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Playlist: News Station Picks for August '10

Compiled By: PRX Curators

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39046851@N08/4581150872/">Mutasim Billah</a>
Image by: Mutasim Billah 
Curated Playlist

Here are August picks for news stations from PRX News Format Curator Naomi Starobin.

What Naomi listens for in news programming.

Maybe these slow news days of August have you thinking about something fresh, new and lively. Well, you can’t give each of your listeners a yappy puppy, but how about a new series? Great stuff out there. I had a look around on PRX and it was hard to pick just a few. This list displays a range from series with short interstitial pieces that you can plug in to a news magazine or show, to longer ones that would make great choices for weekend hours that right now just aren’t quite dazzling your audience. Have a listen!

Volunteers and Design

From Smart City Radio | 59:00

This is one in the series from Smart City Radio. All of the pieces are about cities...sometimes specific cities and how people are dealing with particular problems (Detroit, Syracuse), and other segments, like this one, are issue-oriented. These are heady and intellectual, and well-suited for an audience that is concerned or curious about urban life and its future.

It's hosted by Carol Coletta.

Default-piece-image-0 Ten years ago, two undergrads from Yale noticed the fundamental gap between their university and the community surrounds it.  To bridge this divide they formed the volunteer training organization that's now known as LIFT.  We'll speak with Ben Reuler, the executive director of LIFT, about harnessing the energy of students to engage them in the community and help combat poverty.

And...

Good design can do many things, but can it change the world?  My guest Warren Berger has written a book on how design is doing just that.  The book, titled Glimmer,  shows how design in action addressing business, social, and personal challenges, and improving the way we think, work, and live.

Unconventional Archaeology -- Groks Science Show 2010-07-28

From Charles Lee | Part of the Groks Science Radio Show series | 29:42

For that half-hour time slot, go science! Lots of lively interviews in these segments, along with commentaries and a question-of-the-week. This series is produced in Chicago and Tokyo by Dr. Charles Lee and Dr. Frank Ling, who also host the show. They are natural and curious, and lean toward short questions and long answers.

There are pieces on cancer-sniffing dogs, outsmarting your genes, number theory, ant adventures, and lots more, displaying great breadth.

It's geared to listeners who are interested in science...no college level inorganic chem required.

Grokscience_small Archaeology is often portrayed as a romantic adventure to the remote corners of the globe. But, what is the life of an archaeologist really like? On this program, Dr. Donald Ryan discussed unconventional archaeology.  For more information, visit the website: www.groks.net.

Are Freckles Just Cute or Something More?

From Dueling Docs | Part of the Dueling Docs series | 02:02

Dueling Docs is a great idea, well executed. Each two-minute piece answers a simple medical or health question. The host, Dr. Janice Horowitz, lays out a question (Should you get cosmetic surgery? Is dying your hair bad for you? Can stretching make you more prone to injury?), presents opposing views, and concludes with advice.

This would fit in nicely during a weekend or weekday news show. A good two minutes.

Duelingdocs_prx_logo_medium_small While the rest of the media doesn't bother to challenge the latest news flash, Dueling Docs always presents the other side of a medical issue, the side that most everyone ignores.  Janice gets doctors to talk frankly about controversial health matters - then she sorts things out, leaving the listener with a no-nonsense take-home message

Reading Russian Fortunes

From Rachel Louise Snyder | Part of the Global Guru Radio series | 03:03

This series, Global Guru, claims to "ask one simple question -- just one -- about somewhere in the world." Those questions have included: "How do the Hopi bring rain to the desert?" "How and why do Thai people categorize their food?" "Why are there so many barbershops in Tanzania?" This is a great series of three-minute pieces you can squeeze into just about any hour. Rachel Louise Snyder out of Washington, DC is the producer. She says "each week, our mandate is to surprise listeners." Your listeners would say she succeeds.

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The Global Guru is a weekly public radio show that seeks to celebrate global culture, particularly in countries where Americans have either single narrative story lines, like Afghanistan (war), Thailand (sex tourism), Rwanda, (genocide), or perhaps no story lines at all, like East Timor, Moldova, Malta, Lesotho, etc. Engaging and rich in sound, the 3:00 interstitial seeks to enrich our collective understanding of the vastness of human experience. Presenting station is WAMU in Washington, DC and sponsored by American University in DC. Some of our favorite past shows include: How do Cambodians predict the harvest each year? How did Tanzania become the capitol of barbershops? How and why does Thailand categorize food? What is Iceland’s most feared culinary delight? How do you track a Tasmanian devil? What are the hidden messages in Zulu beadwork?

A Way with Words (Series)

Produced by A Way with Words

Public radio listeners, as you know, are curious and intelligent. And they are, as you know, sticklers for language. Satisfy their curiosity with this hour-long series. It's hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette, who talk about word usage and origin, and take questions from callers. Often those questions center around a word or expression that the caller recalls from childhood and is curious about. The mood is informal and the hosts joust a bit in a friendly way with their answers.

Most recent piece in this series:

The Black Dog (#1536)

From A Way with Words | Part of the A Way with Words series | 54:00

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To warn away thieves, medieval scribes sometimes added a written curse to the colophon of a precious book. Curses were once considered such powerful deterrents that they were sometimes added to Anglo-Saxon legal documents.
Carol from Clays Ferry, Kentucky, wonders about the term her grandmother used, dasn't, as in the warning We dasn't do that. The word dasn't derives from the expression dares not. It's now antiquated, and mostly heard east of the Mississippi.
In several previous episodes, we've talked about pangrams, those sentences that use every letter of the alphabet at least once. Lauren, who lives in Perth, Western Australia, sent us a couple penned by her 11-year-old daughter Sinead, including this gem: The fox sneezed quickly several times while eating strawberry jam pancakes. 
Jesse from Louisville, Kentucky, wonders if the second-person plural pronoun y'all is becoming more popular throughout the United States. A 2000 article in the Journal of English Linguistics finds that yall and you-all are indeed spreading beyond the American South.     
A 17th-century book curse begins with the warning Steal not this book my honest friend / For fear the gallow be your end . . . 
This week's puzzle by Quiz Guy John Chaneski is inspired by the drawings used by logicians -- that is, each answer rhymes with the term Venn Diagram. For example, a map of nearby marshlands isn't a Venn Diagram, it's a . . . 
Jo Ann lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but grew up in England. She remembers that when her brother was mopey during family trips to visit their grandparents in Devon, their grandfather would tell him Get that black dog off your back! For hundreds of years, the term black dog has been used to mean "a dark mood" or "depression" or "a funk." The black dog has long been associated with Winston Churchill, although he rarely used the expression himself. 
In theatrical parlance, an 11 o'clock number is a showstopping tune late in a musical, which usually coincides with the protagonist or other major character having a life-changing realization. An example would be the song "So Long, Dearie" from Hello, Dolly! 
Trevor from Waxahachie, Texas, wonders: If you find a typo or other error in a book, should you let the publisher know?
Eight-year-old Violet moved from Lexington, Kentucky to Zionsville, Indiana, and found other kids don't share her pronunciation of sprinkles as SPRANK-ulls. Who's right?
Tweeting under the name @guerillamemoir, Allison K Williams has a painful observation about typos that will resonate with many writers.
A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader is a lavishly illustrated anthology edited by Maria Popova of Brainpickings and Claudia Bedrick. It contains a particularly inspiring letter from writer Anne Lamott.
Anna, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, wonders if it's okay to pronounce the word measure as MAY-zhur. This pronunciation is scattered across the United States, and in fact one of Jack Benny's old radio announcers pronounced the word that way.
The ancient Greeks believed that the precious purple stone called an amethyst had the power to prevent a person from becoming intoxicated. That belief is reflected in the name of this gem, which comes from the Greek prefix a- meaning "not," and methys, "drunk," a linguistic relative of English mead. 
A native English speaker who's been studying Spanish for 11 years with her husband finds that learning a second language has an effect on her original tongue. She can't spell as well as she used to, and sometimes finds herself reaching for Spanish constructions when speaking English, such as saying I have cold rather than I am cold. It's a phenomenon called language attrition, and linguistics professor Monika Schmid of the University of Essex has devoted a whole website to the topic, with lots of helpful advice for addressing this challenge.
Darcy calls from North Pole, Alaska, to share a saying her grandparents used when she asked for something she couldn't have. It sounded like either You may want horns, but you'll die mole-headed or You may want horns, but you'll die mull-headed. More often the final element is bull-headed or butt-headed, and it's common enough that it shows up in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston.
This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.