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Playlist: News Station Picks for August

Compiled By: PRX Curators

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/29453147@N03/2868070145/">Roberto Martinez</a>
Image by: Roberto Martinez 
Curated Playlist

Here are the August 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 boring or repetitive. It will slice through, right to the ears and the brain, in terms of both audio and ideas. Take me somewhere I can’t get to on my own...into someone’s world, into an understanding that surprises me."

Nominate a piece for Naomi to consider.

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Here are the August 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...

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Harmonic Healing

From Diane Lee | 04:49

Independent producer Diana Lee put this 5-minute feature together as part of a final project for Poynter's 2009 Summer College Journalism Fellowship program. It's a slice of a little world that is touching and poignant. The piece conveys the feeling that seniors playing harmonica for other seniors is therepeutic and enjoyable for everyone. As one senior says about the performing group, "We're like a big family. Everyone cares for everyone else."

Harmonica_small


I produced this feature as part of a final project for Poynter's 2009 Summer College Journalism Fellowship program. I discovered a group of senior citizen harmonica players based in Gulfport, Florida just by googling, and stumbled across their YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm9t5W1ppCo). Kinda cool, huh? (They are still working on building a Web site.) The average age of members in the group is 85. They all volunteer their time and energy to play the harmonica for mostly older audiences. They charge for performances, but donate all of it to charity. About 90 percent of members in the group learned to play music by ear. I found their stories behind playing harmonica, absolutely fascinating. Particularly Miley and Murray, both of whom were greatly impacted by playing harmonica.  Take a listen, and let me know what you think. Contact me at dianeswlee@gmail.com 

Fishing

From Lacy Roberts | 05:30

A story of teen summer romance, on the beach, complete with bluefish, bonfires and bikinis. Nice in the telling, with the narration switching from boy to girl, back and forth, with the sound of the surf and some laid back music mingling in.

This comes from the Ladies Village Improvement Society of Providence, Rhode Island. Rachel Blatt and Lacy Roberts wrote, edited and produced the piece. They say they "love listening and storytelling and we aren’t tired yet."

Note: the piece ends at 5:25, even though the sound file is 6:58.

Playing
Fishing
From
Lacy Roberts

Beach1_small A story of summer love.  Originally heard on the Ladies Village Improvement Society's episode "Loss + Found".  lvisradio.org

Paying to Burn the Prairie

From KCUR | Part of the KC Currents series | 07:45

Your listeners will feel a little like anthropologists, looking in on this slice of culture where people (tourists, would-be pyromaniacs) pay to have the experience of burning a field. And while hearing about this strange happening, listeners get a little lesson about Kansas prairie ecology, and why it's important to the farmer to burn the prairie now and then.

Fun moment: in the talk that participants get about fire safety, prairie-owner Jan tells them "it's important to me that everybody that came with hair and eyebrows leave with the same amount of hair and eyebrows."

This piece comes from KCUR in Kansas City. ATC and ME hosts could work this into the last segment of the hour.

Note: music bed after 6:30.

Fireburn_small_small INTRO:
The rising price of corn and other grains has put the squeeze on cattle ranchers in the midwest, who use grain to feed their livestock.  So some are looking for other ways to earn their living off the land.  Sylvia Maria Gross [of station KCUR] recently visited a ranch near Emporia, Kansas where one man has come up with a pretty good scheme.

PLEASE TAG: [can read over music at the end]

You're listening to the bluegrass band the Millbrook Boys, who finished out the evening playing in Jan Jantzen's barn.  Sylvia Maria Gross od Station KCUR brought us this story. 

Making Contact: Survivors of Solitary Confinement

From Making Contact | Part of the Making Contact series | 29:00

This month's picks are for the most part light and summery. Then, I ran across this one. A stark look at what it's like to be in solitary confinement. It is thick with the voices of nine people who have experienced solitary confinement, covering one aspect of the experience at a time. Many voices, layered with actualities, somber or percussive music and a bit of narration. The overall feel is just plain haunting.

This is by producers Claire Schoen, Tena Rubio, Andrew Stelzer and Pauline Bartolone, and is part of of "Making Contact," an award-winning, weekly magazine/documentary-style public affairs program heard on over 160 radio stations in the USA, Canada and elsewhere.

Hakeem_for__22-09_small President Obama recently declared that "we have banned torture without exception." However, some would take exception to this claim. The practice of isolating a person in solitary confinement for extended periods of time causes severe sensory deprivation and has been denounced as torture by the United Nations. But tens of thousands are locked up in solitary confinement in American prisons. Producer Claire Schoen met nine formerly incarcerated people, who described what it's like not to talk to or touch another person, for years at a time.

Featuring: Hakeem Shaheed, Laura Whitehorn, Robert Dellalo, Bilal Sunni Ali, Munirah El Bumani, Ray Luc Levasseur, Tommy Escarciga, Diano King ArchAngel Rodriguez, and Robert King Wilkerson, solitary confinement survivors; Teresa Vaughn, mother of son who died in solitary confinement.