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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:

Mrs. Astor's Horse (#1530)

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

Horse_small The Internet Archive offers a wealth of free books and other publications online, including the 1948 collection of jokes, riddles, and playground sayings called A Rocket in My Pocket: The Rhymes and Chants of Young Americans.


Gabrielle in Beloit, Michigan, is puzzled about why we refer to the zipper on a pair of pants as a fly. The term originally referred not to the zipper itself, but the flap that goes over it, like the fly that protects the entrance to a tent.


A kid's misunderstanding of the word Pentecost leads to a family celebrating the religious holiday of Polka dots.


Eva in Fairbanks, Alaska, wonders why her grandmother used to say raise the window down when she wanted someone to open that window.


What's the structure that projects out from a building over an entrance, such as at a hospital entrance where patients can be dropped off? Architects call it a port-cochere, or literally, "coach door."


Quiz Guy John Chaneski is puzzling over theatrical productions from an alternate universe, where the titles of familiar plays include a scrambled word. For example, what's the Shakespearean comedy in which Titania, Oberon, and all the fairies are packing heat?


Nine-year-old Lydia in Madison, Alabama, wonders about the difference between the words immigrate and emigrate.


Michelle from Tallahassee, Florida, says that when she was a kid, she decided on the first day of kindergarten that she would tell her teacher that she went by a different name, so that's what everyone at school called her. Imagine her mother's surprise on Parents' Night when she couldn't find her daughter's desk or any schoolwork with her name on it.


John in Bismarck, North Dakota, wants a word that describes a neutral state of emotion, specifically the midpoint between depression and euphoria. Is that insouciant? Apathy? Zen? Affectless? What's wrong with plain old neutral?


When a bird straightens and cleans its feathers with its own beak, it's preening. If one bird is doing the same thing for another, that action is called allopreening.


Julie in Greenwood, Indiana, says her mother was fond of the expression Mrs. Astor's pet horse, meaning "someone who dresses ostentatiously." The phrase refers to Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor, from the ultra-wealthy Astor family, who was known for throwing parties so lavish that even her horse got dolled up.


The 1948 book A Rocket in My Pocket: The Rhymes and Chants of Young Americans includes a funny rhyme about a donkey who mistakes a zebra for a felonious mule.


In certain ancient traditions, storks were associated with kindness and family devotion. The Hebrew word for this leggy bird is chasidah, meaning "the kindly one," from chesed, or "loving kindness." Storks were also highly regarded in Greek and Roman culture. The Greek word for this bird, pelargos, gave rise to Greek antipelargia, meaning "reciprocal love between parents and children," usually the love of adult children for their parents. The Pelargonia was a law in ancient Greek that required the care of one's elderly parents; the Roman equivalent was the Lex Cicconia. The rare English word antipelargy refers to mutual love between parents and children. Greek pelargos also appears in the name of the flower pelargonium, so named for the beaklike shape of its seed pod, and.also known as storksbill.


Cindy in Spokane, Washington, says her father would bid his loved ones good-bye by saying Tap 'er light. The phrase comes from miners' slang of the early 1900s and is a gentle admonition to take care to avoid cave-ins or prematurely detonating explosives. High-grade, meaning "to select the best items for oneself out of a larger collection of items, is another example of slang from the mines. It's a reference to a worker selecting some of the best ore and pocketing it for himself.


Alex in Amarillo, Texas, says he often hears speakers dropping the sound of the first r in the word forward. It's what linguists call dissimilation, where, when duplicate consonants in a single word, one of them is sometimes dropped for ease of pronunciation. For more about dissimilation, check out this article by Nancy Hall, a professor of linguistics at California State University Long Beach.


Tess in San Antonio, Texas, says her father and grandfather used to pretend to be bogeymen, playfully warning kids to be good lest Ol' Santy Mocus come after them. The word tantibogus is a euphemism for the Devil, and Ol' Santy Mocus may be yet another one.


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.