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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.

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:

Queen Bee (#1550)

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

16545241268_1dacf2cde9_w_small The Orange County Museum of Art commissioned Los Angeles artist Alan Nakagawa to do a project he called "Social Distancing, Haiku, and You," in which he invited the public to write haikus about the experience of living through the Covid-19 pandemic.


Melissa in Grand Prairie, Texas, hails from a family in New Jersey that refers to red pasta sauce with meat in it as gravy. Her family has Italian roots, and in their local dialect, the word for "sauce" can also be translated as "gravy." Sicilian-Americans do this as well. In his book The New York Times Food Encyclopedia, Craig Claiborne says that sauce and gravy mean the same thing. The Sopranos Family Cookbook uses the word gravy in the same way, a usage also immortalized in a famous scene from the hit TV show.


Emily in San Diego, California, wonders about the phrase to dog, meaning "to close and secure" as in to dog a door. In a nautical context, the phrase dog the hatches means to secure them with a bolt or handle designed for that purpose. This phrase probably derives from the idea of securing the hatch as tightly as a tenacious dog locking something in its jaws. To undog a door or hatch is to open it.


Quiz Guy John Chaneski is puzzling over homographs, words that are spelled the same but have different meanings and sometimes different pronunciations. For example, what two words that are spelled the same are suggested by the following clue? An artist is commissioned to paint a picture of the planets, but the patron wants him to get rid of the imaginary lines about which the planet rotates. At that point, the patron would have to wait while the artist does what?  


Angela in Dallas, Texas, remembers her mom's admonition to wash your granny beads, meaning clean the dirt off your neck. Country music star Randy Houser sings about his own granny-beaded neck in his song "Boots On."


The art project called "Social Distancing, Haiku, and You," includes a poem that articulates gratitude to health-care workers on the front lines of the global pandemic.


Sean, who is originally from Ireland, wonders if the term narrowback is considered a slur against the Irish. He also references an earlier conversation of ours about the term skinnymalink and shares a rhyme he remembers from childhood that includes that word. There are many other versions of that rhyme, including one in the book The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren by Iona and Peter Opie.


Our discussion about the phrase Go sit on a tack! prompted a listener to send us a math-minded version, Go divide 22 by 7!.


A North Carolina listener wonders about her mother's comment in response to complaining or pestering: Go dry up and bust! Since the mid-1800s, the slang phrase Dry up! has meant  Stop talking! In the theater world, the term dry up can mean to forget one's lines.


The terms Cuddle death, piping, tooting, quacking, drone comet, and waggle dance are all part of the parlance of beekeepers. The book Queenspotting by Hilary Kearney details these and other bee-related terms. Kearney's website, Girl Next Door Honey, has much more about all things apiary. 


The threat I'm going to cloud up and rain all over you goes back to at least 1911.


Julia in Norfolk, Virginia, wants a verb that denotes the act of making something simple unnecessarily complicated, particularly in a work setting. Some possibilities: complexify, befoul, bemuddle, and embrangle.


A haiku from artist Alan Nakagawa's collection of poems about social distance celebrates the kind of companionship that plants provide.


Dallas, who lives in Eugene, Oregon, wonders why we use number one and number two as euphemisms for "pee" and "poo."


Artist Alan Nakagawa's project involving haikus about social distancing includes a funny take on just how blurred boundaries can become while under lockdown.


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.