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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:

Keep Your Powder Dry (#1519)

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

1848019656_a809400fca_m_small The shadow portrait called a silhouette takes its name from Etienne de Silhouette, a French official whose short-lived term under Louis XV was characterized by extremely unpopular austerity measures.
 
The expression to wing it, meaning to perform by improvising or with little preparation, comes from the world of 19th-century theater, where it denoted the work of understudies who stepped onstage and received prompting from the wings.
 
Sarah from Dallas called us years ago to talk about the word preheat. Now newly married, she and her Russian husband have a friendly dispute over this question: What is a sandwich?
In eastern Pennsylvania, the adjective strubbly describes hair that's unkempt or messed up. This dialectal term apparently derives from a German word that means tousled.
 
Quiz Guy John Chaneski playfully ponders misheard movie quotes. For example, if Rhett Butler refuses to provide shellfish for Tara’s annual Seafood Night, his next line will be what?
 
Kathy from Evansville, Indiana, is bothered when she hears younger people use verse as a verb, as in Who are they versing? and We versed that team last week. This term arose out of confusion over the use of versus, a preposition in Latin that means to come toward or turn toward. The idea of players versing each other arose out of gaming culture, and has become common enough that its use should be considered legitimate.
 
Strumple is an old word that means the fleshy part of a horse’s tail, and that really cocked my strumples is an antiquated expression meaning that really perked me up.
 
Cody, who lives in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, wonders: If someone is hungry, you feed them—but is there a single word for what you do for someone who’s thirsty? In other words, eat is to feed as drink is to what? English apparently lacks a single word for the act of slaking someone else's thirst. The fanciful verb embeverage has been suggested, but hasn’t caught on.
 
There's a Chinese term for a generalist that literally translates as equipped with knives all over, yet none is sharp. In Estonia, a similar idea is expressed with a phrase that translates as nine trades, the tenth one hunger.  
 
Tommy from Carlsbad, California, wonders about an expression his mother used when he would be busily fastidious about cleaning to the point of overdoing it. She would say he was briggling. The verb to briggle is defined in the Dictionary of American Regional English as to fuss about ineffectively. It may derive from a Scots term, breeghle or brechle, that expresses a similar idea.
 
The jacuzzi hot tub takes its name from an Italian family that emigrated to California in the early 20th century, and was credited with several inventions, including the bubbling spa.
 
Bob from Rockford, Illinois, recalls that forty years ago when he was in the Navy, his instructors would stamp their foot to emphasize a particular point that might be on the test later. They referred to this action as horsing up the students, and the students called their group study sessions horse sessions and referred to their large notebooks as horse notes. What do horses have to do with the curriculum studied by the Navy's nuclear-power specialists? The answer may have to do with horse blankets.
 
In English, we say Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, but the Russian equivalent translates as Don’t freeze off your ears to spite your Mama.
 
Bill calls from Bulverde, Texas, to discuss the word for a technique his Indiana-born family used to get the sluggish last bit of ketchup out of a bottle. They’d add a bit of water, and say they were wabashing it. What possible connection would the word wabash have with a technique for getting ketchup out of a bottle? It may refer to an old slang sense of wabash meaning to cheat.
 
Shelby calls from Rockville, Indiana, to ask about the origin of the phrase keep your powder dry. Many people surmise it derives from words uttered by Oliver Cromwell, but there's no recorded evidence of this. The phrase first pops up in the early 19th century, and was popularized by a song from the early 1830s by Valentine Blacker called Oliver's Advice.


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.