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:
One of the great things about questions from kids is that they make you take a closer look at things you might not have ever thought about. A youngster named Micah wonders why we refer to "toasted bread" as simply toast.
A young listener in Yuma, Arizona, wants to know about why her mother uses the word cattywampus to indicate that something is "messed up."
Kids sometimes call the show to ask about things that their families pass on to each other – like games, or sayings, and or even pronunciations. A girl in Abilene, Texas, is curious about why family members walking together say the phrase bread and butter when briefly separating to move around an object in their path.
A young listener with lots of freckles wonders about the origin of the name of these little specks. The word freckle has very old roots having to do with scattering, as with seeds--an idea that also may be reflected in the German word for "freckles," Somersprossen, or "summer sprouts."
A girl in San Antonio, Texas, asks the hosts to settle a family debate: How do you pronounce the word pianist? Traditionally, the first syllable is the one that's accented.
Sometimes young listeners call the show after doing research on their own, then finding that the digging they’ve done raises even more questions. A young caller Fort Worth, Texas, says her reading about the term goober, meaning "peanut," indicates that the word was used among contemporaries of George Washington Carver. Goober has even older roots, going all the way back to the Bantu languages of Africa.
The word please may mean different things depending on the context. A girl in San Diego, California, argues that the word please on a sign she saw at a swimming pool may mean the behavior it's requesting is optional.
What time of day do you eat dinner? A youngster reading Anne of Green Gables notes that in this book, the noon meal was called dinner, not lunch, and the evening meal was called supper. That usage is common in many parts of North America, but for others, dinner means "the evening meal."
A high school student reports that his classmates use the term choppin' to mean "flirting." This slang term may be associated with the phrase chop it up, meaning "to have a deep conversation."
This episode was hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett.