages of text are an increasingly popular alternative to images.
The word victuals is pronounced like "vittles" and refers to cooked foods and shares a Latin root with vitamin and vitality. Sometimes it's spelled vittles, a form often associated with more informal or rustic speech.
If you pass by a place, does that mean you go into it? Or do you go past it? An Australian caller and his American ex-girlfriend disagreed. In parts of the English-speaking world, the phrase pass by is one in a long list of synonyms for "visit," along with drop by, come round, and go by.
While in Canada, Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins, encountered the term keener, meaning "enthusiast."
Our Quiz Guy John Chaneski sorts out the hosts with a puzzle about book categories on Amazon.com.
When an older man and woman spend lots of time together, going to family gatherings and the like, but they're not dating, what do you call that relationship? Best friends? Dear friends?
Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn has been mulling how to classify the term BBQ, since the Q reflects sound, not an initial. It's a type of abbreviation called clipping. BBQ goes back to restaurant signs and menus from the 1930's where space was at a premium.
What do you say when someone stands between you and the television? Some people say, Were you drinking muddy water? Another option: I can't see through your bay window!
The term less-than, often written in quotation marks, is an increasingly common way to denote status inequality, especially when it comes to gender.
Oh, the agony of nernees, those little pieces of plastic or metal that seem to have no purpose. Only until you throw them out will you realize how essential they were! This slang term is sometimes used among those who work in technical theater.
Brian Stark, who calls himself the States Runner, has crossed 31 states on foot. He phones from Arizona to discuss the funny ways people in different regions give directions when he's lost. A West Virginian once told him his destination was six farsees away, meaning "go as far as you can see, then go as far as you can see from there, and do that a total of six times."
A listener in Taiwan reports that if someone knocks when you're in public restroom there, the customary response is to knock back!
Do you take a decision or make a decision? Generally, Americans make decisions, while the British may do either. Take and make in this situation are what are known as light verbs, meaning they don't add much to the sentence, since you could just as easily use the word decided.
Joyce, in Azle, Texas, say her grandmother used to exclaim, That just beats a goose a- gobblin'! whenever something awed or frustrated her.
Outside the United States, American football is sometimes jokingly called handegg--a reference to the shape of the ball and the fact that it's carried in the hands.
This episode was hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett.