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Playlist: John Barth's Favorites

Compiled By: John Barth


I listen to a lot. Some stuff I like.

Living Nine Eleven

From WNYC | Part of the WNYC 9/11 Anniversary Programming series | 59:00

This program won an honorable mention from Third Coast 2012. The opening gives me chills. PRX helped make this happen, but I think this is one of the best, hmm..memorials to the losses on 911 I have heard. It gets the right emotional tone without being mawkish or false. Hard to do.

Living Nine Eleven

Wtc_jurfon_small Ten years after the terrorist attacks of September 11th,  as part of WNYC's "Decade: 9/11" coverage, this special explores New Yorkers' most visceral and immediate emotional reactions to the attack on the World Trade Center and how they are - and are not -- still with us today.

Fear and shock, grief and guilt, anger, gratitude and solidarity -- these emotions overwhelmed many New Yorkers along with the billowing cloud of smoke and debris after the Towers collapsed.

WNYC's award-winning news team spent days, months, and then years reporting on the attacks and their aftermath. Through a mix of their recordings at the time and interviews with people ten years later, WNYC reporter Marianne McCune guides us through the stories of people who were directly impacted by what happened and have been struggling for a decade to make sense of it.

For more on WNYC's "Decade Nine Eleven" project, please visit our website:

99% Invisible (Standard Length) (Series)

Produced by Roman Mars

I work with Roman so color me biased. But 99% Invisible is brilliant in its originality: pacing, range of topics and ideas and the power of audio to tell a story. Roman is one of THE best.

Most recent piece in this series:

99% Invisible #150- Under the Moonlight (Standard 4:30 version)

From Roman Mars | Part of the 99% Invisible (Standard Length) series | 04:29


In 1885, Austin, Texas was terrorized by a serial killer known as the Servant Girl Annihilator.  The murderer was never actually found, but he claimed eight victims, mostly black servant girls, all attacked in the dark of night. The very, very dark night of Austin in 1885.


Hell_Broke_Loose[Headline from the Fort Worth Gazette, 26 December 1885]

Back then, once night fell, Austin had only moonlight.  The city had no outdoor lighting until 1894, when Austin decided to buy more moonlight, in the form of towers. They were fifteen stories tall, each crowned with a circle of six lights, soaring way up above the city.

IMG_0861[Credit: Avery Trufelman]

Austin wasn’t the first to implement “tower lighting.” In the 1800s, several major cities had tall arc towers, including New York, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and San Jose. Detroit, however, had the largest tower lighting system in the country, and that’s where Austin bought their 31 moonlight towers from.

6a00e0099229e88833010536e11adb970c-500wi[San Jose’s arc light tower in 1885. Courtesy of Wolfgang Schivelbusch]

The height of the Moonlight Towers was a means of accomodating the lighting technology at the time: carbon arc light, a precursor to the incandescent bulb.

Arc lights are essentially a continued spark between two carbon electrodes. They are extremely bright and produce a lot of glare—the sort of thing you use in a searchlight. Arc lights at street level would be blinding, so municipalities put the lights up high in order to spread the glare out.

Still, even on their high tower, arc lights were tremendously bright. Their light would be harsh by modern standards, but they were an especially stark contrast to gas lamps. A gas lamp has the power of about 15 candles. An arc light has the power of a couple thousand.

FullSizeRender copy [A New Orleans levee at night, 1883. Credit: Ernest Freeberg]

Arc lights were so bright that people would actually bring out umbrellas at night in order to shield themselves from the glare.  The lights also buzzed loudly like a swarm of bees, and as the carbons burned, they would drop shreds of burning ash on the people below.

Still, arc lights were exciting. They transformed the experience of being in a city at night. People spoke of seeing the grass in a totally different way, and people loved to look at their hands under the arc light. Urban dwellers could see the world—as it were—in a whole new light.

FullSizeRender[Credit: Ernest Freeberg]

The night lights also made people feel safer. There was even speculation that the streetlight could eliminate the need for law enforcement entirely. Moonlight towers were sometimes nicknamed “policemen on a pole.”

At the same time, citizens were also concerned about what it meant for darkness to disappear. Might the towers cause sleeplessnes? Would crops overproduce and hens overlay? Might cities be inviting a scourge of crickets?


However, the biggest problem with the towers was that their height made them difficult to maintain. The arcs burned down the carbon electrodes quickly, and they had to be changed once a day. Maintenance men would pull themselves up the tall towers on a dumbwaiter-like apparatus to go change the carbon electrodes every single day.

By the 1920s, Austin replaced the carbon arc lights with dimmer, more easily-maintained incandescent bulbs. Most other cities had already removed their moonlight towers at that point, but Austin couldn’t afford to tear theirs down. The towers remained, and to this day, seventeen of the original 31 survive. The last of the moonlight towers.

IMG_0834[Credit: Avery Trufelman]

Now, without the carbon arc lights, moonlight towers have a kind of weak and distant glow. They’re easy to ignore. Unless you’re watching the Richard Linklater film, Dazed and Confused.

Dazed and Confused is set in Austin in 1976. In the movie, a bunch of kids party and drive around until they all gather, at the end, by a moonlight tower. Some of them even climb up the moon tower.

In real life, moonlight towers would be really difficult to climb. Which is why, for this scene, Richard Linklater made a fake moonlight tower that had a ladder instead of the central pulley apparatus.  Also, it was nowhere near as tall as a real moonlight tower.

There came a point when Austin considered finally considered taking the old lights down, just like all the other cities had done, but eventually the towers were inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Some of the towers even have plaques.

IMG_0843[The plaque reads “Austin’s moonlight towers. This is one of 31 original moonlight towers installed in Austin in 1895. 17 remain. Each tower illumenated a circle of 3000 feet using 6 carbon arc lamps, now mercury vapor. Austin’s tower lights are the sole survivors of this once popular ingenious lighting system. ” Credit: Avery Trufelman]

Because the moonlight towers are in the National Register of Historic Places, they have to be restored to their original form. They are repaired with custom-cast parts that look identical to the original moonlight towers, so that antiquated lights can keep their historic designation.

This specialized repair work comes at a hefty price, but Austinites are willing to put up the funds. The towers are a point of civic pride. Every year during the holidays, Austin Energy strings christmas lights from the moonlight tower in Zilker Park, and Austinites call that tower the Zilker park “tree.” Austin also hosts the Moontower Comedy Festival, and theres a local band called Moonlight Towers, and at a restaurant you can order a drink called a Moontower.

IMG_0866[Credit: Isabel Gaultier]

IMG_0847[Credit: Avery Trufelman]

IMG_0825[Credit: Avery Trufelman]

The towers have become part of the character and folklore of Austin. Including the legend of the Servant Girl Annihilator. In truth, the servant girl murders were all over with years before talk of the moonlight towers ever came up, and there’s no evidence directly linking the killer with the need for the towers.

Still, the Servant Girl Annihilator has become the genesis story that Austinites tell about these lights. Whether or not there is truly a direct connection, the story of the Servant Girl Annihilator does illustrate of the limitations of 19th century night time and describes how carbon arc streetlights were chasing away fear and darkness. A kind of darkness which we can’t fathom in a city today.

IMG_0829[Credit: Avery Trufelman]

Latitude News Podcast #2 - Two Nations, Under Cod

From Latitude News | 10:50

American cod fishermen are broke. Norwegian cod fishermen make $100,000/year. What's up with that?

Atlantic_cod_small What’s for dinner? Probably not cod. Cod was once so common in American homes it was simply called “fish.” Now you’ll find cod featured on menus in fancy restaurants. When the cod fishery collapsed in the 1990s, it devastated fishing communities around the world. The American towns still have not recovered; meanwhile, Norway is catching record amounts of cod. What’s so special about Norway? Latitude investigates.

Rural voters and Obama: How can he win them over?

From WKSU | 08:32

Barack Obama needs all of Ohio, but campaigning in rural areas presents special challenges

Default-piece-image-0 Ohio Democrats have warned Obama he needs to stump the entire state if he hopes to win it over in November. But campaigning in rural areas presents special problems and challenges, including questions of race and understanding of the economics that mean to most to rural areas.

SURVIVORS: Solitary Confinement in America's Prisons

From Claire Schoen | 29:00

This is a chilling and powerful documentary with a strong point of view. Americans so easily say 'throw 'em in jail and toss away the key.' Well, this piece and this powerful New Yorker article by Atul Gawande explain the consequences of solitary confinement. A timely topic because of the debate about what to do with the detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

Claire Schoen's program goes beyond the New Yorker article--the powerful sensations of sound bring the issue to life. And so do the painful voices of men and women who have survived this form of detention.

Dsf_0308_1_small Tens of thousands of inmates live in total isolation in America's jails and prisons today. And the number is rapidly growing. Often prisoners spend years – even decades – by themselves in a cell the size of a small bathroom. They don't see anyone. They don't talk to anyone. They don't touch anyone. They are completely alone.

In this half-hour radio documentary, "survivors" of solitary paint a picture of what solitary confinement looks, sounds and feels like. These are the voices of both men and women; Black, White and Latino; old and young.
The effects of sensory deprivation experienced in solitary confinement have been well documented. They include depression, panic attacks, insomnia, paranoia, hypersensitivity, hallucination and psychosis. These psychological effects can be permanent. And often prisoners are released directly from solitary back into society.
U.N. conventions and treaties define this sort of treatment as torture. If we, as a people, continue to brutalize others in this fashion, what does that do to us all as a society?

A Shortcut Back To 1969 -"The Lunar Module"

From Peter Bochan | 12:13

Wow---this brought back so many memories of an amazing summer. What a fantastic montage.

275px-aldrin_apollo_11_small This segment of "A Shortcut Back to 1969" -The Lunar Module,  is a mix of the sounds, voices and music of the summer of 1969 featuring original NASA recordings of the launch of Apollo 11, Richard M. Nixon, Neil Armstrong, John F. Kennedy, The 5th Dimension, David Bowie,The Who, The Beach Boys, Burgess Meredith, General Westmoreland, various soldiers and reporters in Vietnam, astronauts, mission control specialists and much more...

Part of a 45th Anniversary look back at 1969


From John Biewen | 03:00

This is one my favorite pieces because it always causes me to tear up. And I don't even HAVE kids. It is beautiful and evocative; it captures what parental love must be like. This piece also demonstrates a real commitment to capture sound -- it covers YEARS in Harper's life. Jon did this for Third Coast and won a deserved award. I can listen to this every week and not get tired of it.

John Biewen

Harper-john-small_small This essay/montage was produced for the Third Coast Audio Festival's 2008 Audio Challenge, Radio Ephemera.  The challenge was to produce a piece of no more than three minutes based on any two of five books selected from the Prelinger Library of San Francisco -- and to include the voice of a stranger.  "Scared" is based on the books, "Control of Mind and Body," and "The Stork Didn't Bring You!: The Facts of Life for Teenagers."  The stranger is the voicemail lady.  

Barack Obama-The Remix

From Peter Bochan | Part of the Shortcuts series | 54:17

Barack Obama-The Campaign for President

Obamacookie_small Barack Obama - The journey to the White House, reMixed in words & music-introduced by Robert F. Kennedy and featuring Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, John McCain, Chris Rock, Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Steve Harvey, Will. i. am, Hillary Clinton, The Pointer Sisters, The Drifters, John Legend, Homer Simpson, Moby, Bruce Springsteen, Ted Kennedy, FDR, The Little Rascals, Kevin So, Branford Marsalis, M.C. Yogi, Martin Luther King Jr, Sam Cooke, John Lewis, Quiet Village, David Letterman, Tim Russert. Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, Matt Damon, Roy Budd, Iron & Wine, Dephazz, Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions, The Edwin Hawkins Singers, various politicians, excited voters...and Barack Obama.

Yes We Can!

Saving Jungle Souls

From Homelands Productions | Part of the Vanishing Homelands series | 21:14

First, the audio is incredible--sounds we likely will never hear in person; but the layers of sound from a South American jungle are so foreign. Contrast this with the sound of your daily life.

And here is the first world meeting...the ancient world. The ruining of the old, in the name of good intentions. A horror. "The plane was a winged spirit...it was the dead flying..."

Chief_small A sound-rich profile of Ataiba, chief of one of the last bands of nomads in the Americas, as he leaves the Bolivian jungle to live with evangelical missionaries. The story is told by Ataiba and the missionaries from starkly different points of view. Part of the Vanishing Homelands series, chronicling the dramatic changes to land and culture across the Americas.

It's Just A Matter of Time

From Ryan Scammell | 14:01

Everything's stuck in the past when Liza Minnelli plays a concert in Coney Island.

Default-piece-image-1 Why can't we let go of the past? What is our obsession with keeping things going even after their time is gone? To figure this out, we look at the histories of Liza Minnelli and Coney Island, their rises to the top, and how, when they got there, they never came down. Huge fires! Andy Warhol! Lions! Lawsuits! Incubated Babies! It all comes together one night when Liza Minnelli plays a concert at Coney Island, and we finally figure out why we can't let go.

Bastille Day Commentary: "Mercy Buckets"

From Diana Epstein | 02:53

Commentary on growing up with a French mother. Very funny

Images_small This piece is a commentary on what it was like growing up half french and how I resisted learning the language like saying "Mercy Buckets" instead of "Merci beaucoup." My mother called child specialists asking them why I refused to speak French. It explores how I eventually came around to love French and accept the culture and language.

Bjork in Concert (59-minute version)

From NPR Music | Part of the NPR Concerts series | 59:00

The wildly imaginative, exuberant and always unpredictable Bjork in concert. A co-production from NPR Music and WNYC.

Bjork_small Wildly imaginative, exuberant and always unpredictable, Bjork performs for 3,000 fans at the United Palace Theater in New York City. The concert took place on May 5, 2007 at the beginning of a tour featuring music Bjork created for her latest CD, Volta--a high-energy, tribal romp across cultures, with rhythms from Africa, horns from Iceland and strings from China. The concert is a co-production from NPR Music and WNYC. See "For stations" area for set list and break times. Available for free to NPR member stations. If you're not an NPR member station, contact programservices@npr.org

What's Divorce Like for You?

From Vermont Folklife Center Media | Part of the Youth Radio Vermont series | 02:55

And you don't think teens can produce compelling radio? Listen to this and re-evaluate.

Jerry1 My parents have been divorced for 11 years and it's been an ongoing struggle for me. I wanted to know what it was like for other kids, so I walked around Montpelier, Vermont and talked with kids about divorce. Here's what they said....

Singing Salvation Army Bellringer

From 2 below zero | 04:55

One of my all time favorite holiday pieces. I can feel the cold. Love the raw sound of this....a StoryCorps story without a studio.

Default-piece-image-2 Arthur Jackson, 57, is a Salvation Army bellringer at the Mall of America in Minneapolis who loves to sing while he rings. In this audio postcard, Jackson sings a portion of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" while he opens doors for shoppers and encourages kids to ring his bell. He's a former crack addict.

Rheb's Candies: A Charm City Holiday Tradition

From Aaron Henkin | 10:55

a VERY sweet holiday story...

Rhebs1_small This is a fun, light-hearted, silly, heart-warming story about one of Baltimore's best-kept holiday secrets. Here's an intro for a host... "The coming holiday season brings with it different traditions for different people... And for a lot of longtime Baltimore families, it's synonymous with one thing: Rheb's candies. This year, the local family-owned chocolate business marks its 90th year in operation. Rheb's is a true hidden jewel of old Baltimore, and producer Aaron Henkin recently ventured out with a friend to discover what the Rheb's experience is all about...

There's Always Big Fun and Laughs at the Comic Con

From Zak Rosen | 06:37

A comic-book version of the comic-book artist, Marty Hirchak takes the reader/listener on a tour of the "Comic Con" circuit.

Popartfunnie6_small I've teamed up with a local (Detroit) comic book writer and morphed one of his comics into an audio play/comic of sorts. This particular story works especially well with radio, because it's basically a documentary comic story. I'll try to explain?A comic-book version of the comic-book artist, Marty Hirchak takes the reader/listener on a tour of the "Comic Con" circuit. Comic Cons, better known as comic conventions are a haven for comic collectors of all sorts. The con is where enthusiasts gather to debate, sell, buy, and trade comics. The scene as you might imagine is mostly made up of men, with a smattering of "pin-up queens, and b-list celebrities." Hirchak explains the in's and out's of a con, with help from several characters he himself has met at past conventions.

Story in Sound: Indigenous Radio in Oaxaca, Mexico, a presentation for the Fulbright Fellowship

From Megan Martin | 11:59

Indigenous radio in Mexico

0_small In fulfillment of a year-long Fulbright Fellowship, this bilingual piece is a taste of the sound I've been recording in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca. It's a collection of interviews with villagers from around the region, sound I've collected from the indigenous station in the region (XETLA) as well as snippets from blog entries over the last several months. This piece was made for presentation at a mid-term reunion of Fulbright Fellows.

Garbage Finds New Life in Queens Office

From Kenan Davis | 04:38

The story what happens to the belongings of someone who dies

Img1285_small When someone dies, the family members go through the belongings and pick out what to keep. Then they can call a rubbish removal company to take the rest to the dump. That's Nick Dimola's job. But he often finds things to keep for himself. Kenan Davis reports.

The Industrial Musicals Hour

From Jon Kalish | 58:40

A fictional weekly music show celebrating Industrial Musicals on a fictional public radio network

Default-piece-image-0 A celebration of one of the most astonishing yet obscure musical genres of the 20th Century. Industrial musicals were written for company sales meetings or annual conventions, with a golden age spanning the 1950s into the '80s. They were lavish productions that incorporated original music and lyrics, full orchestras and expensive staging, Most were never recorded, though sometimes a record was made and a few hundred copies were distributed as souvenirs. Steve Young, a writer for David Letterman, is the self-appointed archivist and obsessive collector of these recordings, and he's the host each week of a show that shares these recordings with an audience they were never intended for. This is a one-time special. It is not really a weekly show. The special includes an original comedy piece featuring the great Moe Moscowitz, a veteran of NPR's Morning Edition.

Fabuphilitis PSA

From New Hampshire Public Radio | Part of the Fundraising Pieces series | 01:11

An affliction that disproportionately affects public radio listeners.

Default-piece-image-2 VO: It affects scores of people everyday... Vox: I never thought it would happen to me... VO: People all over the country are succumbing at alarming rates... Vox: But then I found myself sitting in my car after I'd put it into park...just sitting there... Vox: I haven't even told my husband about it. Vox: I keep going back... Vox: I keep wanting more... Vox: I think my friends are starting to notice... Vox: But I can?t stop, I need to keep listening... VO: Have you been taking an inordinate interest in the platforms of the presidential candidates? Have you found yourself wondering about whether Ivory Billed Woodpecker sightings are hoaxes? If you recognize these symptoms then you might have Fabu-philitis an affliction marked by increased curiosity in the world around you, sympathy or even appreciation for terrible puns, and slackened interest in Britney Spears. Public Radio listeners are especially susceptible to Fabu-philitis. If you or someone you know has developed Fabu-philitis stay tuned for the number to call. We can't help, but we can ease the guilt a little. Vox: I always thought it was something that happened to other people.

May Your Days

From Julie Shapiro | 10:44

Ghana sounds like everything you might imagine, and some things you never could.

Temacoast While I traveled around Ghana in January, 2008, certain sounds jumped into my recorder, like: kiddo handclaps, the pounding of fufu in Circle Market, Empress Olivia and her kpash kposh, screaming insects, screaming birds, screaming bats, one very hungry goat, fishermen singing while hauling in an enormous net from the Gulf of Guinea, the unmistakable cacophony of a tro-tro station, an unexpected pop song blaring from streetside speakers, the deep rhythms of a wedding celebration and glorious live music from a front porch.

Dark Side of Teenage Popularity

From With Good Reason | 29:44

Explores the messages to teens that to be popular you must buy the best in brand-names and outshine your peers in all ways, including destructive behaviors.

Serenageorgina_small "Losers shop at Target." That's one of the messages coming through in 'Gossip Girls,' a popular teen book and TV series. Naomi Johnson (Longwood University) says these books are filled with product placements that try to convince young girls that the most important thing in life is to get a boy through buying and wearing high status couture. Also: We all want our children to be well-liked, but new study shows there are risks that come with being popular. University of Virginia psychologist Joseph Allen says popular kids are more likely to drink, smoke and vandalize. They seem like leaders, but in reality they may only be tracking peer opinion, as politicians do with polls.

Fouta-Toro, Senegal: An Audio Postcard

From Emma Jacobs | 04:12

A report on daily village life from Northern Senegal.

Travea348_small Recorded during a visit to the Fouta Toro region of Senegal in April of 2008 with a Peace Corps volunteer from Indiana, this piece offers a glimpse into life in rural, northern Senegal. In a region where temperatures regularly top 120 degrees and many of the men have left for the exterior to support their families, we visit a village 8 km off of the nearest paved road. We visit households, a baby weighing, and a goodbye party for a departing husband. Emma Jacobs and Peace Corps volunteer Ashley Goodson narrate this story.

A Mind of Winter

From Benjamin Winter | 01:41

Poetry..remixed. "That's life!" and, yes, that is good poetry.

Default-piece-image-0 In Wallace Stevens' poem, "The Snowman," winter is miserable or beautiful or both--depending on how you look at it. In this piece I ask some cold people at the bus stop if this poem affects the way they look at winter in Michigan.

RIP T-shirt Segment

From Jacob Fenston | 05:56

This is a segment of a longer piece about T-shirts.

Default-piece-image-0 This is a segment of a longer piece about T-shirts.

Cogito Ergo Sum

From Amy Conger | 09:04

An abstract sound collage dealing with identity and mental states

Dscf2148_small This is the sound piece that accompanied an installation piece, which can be viewed at the link above. It also stands alone as an audio composition. The large theme is one of questioning identity and the changing sense of fullness and time in the mind. There are several movements that vary in density volume and texture. It is mostly built of recorded ambient noises, and is peppered with voices and other sounds.

Standing on the Line Between Interrogation and Torture

From Dan Epstein | 06:04

An interrogator's inside view on the debate over interrogation and torture

Mi2_small The mission to ensure America's safety has led authorities to seek new tools and expanded powers in the war on terror. Interrogation practices have been among the most controversial issues of national security. The prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib and stories of harsh interrogations conducted by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have sparked a debate on when interrogation becomes torture. And this debate seems far from over as Congress conducts hearings into interrogation practices. I myself am a former Army interrogator and when this debate began to unfold I found myself asking troubling questions. In this story I speak with Staff Sergeant Terry Karney, a US Army interrogator who served as an interrogation team leader in Iraq in 2003. His position is clear: torture is illegal, ineffective and counter-productive. And he's opposed to the policy of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Thinness and Salvation

From Sarah Yahm | 28:41

a piece about the symbolic meaning of fat in our culture

Default-piece-image-1 A fresh and different perspective on the obesity epidemic. Why are we so terrified of fat? what does it symbolize? How are we projecting other anxieties onto fat people and the fat body? In order to answer this question this piece follows Christian dieters, Northern California foodies, and fat activists.

Sagebrush to Steppe(short)

From Western Folklife Center Media | 13:54

Music bridges the language barrier as a group of cowboy musicians trek across the Mongolian steppe on horseback, making friends & singing songs with the nomadic herdsmen of this vast country.

Default-piece-image-2 In September 2005 a group of American cowboys traveled to Mongolia for a horse trek across the steppe. This was a grassroots visit to local herdsmen and it also completed a cultural exchange that started a few years back when Mongolian herders came to the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada to sing songs and play music. Hal Cannon went along with the singing cowboys to document just how the music of these two horseback cultures would jibe.

Goat Auction in North Carolina

From Alix Blair | 08:04

Curtis Ring sells off all his goats: this story presents an intimate look at what is happening to farmers across the country

Img3795_small In Gibsonville, North Carolina, Curtis Ring had a "total herd dispersal" auction on May 17th to sell his Boer goats. His age (seventy-seven) has played a part in his decision to retire from goat-farming, but the reality of increasing fuel and feed prices makes the raising of meat goats a difficult job. The selling of Ring's goats presents a personal story of the larger struggles facing farmers across the United States today.

Ghost Bikes

From Mark Saldaña | 04:26

In Portland, OR, and across the United States, Ghost Bikes mark the sites of fatal bicycle-autombile collisions.

Ghost Bikes
Mark Saldaña

Gbsw14_small This short documentary explores the phenomenon of ghost bikes, makeshift monuments that artists install at the sites of fatal bicycle-automobile collisions, and how family members and community members alike make sense of the symbols. It centers on Susan Kabota, the aunt of the victim of such a collision. The documentary also explores bike culture in Portland, Oregon, and how policymakers are dealing with accidents.

Can Do: Stories of Black Visionaries, Seekers, and Entrepreneurs

From The Kitchen Sisters | 54:00

From The Kitchen Sisters and PRX, a Black History Month Special: "Can Do: Stories of Black Visionaries, Seekers, and Entrepreneurs," with host, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress, Alfre Woodard. These stories come from The Kitchen Sisters collection -- stories of black pioneers, self-made men and self-taught women, neighborhood heros and visionaries. People who said "yes we can" and then did.


A man tapes the history of his town with a scavenged cassette recorder, a woman fights for social justice with a pie, a DJ ignites his community with a sound. Join us for this richly produced and deeply layered hour long special that resonates for Black History Month, or any month.  Produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) and Roman Mars.
"Can Do" is supported in part by the Reversioning Project of the Public Radio Exchange at PRX.org and The CPB, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

Physics for Poets

From Lu Olkowski | 07:17

People often depict scientists as coldly rational. Physicist Michael Salamon takes issue with that. He explains how Walt Whitman misunderstood the beauty of the universe. And how Maxwell's Equations gave him his first "cerebral orgasm"

Andromeda_small People often depict scientists as eggheads who don't appreciate beauty. Physicist Michael Salamon, who works at NASA's Universe Division, takes issue with that. He references Walt Whitman's "When I heard the learn'd astronomer" from Leaves of Grass and argues that the poem perpetuates a myth of the scientist as a bookworm who doesn't appreciate beauty. He asserts that exactly the opposite is true: aesthetics have driven Michael's career as a scientist. And the careers of many scientists who he knows. In this piece, Michael helps the lay listener appreciate the absolute gorgeousness of complex equations and discoveries. First broadcast on PRI's Studio 360 on September 14, 2006.

The 2009 Boston Handbell Festival

From Jackson Braider | 05:40

I am a Jackson Braider fan and this piece has what makes his work distinctive: musicality, gorgeous tones and recording, his authoritative but engaging narration and his wit.

Festival_small Handbell ringers have an unusual approach to musicmaking -- as one choir director put it, "It's like synchronized swimming." In anticipation of the third annual Boston Handbell Festival, which takes place on May 19 at Old South Church on Copley Square in Boston, independent producer Jackson Braider delves in how these people make those incredible sounds.

"these words, forever"

From Nate DiMeo | Part of the the memory palace series | 03:17

in which Guglielmo Marconi, the Father of Radio, dreams of a super radio that would allow him to hear every sound ever made. Melancholy ensues.

These_words_forever_140_140_small This is an episode of the memory palace podcast.  Listen to the whole series at www.thememorypalace.us
Each episode is a short (between 1:30 and 5:30) water-coolery story of the past, with an emphasis on American History.   

Writers on a New England Stage - David McCullough

From New Hampshire Public Radio | Part of the Writers on a New England Stage series | 59:00

I am a huge McCullough fan. I am a huge Virginia Prescott fan. This evening with a great writer, recorded live, is sublime. Smart, smart, SMART.


Historian and author David McCullough spoke about his new book, “The Greater Journey:  Americans in Paris.” The book follows famous artists, writers, scholars, and some figures lost to history, who defied the American movement west, by heading east, to Paris.  It’s a fascinating, informative and enlightening conversation.

Go For It: Life Lessons From Girl Boxers

From WNYC | 57:00

This year women will enter the Olympic boxing ring for the first time. Hosted by actor Rosie Perez and producer Marianne McCune, "Go for It" explores why women fight and why we expect them not to. A compelling hour of radio that is perfect for airing before or during the Olympic Games. The opening ceremony is July 27 and the women's boxing competition begins on August 5th and runs through August 9th. This is sound rich and provocative sports reporting that you won't want public radio listeners to miss.


If you box, by definition, you’re a risk-taker. If you’re a girl and you box, you’re a risk-taker and a rule-breaker. If you’re a girl and you box and your aim is to be the first to win an Olympic gold medal - that’s going for it. Who does that and why?

 Go For It: Life Lessons from Girl Boxers , is a one hour special that tells  the story of women for whom boxing is an expression of ambition, drive, strength and – yes – aggression, qualities often admired in men and sometimes discouraged in women. 

The special is the next logical step for Women Box, our series with photojournalist Sue Jaye Johnson (and in collaboration with the New York Times Magazine and Radio Diaries) chronicling the lives of a group of fighters who’ve spent the year competing to become the first women to box in the Olympic Games.

Go For It will take listeners inside the hearts and minds of girls and women who are not afraid to defy expectations, take chances and fight to become ‘the greatest.’ When Tyrieshia Douglas says, “It’s against the rules to have as many muscles as I have,” she’s daring the rules to stop her. And when Claressa Shields, at 16, asks members of a church in Flint, Michigan for a few hundred dollars so she can get to the next boxing tournament, her dream of an Olympic gold medal seems both impossible and inevitable.

We  follow the ever-confident Claressa, now 17, to Qinhuangdao, China where she fights to qualify for the Olympics.

Finally, there’s the sobering backdrop: brain scientists are finding increasingly stark evidence that repeated blows to the head cause a long list of problems later on, from death to memory loss and depression. Most boxers, men or women, will tell you, ‘it’s not going to happen to me.’ Go For It will look at the risks to women who are embracing a sport increasingly criticized for exposing participants to serious injury.

Whether you love or hate boxing, Go For It aims to draw you into a deeply compelling conversation about what it means to be a girl and what it takes to be a champion. 

Co-Produced by the award-winning reporter/producer of Living Nine Eleven , Marianne McCune has developed an intimate and powerful style of story telling you won't want to miss. 

Promo available now.  Embeddable slideshows on website.

Check out these websites for more details: 


Here's The Thing: Billy Joel (101)

From WNYC | Part of the Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin series | 59:00

Alec sits down with Billy Joel at a piano as Joel details the decisions – musical and personal – that helped shape his music and his career.

Htt_200x200_small In his new radio series, Here’s The Thing, award-winning actor Alec Baldwin gives the listener unique entrée into the lives of some of today’s most exciting performers.

For information, please contact Deb Blakeley, Blakeley & Company, LLC, 612-377-1207 or blakeley.deb@gmail.com