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:
In English, we might say that someone born to a life of luxury was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In Swedish, though, the image is different. Someone similarly spoiled is said to slide in on a shrimp sandwich. For more picturesque idioms from foreign languages, check out Suzanne Brock's beautifully illustrated Idiom's Delight.
Students in New England might refer to playing hooky from school as bunking, or bunking off. Jonathon Green's Dictionary of Slang traces the term back to the 1840s in the British Isles.
In Russian, someone with an uneasy conscience is described by an idiom that translates as The thief has a burning hat--perhaps because he's suffering discomfort that no one else perceives.
A Washington, D.C., caller says her dad would console her with the saying Don't worry, it will be better before you're married. Which is really less a heartfelt consolation than it is a better way to say, get over it. The saying comes from Ireland.
The terms self-licking ice cream cone, self-eating watermelon, and self-licking lollipop all refer to organizations, such as governmental bureaucracies, that appear to exist solely for the sake of perpetuating themselves.
Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a game where the answer to each clue is a word or phrase includes the vowels a, e, i, o, and u exactly one time each. For example, what's a cute infant animal that's yet to get its spikes?
Like many English words, tip—as in, the gratuity you leave to the waiter or the bellhop—doesn't originate with an acronym such as To Insure Promptness. This type of tip goes back to the mid-18th century, when thieves would tip, or tap, someone in the process of acquiring or handing off stolen goods. That false etymology really a backronym, formed after the invention of the word.
If you keep postponing an important chore, you're said to be procrastinating. There's a more colorful idiom in Portuguese, however. It translates as to push something with your belly.
Anyhow and anyways, said at the end of a sentence, are common placeholders that many find annoying. Instead, you might try finishing a thought with What do you think? That way, the conversation naturally flows back to the other person.
In Thailand, advice to the lovelorn can include a phrase that translates as The land is not so small as a prune leaf. It's the same sentiment as There are lots of fish in the sea.
The saying, you've got more excuses than Carter’s got pills, or more money than Carter’s got pills, refers to the very successful product known as Carter's Little Liver Pills. They were heavily marketed beginning in the late 1880's, and as late as 1961 made for some amusing television commercials.
Pangrams, or statements that include every letter of the alphabet, are collected on Twitter at @PangramTweets, and include such colorful lines as, I always feel like the clerk at the liquor store is judging me when she has to get a moving box to pack all my booze up.
The folks at the baby-name app Nametrix crunched some data and found that certain names are disproportionately represented in different professions. The name Leonard, for example, happens to be particularly common among geologists, and Marthas are overrepresented among interior designers.
In northern Sweden, the word yes is widely communicated by a sound that's reminiscent of someone sucking through a straw. It's called the pulmonic ingressive. Linguist Robert Eklund calls this a neglected universal, meaning that it's only recently been recognized as a sound that's part of many languages around the world, even though it's been around for a while. In one study, Swedes talking on the phone used ingressive speech when they thought they were speaking with a human, but not when they thought they were conveying the same information to a computer.
The Thai have a wise saying about self-reliance that translates as You must go to the restroom, the restroom won't come to find you. True that.
An Indianapolis listener is curious about a saying his dad used to describe anything that's excellent or the best of its kind: Just like New York.
The Occupy movement helped to popularize the term do-ocracy, a system of management or government where the people who actually roll up their sleeves and do things get to decide how those things are done.
Jawn is a term common in Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey that refers to a thing, team, show, group, or pretty much any item. It's a variant of joint, as in, a Spike Lee joint.
A Latvian expression that translates as Did a bear stomp on your ear? is a more colorful, though no more kind, way to tell someone they have no ear for music. Also heard in Latvia is an idiom that translates as You're blowing little ducks, meaning, "You're talking nonsense."
This episode was hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett.