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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:

Goody Two-Shoes (#1543)

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

2702324969_ecb24c7464_w_small A listener shares a tongue twister he learned at the age of five: Theophilus Thistle sifter, while sifting a sieve of unsifted thistles, thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb. Another version goes If Theophilus Thistle, the successful thistle sifter, can thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb, see thou, in sifting a sieve full of unsifted thistles, thrust not three thousand thistles through the thick of thy thumb. Sometimes tongue twisters don't have to be lengthy at all. Just try saying Peggy Babcock three times fast.


Barbara from Seattle, Washington, was surprised to hear a friend from Montana use the term jockey box to mean "glove compartment." Heard in much of the Northwestern United States, jockey box is a relic of the days when the drivers of covered wagons kept tools and supplies in a box under the wooden seat.


She sells seashells by the seashore. The shells she sells are seashells I'm sure, so if she sells seashells on the seashore, then I'm sure she sells seashore shells. Some claim that this tongue twister is about the early life of 19th-century English paleontologist Mary Aning. Although there's scant evidence to back up the notion that this ditty was inspired by Aning's job selling fossils and other curios in a seaside town, it's a good excuse to dig deeper into the life of this remarkable woman. Despite her pioneering contributions to the field of paleontology, Aning received little recognition during her lifetime. Eventually, though, the Royal Society would include her in a list of the ten most influential British women in the history of science.
 
Marge from Greenfield, Wisconsin, wonders why we refer to someone ostentatiously well-behaved as a goody-two-shoes. The 1765 book, The History of Little Goody Two Shoes tells the story of a poor young girl by the same name whose virtue is at long last handsomely rewarded.


A box of biscuits, a box of mixed biscuits and a biscuit mixer is a tricky tongue twister due to its many consonant clusters.


Inspired by the the short-lived meme OK Boomer, Quiz Guy John Chaneski offers a puzzle with similarly dismissive two-word phrases that begin with OK and end with a noun with a final -er. For example, if a friend who is the former mayor of Bangor bangs on about how superior his state is to yours, you might roll your eyes and say OK . . . ?


Tim in Unadilla, New York, says his grandmother used to say It's a great life if you don't weaken. For some reason, in 1914 this catchphrase exploded on both sides of the Atlantic. Other versions: It's a gay life if you don't weaken and It's a good life if you don't weaken. The idea was that life is great as long as you can keep your health, and that life will also be great if you don't give in to vices.


Henry James is often credited with the following quotation, or a version of it: Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. If you're ever unsure of the provenance of a quote or want to doublecheck its accuracy, Garson O'Toole's Quote Investigator is the place to start.


Many English words have their roots in Greek and Roman myth. Tantalize derives from the story of King Tantalus, condemned to stand forever in a pool that receded whenever he was thirsty, and beneath a bough of fruit that pulled away whenever he reached for it. Sisyphus was punished by having to push a heavy stone up a hill, only to see it break free and roll back down; from this myth we get the adjective Sisyphean. The handsome youth Narcissus was obsessed with his own reflection in a pond, which inspired both narcissist and the name of the flower narcissus, which blooms alongside bodies of water. Echo was the nymph who pined away for Narcissus until nothing was left of her but her voice. Iris, goddess of the rainbow, gave us both iridescent and the Spanish for "rainbow," arco iris. In The Iliad, the Greek herald Stentor bellowed with a voice as mighty as that of 50 men. From his name we get the adjective stentorian, which describes someone with a powerful voice. Dale Corey Dibbley shares hundreds more examples in From Achilles Heel to Zeus's Shield. 


Byron from Norfolk, Virginia, wonders about the term goldbrick. If gold is valuable, then why would goldbrick refer to someone who's a malingerer or otherwise dead weight? The answer has to do with swindlers who painted worthless bricks and passed them off as gold.


In response to our conversation about language chosen for a tombstone, listeners share proposed epitaphs for themselves and others. If you just can't get enough of epitaphs, you can browse lots of back issues of the scholarly journal Markers, published by the Association for Gravestone Studies.


Bekkah in Wimberly, Texas, says her grandmother would express surprise with the phrase Well, my foot!


If you're taking the dog for a walk, be sure to talk along a plastic bag to pick up any barker's eggs.


Irv in Putnam Station, New York, recalls his mother used to refer to a dismal, rainy day as a lowry day. What she probably meant is lowering, which describes a dark, foreboding sky, and may derive from a Germanic word that has to do with frowning.


Jennifer in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, has been in recovery from substance abuse for 29 years now, and still recalls some of the slang she heard back in the days when she was using illicit drugs. Her ex-husband used to say Now you got my nose open and Don't get my nose open, which both refer to the idea of enticing someone to do drugs. There are larger senses of this phrase, referring to being excited about something or being sexually aroused or feeling rising anger. This slang term has been around since the 1950s. Jennifer also used the term bonnaroo to mean "really good." In the slang of San Quentin Prison in the 1930s, bonnaroo meant "a preferred job assignment" for prisoners. The Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee takes its name from the 1974 album Desitively Bonnaroo by Dr. John, who said the word came from the French-influenced slang of New Orleans, Louisiana, a combination of French bonne, "good," and rue, "street," meaning "best on the street," or in other words, "really good drugs." 


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.