Playlist: News Station Picks for January
Compiled By: PRX Editors
Format Curators are here to help stations quickly locate radio pieces that are more relevant to their local air. Format Curators are very good in their fields: they have proven content expertise and have worked at local stations. They get the challenges of programming to a specific format and a local sound.
Julianne Welby's 18 years in public radio include reporting and producing stints in Salisbury, MD, Washington, DC, and New York City, where she was WFUV's News Director for 8 years. She's now an editor in WNYC's newsroom. Julianne also teaches... Show full description
Here's some radio that grips hold and won't let go. A narrator would be an intrusion into this 15-minute piece about a placement program for American Indian children in Mormon homes. Chipper newsreel audio contrasts effectively with sobering reflections of the participants. They discuss the pain of leaving the reservation, the appeal of Mormon life, and conflicts over straddling cultures and religions. It reminds me of another tale of social experiment that deserves more air time...
Between 1954 and 1996, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sponsored a program for American Indian children. The Indian Student Placement Program had two aims: to provide Native children with an education and to help the Church fulfill one of its central prophecies. According to Mormon teachings, American Indians are descendants of the ancient House of Israel and Church members have a responsibility to help bring them back to the Kingdom of God. More than 20,000 children from more than 60 tribes were baptized and enrolled in the Placement program. For some, it was a chance to overcome the stresses of reservation life. For others, it was a repudiation of their identity. For everyone, it was a life-changing experience. Producer Kate Davidson spent a year talking with people involved in Placement. The story that emerged is a complicated one -- about culture, power, identity and belief.
From Annie Wu | 52:59
Like "Saints and Indians," this source-driven, historic documentary brings to light some shocking information about America's past: the shipping of homeless city kids to the country in the hopes of giving them some manners, religion and a better life. The experiment with an eventual 250,000 children paves the way for child welfare policy of today, and we learn about it through deeply personal reflections from surviving orphan train riders and dramatic readings from period sources. It's a newscast-friendly hour that takes us from New York City to the western frontier lands, so it's good for broadcast on urban and rural stations alike.
This fall marks the anniversary of one of the least known and yet most significant social experiments in American history. In September, 1854, the first "orphan train" carried 46 homeless children from New York City to far off homes to become laborers in the pioneer West. It was the first step in what was to become the emigration of as many as 250,000 orphan children to new homes throughout the entire United States. Widely duplicated throughout its 75 year history, the original orphan train was the creation and life project of the now forgotten man who was to become the father of American child welfare policy. Some of the most famous orphan train riders included songwriter Eden Ahbez, author of the Nat King Cole classic "Nature Boy," as well as John Brady, a governor of Alaska and Andrew Burke, second governor of North Dakota. More than 150 years after the first orphan train, the remaining riders are scattered across the country, and their descendants live in communities like yours. This new unnarrated one hour documentary features interviews from surviving orphan train riders as well as readings from period newspapers, letters and journals. The show is laced with an eclectic mix of traditional folk, classical and impressionist music. A 25-minute version of the show will air on "Soundprint" on Dec. 10, 2004.
From 2 below zero | Part of the Chicago Public Radio Documentaries by Melby/Richard series | 27:51
Living a green lifestyle apparently isn't enough. Learn how to die green in this half-hour documentary. It's produced by a couple who tag team as delightful hosts and manage to keep the subject matter lively. Todd Melby and Diane Richard introduce us to people who've factored the earth's needs into their pre-need arrangements, and industry professionals grappling with increasing demand for environmentally friendly entries into the afterlife. It's not easy to get people talking frankly about death, but in this program Melby and Richard do so quite well.
Cemeteries take up thousands of acres of open space. Funeral homes use gallons of toxic chemicals a year. And cremation consumes lots of energy and emits toxins into the environment. Today, many Americans are looking for ways that make their deaths greener. But change is coming slowly. The way we practice death has deep cultural and religious traditions.
Check out these ambiance-laden dispatches — mostly from Paris — on various topics, from baseball and borders, to protesters and public transportation. In my favorite, Robbins takes us on a ride through the streets of Paris on a Velo Libre - the public access bicycles for rent all over the city. She's a natural storyteller and a delightful narrator. Her essays vary in length, and many of them are pegged to news events or seasons, but plug in any of the above keywords, and these literary gems will drop nicely into evening or weekend program holes.
The Ste. Sulpice Church in Paris provides a trail of history going back to 7th century France. Classical music concerts are a featured part of the Church calendar. A recent performance by L'Orchestre d'Espoirs Sans Frontieres of works by Edward Elgar and Anton Bruckner provides insight into the work of the Hope Without Borders organization and offers a global view of the world "hope."
From Eric Winick | 10:00
You know you're listening to a good storyteller when 10 minutes fly by unnoticed. Physician Wayne Liebman recounts a chance encounter with the eccentric actor in a hospital. Well-told, vivid details and appropriate musical interludes carry the piece.
When a young doctor questioning his choice of profession has a chance encounter with cinema icon Marlon Brando, the ensuing conversation proves surprisingly profound -- not just for the doctor, but for Brando himself.
Story by Wayne Peter Liebman, from the files of Yarn AudioWorks.
Wayne Liebman is a physician, poet and playwright. To read more about his work, click here.