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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-1 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:

Had the Radish (#1527)

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

3032855638_5b0b4b5b9e_m_small Remlap, Alabama and Trebloc, Mississippi are examples of ananyms -- names formed by spelling a word backwards, making them a kind of anagram. In the case of the Alabama town, it's named after the Palmer family, and the Mississippi town is named for a family named Colbert. Similarly, Lennut was the original name of a Kentucky town that happened to be near -- you guessed it -- a tunnel.


Donna in Ithaca, New York, wonders about the phrase I've had the radish, said by someone who's exhausted or frustrated. It's commonly heard in Vermont, and may be related to the French phrase je n'ais plus un radis, meaning "my resources are exhausted."


Following up on our conversation about euphemistic ways to talk about one's age, Gene from Greenwood, Indiana, reports that his mother-in-law prefers the phrase I'm at that cute age.


Elainey from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, says her friend called her a clothes horse. Her friend meant it as a compliment, but Elainey has always understood the expression to be a dig that implies someone is too preoccupied with their appearance?


The word radish derives from Latin radix, meaning "root." The Latin word is at the root of the English words radical and eradicate.


Quiz Guy John Chaneski offers a puzzle about kangaroo words. They're words that contain a synonym of themselves. For example, the word devilish contains what adjective that means the same thing?


Lisa in Wilmington, North Carolina, remembers her grandmother using the expression who struck John to mean "confusion," "foolishness," or "bad behavior." No one's sure who John was, but this phrase is predated by a similar phrase, who struck Billy Patterson, a refrain from a 19th-century minstrel song.


It would be nice is Sigmund Freud really said Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me, and the ailurophilic observation Time spent with cats is never wasted. However, according to researchers at the Freud Museum in London, the father of psychoanalysis never said them. Any time you're uncertain about the provenance of a quotation, Garson O'Toole's Quote Investigator is a good place to start.


How did the town of What Cheer, Iowa, get its name? The word cheer was long used to indicate an emotional state of any kind, so asking someone What cheer? was another way to say "How are you?" The greeting What cheer, netop? Is closely associated with history of Providence, Rhode Island, netop being a Narragansett word for "friend," which may have inspired the name of the Iowa town. But no one knows for sure.


Margaret from Denton, Texas, says that during her many years in Northern New Mexico she noticed that residents with Latino roots often used the phrase landed up instead of ended up, and get down off the car rather than get out of the car. The latter is simply a calque from the Spanish word bajar, meaning "to descend" or "to lower." The phrase landed up, on the other hand, is not at all limited to New Mexico.


Do you like your name? Have you ever wanted to change it to something else? Martha and Grant talk about the experiences of people who tried changing their names, why they did it, and how other people reacted. 


Marco from San Diego, California, is curious about why sportscasters speak of a player who put English on a ball -- that is, an unusual spin. The expression appears to have begun with British players of billiards and snooker, who first figured out how to give a ball some extra spin. Body English refers to the way a player or observer twists and turn once a ball is already in motion, as if they could somehow add a little extra spin after the fact. Sports announcers also refer to a ball that's passed too hard as having a lot of mustard on it. That's simply a way of comparing that added force to extra "spice."


Tennessee lawmakers have passed a resolution affirming that Appalachian English is a "fully legitimate dialect and most deserving of the respect afforded other dialects of American English."


Amanda in Indianapolis, Indiana, wonders about her mother's exhortation Hoop it up!, meaning "Get going!" It's part of a long tradition of making noise to urge someone to hurry.


Is there a word for a serving dish shaped like the food it's meant to serve, such as a plate for serving fish that's shaped like a fish?


Mark from Lewiston, Texas, remembers old cartoons where a someone would roll down the window of a car and yell at a pokey motorist, Sunday driver! But why Sunday as opposed to any other day of the week?