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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-2 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.

Guru_logo1_small

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:

Dirty Laundry (#1520)

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

Laudromat_small In response to our earlier conversation about the phrase to lick the cat over, meaning to repeat a laborious process, many listeners say they use the phrase lick the calf over to mean the same thing. Among the writers who have used it this way: Zora Neale Hurston.


Melanie in San Antonio, Texas, wonders about the use of the word pallet to mean improvised bedding on the floor. It goes back to a French term for it, paillet, which comes from a word meaning straw. The word also appears in some translations of the Biblical book of John, in which a newly healed man is told to pick up his pallet and walk.


Kevin in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, disagrees with his wife over the question: At what point do dirty clothes become laundry?


Quiz Guy John Chaneski is puzzling over words containing hidden proper names. For example, John just ordered a piece of jewelry for his wife to wear around her neck. What three-letter dude is hiding inside that word?


Someone who's towheaded has very light blond hair. Tow is an old word for flax, and flaxen-haired is a synonym for towheaded. Towheaded can also describe someone with tousled hair.


Jejune, meaning insipid or superficial, comes from Latin jejunus, meaning empty. The same root gives us jejunum, the part of the small intestine that is usually empty when autopsied. The same idea of emptiness is reflected in the related French and Spanish words for the first meal of the day, dejeuner and desayuno -- in other words, breakfast, or that which breaks the fast and ends the emptiness.


Dave in Council Bluffs, Iowa, has fond memories of Hough Bakeries in Cleveland, Ohio, which made a treat called lady locks. Sometimes called cream horns, foam rollers, and clothespin cookies, they featured puff pastry rolled around a small cylinder, much like women used to roll their hair on hot curlers, then baked and filled with a tasty cream. In Austria, a similar version goes by the name Schaumrollen, which translates as foam rolls, and Schillerlocken, a reference to the impressive locks of the German poet Friedrich Schiller.


If you're in a peek and plum town, it's a small one. You'll have time for just a peek at it before you've already passed it by.


Andrea in San Diego, California, noticed a new restaurant with a name spelled in a curious way. Is there a term for this kind of intentional misspelling used in advertising? Onomastics is the study of naming, and a good source for information about the product-naming business is Nancy Friedman's blog Fritinancy.


Our conversation about losing a day to the International Date Line prompted Jaquelyn from Ishpeming, Michigan, to share that she and her friends refer to a seemingly interminable stretch of days as a Beatles week, as in the Fab Four's song Eight Days a Week.


The tiny guppy, also called the millionfish or the rainbow fish, is named for amateur naturalist and Trinidad school superintendent Robert John Letchmere Guppy.


Pat in Aubrey, Texas, wonders why adults discussing a certain topic may warn each other that children are within earshot with the expression Little pitchers have big ears.


In parts of the United States, the verb to build is used to mean prepare a food or beverage, so you might build a coffee or build a lemon pie. This use of to build appears in a lot of literature of the Old West.


John in Seguin, Texas, says his mother used to use a phrase that sounded like colder than a well-digger's clavicle. Why would she use that term, if that's what it was? Clavicle comes from a Latin word that means little key.


The Spanish word for straw is paja. In Italian, it's paglia, which also gives us the name of the opera Il Pagliacci, the Italian word for clowns. In the past, clown costumes were made of the same fabric used to cover straw mattresses.


Claire from Wilmington, North Carolina, wants to know the origin of the phrase Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite? She's unsure about a story she heard about the saying having to tightening ropes that support mattresses, and her skepticism is well placed. Sometimes this phrase involves insects other than bedbugs, such as mosquitos or fleas It's a sweet bedtime saying that's especially appealing because of its rhyme. A longer version that dates back at least to the late 1800s goes: Good night, sleep tight, wake up in the morning bright, do what's right with all your might, and don't let the bedbugs bite.


A listener leaves us a voicemail about a sign his high school science teacher posted in the classroom to encourage students to keep the noise down. It read Laboratory -- more of the first 5, less of the last 7. As in more of the first five letters in the word, labor, and less of the last seven letters, oratory.


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.