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Comments by Milton G

Comment for "Organic Path"

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Review of Organic Path

Young people in the the United States are expected to learn through structured institutions. They attend schools and take classes with material chosen by teachers or a district curriculum. In “Organic Path,” Mika Bruce decides he wants to take charge of what and how he learns through an unconventional way; he becomes a luthier’s apprentice to learn how to make guitars. A luthier is a craftsman who builds string instruments. Mika finds value in being an apprentice. Along with being able to focus on building guitars, Mika can build a meaningful relationship with his mentor. “You can learn about life from a master,” Mika says. Being able to learn one on one from a mentor can be a powerful experience.
This radio story is narrated by two speakers, which confused me on first listen. I wasn’t familiar with all the voices and lost track of who was who. Other than that, the voices are clear to listen to. The writing is comprehensive and personal. This piece teaches that there are many possible ways an individual can learn.

Comment for "There’s No Saccharine in This Sweet School"

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An Academic Appetite

“There’s No Saccharine in This Sweet School” is narrated by a student who is applying to various colleges along the East Coast. The narrator compares college to a “progressive dinner” where she tries all the samples. The analogy makes this piece a fun and interesting listen. Though it would be neat to know the names of what universities the narrator was visiting, the names aren’t important to the story.
Because the piece is about college search, the audience of this essay seems to be restricted to high schoolers under the stresses of a college search. Nonetheless, there is an important lesson that can apply to students and non-students alike: good things can be found in unexpected places.

Comment for "GenderPalooza"

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Notions on First Sight

I attend a school where individual identity is valued strongly. Teachers loosely enforce dress code to give students a chance to express themselves. Because students are from different parts of the city, the culture is diverse. Plus, one’s gender identification is chosen by the student and the student alone.
In short, students are respected for who they are and who they want to become. To me, that’s what school is supposed to be--an institution to support individuals to become who they want.
“GenderPalooza” is a show that aims to break down gender stereotypes through journalism. The producers accomplish this by posing questions to different people vox pop style, presenting a story about “girl books” and “guy books”.
As a male, I am someone who can organize books into different categories in my mind. I’ll look at the cover of a book, analyze the art, the font and the text. I’ll prejudge books and think to myself, “oh that book must be corny,” or “that’s not a book I’d like to be seen reading.” Another thought is “that’s a girl book-- not for me.”
It wasn’t until listening to this radio program did I realize I did that. That is a close minded thing to do. The lesson in the program is that guys can have “girl interests” and girls can have “guy interests.” Being able to embrace a wide range of interests is important to the learning process, regardless of the gender connotations those interests have.

Comment for "Superman Gets Dumped and Batman Returns... Our Phone Call"

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Super Stories For All To Hear

“Superman Gets Dumped and Batman Returns... Our Phone Call” is unlike any radio show I’ve heard. It is a quirky show hosted by Graphite Girl (Madeline Ewbank) and Wonder Man (Srikar Penumaka). It is mostly fiction and a little journalistic vox-pop tied in.
In the vox-pop part of the program, “ordinary citizens” share what they wish their superpowers could be. Many of the responses are classic ones like flying and invisibility, though be sure to listen for some super-cool superpower ideas.
In the next bit of the program, the humor surprised me. Graphite Girl conducted a phone interview with the Batman. While superheroes tend to be charming and sociable, the Dark Knight’s personality is definitely one of a kind. In the interview, Batman was off-putting and seemed to be giving his interviewer a tough time.
Not all of the program was goofy fun. The last story of the program was a serious account about superhero’s love life. Lois Lane tells her story about what it’s like date, and break up with, the Man of Steel. Her story is intimate and the details feel real. In the story, Lois becomes insecure. She feels she doesn’t deserve to be with Superman. Though many of us won’t be dating a superhero any time soon, the story is relatable. There are times when we all feel inferior to someone close.
“Superman Gets Dumped...” is entertaining and deep. The producers invite listeners to have fun.

Comment for "A Tune to Change the Way We Act"

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A Radio Come-Up

I was introduced to the rap song “Thrift Shop,” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, in my third period class. There was a conversation about thrifting when a classmate started singing, “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket.” I was hooked. Now when the song comes up on the radio, you bet I’m singing along. “Thrift Shop” doesn’t come off as being the typical rap song. While many rap songs are about spending money on bling, Macklemore raps about saving money.
A Tune To Change The Way We Act is about how the popular song has inspired its listeners to get into thrift shopping. I love this radio story. It’s engaging and fun. Those who don’t thrift shop or listen to rap could find pleasure in the writing.
One thing that strikes me is the professionalism of the piece. With smooth transitions and precise volume levels, this well paced story is made with high quality. It held on to my attention and left me satisfied when it was finished.
In this piece, there were perspectives from a shopper who started thrifting because of the song, a thrift shop employee, and an avid thrift shopper. They share what they think of “Thrift Shop” and what their thrifting experiences have been like.
One idea that was talked about was whether thrift shopping is going to continue to be popular. The way the piece ended, it seemed the producer didn’t think so. As someone who is already a thrift shopper, I hope that thrift shopping can continue being a crave. It is economical on the wallet and sustainable for the environment. Thrifting is just cool all around.

Comment for "School Closings and Violence in Philadelphia"

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Story Review

Narrating as a duo, Nuwar Ahmed and Julian Roessler bring awareness to recent school closings in Philadelphia. Together they explore the question of whether the school closures are a potential cause for a violence increase in the city. They think that when a student’s school is closed down, they have to travel farther to get to school in another district. If the cultures of the students clash, or there is any gang activity, violence may occur. Nuwar said, “Because Philly is divided socially and racially, conflicts between rival groups can endanger the students.” This idea that school closures in Philadelphia is an issue with both education and safety seems unreal to me. Its sad that a student have to worry about their safety when being placed in a new school environment. A student’s focus should be on learning and building relationships in their community. It’s clear the issue is personal and important to the producers.
After listening to the piece, I’m left with a few technical questions and would like to know more about the school closures. How many have been closed recently? How many students have been uprooted from their schools from budget cuts so far? Will there be more closures soon?
This story is important to listen to because it offers a glimpse into the unique challenges students have in under budget school districts.

Comment for "First Pet"

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Story Review

Lilly, my Bichon Frisé, is a bombastic little one. She will whine and whine until my attention is hers. She is controlling. Sometimes I wonder what other people’s relationships with their pets are like. First Pet is a relatable radio story about producer Shawn Neuwirth’s dog, Juniper. Shawn lets listeners in on the observations he has made about Juniper, and how his sibling-like relationship with her has grown.
Before listening to the piece, I was expecting to hear a crazy story about a pet doing some fantastic, unexpected thing. And while First Pet doesn’t have anything too surprising, it does reinforce the idea that pets are family members as well.
The piece is laid back with subtle humor. “It only took seconds before their cotton guts covered the floor in white horror,” Shawn calmly said, describing the stuffed animals Juniper would tear up.
The length of the story feels just right. The gentle music with percussion and flutes worked well sustaining the tone of the piece. Shawn’s narration is clear and focused. First pet is a charming and sweet story with dry humor. For those who aren’t, you may consider becoming a pet owner. Pets have a way of bringing joy to the day. Now if my dog would just stop barking...

Comment for "Dubsteppin'"

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Review... More Like Wub-view

Dubstep is Electronic Dance Music (EDM) that uses both atonal and tonal sounds to create syncopated rhythms. The sub bass-- or “wub” sound-- in this music gives it its distinction.
Dubsteppin’ is a short radio story about how the genre is trending. The piece looks into why the music is attractive to its listeners, and asks whether the music will continue to be popular, or fade away as trends often do.
The producer provides different examples of what dubstep sounds like by playing parts of a few tracks. In the beginning of the piece, he uses a neat echo effect to introduce the listener to “Dubstep-step-step.” The quality of the transitions from narration to interview was smooth and volume balance is good.
In the intro, an interviewee named Matt was describing why his friend didn’t like dubstep. Then the producer comes in saying, “Electronic music is becoming more popular with each passing day.” Other than this contradictory bit, the writing is clear and easy to follow. This piece may work well to introduce listeners who aren’t familiar with the genre.
This piece could easily find itself in a radio segment about pop music.

