Playlist: News Station Picks for June
Compiled By: PRX Curators
Here are the June picks for news stations from new PRX News Format Curator Naomi Starobin.
Naomi is the news director at WSHU Public Radio in Connecticut and a board member of PRNDI. Public radio is her second career — she came armed with experience in environmental science and engineering, and teaching. There was also a stint as a ranger with the National Park Service. She has an MS in journalism from Columbia University. Just after graduating, she was a factchecker at Consumer Reports, which has forever made her love the truth.
What Naomi listens for in a piece:
"It can be about anything, it can be short or long or in between, it can have one voice or many. It will not be...Show full description
From Spectrum Radio | 59:02
A timely piece -- given all the talk about improving engineering education -- looking at what engineers do. It brings to life some of the more accessible and lively engineering jobs, ones that might appeal to young people wondering what to do with their interest in math and science, or in innovation, gadgets, video games or the environment.
The producers have picked some lively and very human engineers with passions that listeners can relate to: special effects in movies, green energy, robots that help rescue people, toy design, helping poor people. At the very least, the piece does a nice job of erasing the stereotype of engineers being nerds with calculators. On top of all that, it's a trip around the world, to India, Japan, Fiji, the World Trade Center on 9/11, California, Iceland, Australia, China.
If I had to summarize the hour in one sentence, I'd say we're seeing people who took childhood dreams and passions into adult realities.
It's co-produced by IEEE Spectrum, the magazine of IEEE (which explores the creation, application and implications of new technologies) and the National Science Foundation.
Engineers of the New Millennium: Dream Jobs --- profiles engineers in dream jobs all over the world. We meet a robotics engineer, a video games designer, a Bollywood special effects expert, a toys engineer, and others with a passion for their work. We travel to four continents and hear stories about some people who always knew what they wanted to be, and others with roundabout paths into fields they came to love. Dream Jobs is a co-production of IEEE Spectrum Magazine and the National Science Foundation.
From Charles Lane | 04:39
A rare behind-the-scenes look at soldiers preparing for a military funeral. Why is the flag folded 13 times? What is the symbolism of a 21-gun salute? How does the Taps player keep his composure?
Lots of places this piece would fit in: to accompany an obituary of a soldier, any time if your listening area includes a military base. A bunch of stations have licensed this piece over the last few years.
It's got great actualities and the voices of soldiers accompanying the respectful description of the details of the military funeral.
There's also a slightly shorter version available if you want to fit it into a 4-minute segment in Morning Edition or All Things Considered.
[disclosure: reporter Charles Lane is now a freelancer at my station, WSHU Public Radio]
The solemn last rite for every solider is the military funeral. Whether for the young men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan or veterans of World War II, each one of them receives the same military honor. That ceremony has a deep and rich tradition. This piece spends time with an honor guard as the practice for an upcoming funeral. This piece will work very well as a side bar to a local story about a fallen solider. The shorter version is 20 seconds shorter and is less elegant in the transitions. It is here: http://prx.org/pieces/7542
From Jonathan Mitchell | 06:00
This is great for all the audiophiles out there, or people who like to look a little closer at what makes scary movies scary. We get right into the sound effects man's head, how he thinks, what he wants when the scene calls for "get the moviegoer frightened." No narrator getting in the way here, just the enthusiasm of Steve Boeddeker, Hollywood sound designer and the creepy sounds he creates.
It's done by independent producer/reporter Jonathan Mitchell, and although there's no music in the piece, you can feel his study of music at work. This was commissioned originally for Studio 360, and used since then by KQED and WBEZ, among other stations. It's from 2001, but holds up well.
Steve Boeddeker has been a film sound designer for ten years. His work has been heard in films like "The Village," "Seven," and the re-release of "The Exorcist." This segment was recorded in 2001, around the time Boeddeker was working on the film "From Hell," directed by the Hughes brothers. In this piece, he demonstrates how sound can be used to enhance the emotional impact of a scene. This segment was originally produced for Studio 360, and first aired in June, 2002. It has also been heard on: KQED's Hot Soup (2003) WBEZ's re:Sound (2004) Third Coast Festival website (2003)
From Northwest News Network (N3) | 02:09
Hummingbirds are feisty? You can see the center of the universe in a hummingbird's pupil?
This is a little first person piece about Ned Batchelder, who puts ID bands hummingbirds' legs for research purposes. You can practically feel the little thing in your hand as you hear him describe how it's done.
Produced by Anna King.
Hold a penny in your hand. That?s about how much a hummingbird weighs. Every summer, hundreds of the tiny birds gather in a backyard just outside of Walla Walla, Washington. It's like a truck stop on their migration to Mexico. It's a great spot for Ned Batchelder [BATCH ?elder]. He's been trapping and banding the hummers for about eight years. The bands help scientists track hummingbirds' migratory patterns. So far Batchelder has banded about 20-thousand of the tiny creatures with his wife Gigi. We caught up with him recently. Here's Ned's story in his own words.
From Owen Egerton | 03:20
A refreshing commentary, from a Dad (humorist Owen Egerton), about the job of looking after a toddler, and seeing the world through her eyes. He does a nice job of capturing and describing the intertwined nature of the peril and the wonder that are constantly part of a child's life, and the accompanying parental responsibilities and joys. Enough to make your listener/parents believe that someone really understands what they're going through.
Humorist Owen Egerton describes the adventure of taking his 14-month-old daughter on a vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He and his wife soon discover the ideal coastal setting is ripe with life threatening danger. Not least of all, mangos. This short commentary, like many of Egerton's pieces, uses humor and heart to capture the bizarre world of modern parenting.