Comment for "Youth Take: Teens & Technology"

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Review

Teens and Technology is a vox pop about how many of us have become so invested in the digital screens in front of us, we lose track of the physical world around us. Interviewees in this piece are young people and adults, extensive technology users and those who don’t even have a cell phone. Before listening to this piece, I didn’t think about how our technology is so practical and useful, yet not always used to its best potential. As an interviewee pointed out, technology shouldn’t be wasted on “frivolous, meaningless conversations.”

The groovy, energetic song worked well in the vox pop. Volume levels were precise and even, for the most part. The man talking about driving and cell phone usage was hard to hear, but the producers must have had a hard time with controlling that. It took me a second listen to catch him say the word “driving.”
To have some context on what the piece is about, it would have been nice to hear a little narration in the beginning.

Teens and Technology would work well in radio program about being too plugged into technology. The piece didn’t feel like a diatribe against those who enjoy technology, but a helpful reminder to be more present in the moment. In fact, that said, I’m going to take my bike out for a ride.

Comment for "Youth Take: Success"

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Review

I like listening to vox pops because I get to hear different insights on a single subject. Youth Take: Success is a simple vox pop where people share their definitions of what success is to them. Before listening to the piece, I expected the answers to be materialistic. That turned out to not be the case. The interviewees were down-to-earth and talked about accomplishing goals, spending time with family and community, and experiencing nature. For example, one person said, “When you’re successful is when you can really appreciate all the beautiful things around you.” This is a quote I agree with. I often feel happy when I am vulnerable to simple, everyday pleasures.
During the last interview, the speaker talked about being at Lake Superior. The music faded out, and sounds of the lake were brought up. This effect took me to the lake and put me in the conversation. Gentle music guides the piece, layering the interviews together. Volume levels of interviews were slightly uneven, though not distracting.This piece would work well in a program about finding inspiration. For me, this piece is happy and upbeat.

Comment for "What is Young People's Oppression?"

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Review

While saying that young people are oppressed by rude adults may be an overstatement, I do think there is a stigma among some adults that young people are “wild and irrational.”
In this piece, Tiana shares her experience of being poorly served in a pizza shop. “She appears to be annoyed at the sight of our overstuffed backpacks and book filled arms,” Tiana says, describing a woman at the counter. In the piece, Tiana is well spoken and her narration is easy to follow. This piece is important because it addresses the tensions caused by generation gaps, and offers solutions to those tensions. The punchy intro/outro music hugs the piece nicely. Restaurant sounds were a nice touch during the narrative. Most of the story seemed like a personal essay, but at one point Tiana brings in adult voices expressing negative judgments about young people. While this section of the piece added variety and interest, the adult voices sounded like actors, making that section a bit choppy. This story would work well in a radio segment about being kind. This piece made me think about whether or not it should considered normal for adults to be rude to young people.

Comment for "We, Youth"

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Redemption During Youth

For me, “We, Youth” opened up a new venue of thought. I hadn’t yet considered what ‘youth’ is. Mercedes does a good job at discussing the contradiction between what youth should be like, and struggles during her youth. “Self-hatred soliloquy was the only song my heart strings knew,” Mercedes expresses. Her writing is sly and lyrical. This piece addresses an important lesson; pain can be alleviated through the empathy of others. Love gives strength. Transitions between interviews in the vox pop intro were rough, but the overall piece is meaningful and engaging. The piece would work well in a radio special about growing up.