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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:

Skookum (#1534)

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

26451895671_444f5a2969_n_small You might assume that the Welsh word plant means the same thing it does in English, but this word is a linguistic false friend. The Welsh word plentyn means "child," and the word plant means "children." Some false friends are etymologically unrelated, such as the Italian word burro, which means "butter," and the Spanish word burro, or "donkey." Others have a common root, but took divergent paths in different languages. The Latin word fastidium, for example, means "loathing" or "disgust," and gave rise to Spanish fastidioso, which means "annoying" or "tedious," but also English fastidious, which has the somewhat more positive meaning of "meticulous." Gift in German means "poison," but in Norwegian the same word means "married."


Stacy in Eureka, California, wonders: what's the proper way to pronounce the word bury? Should it rhyme with jury or cherry?


Mark from Newport News, Virginia, says his mother, who grew up in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, often used a puzzling phrase. To ask how close he was to completing a task, she'd say How much do you like? In parts of the Southern United States, this expression simply means How much do you lack?


The adjective skookum comes from Chinook jargon and is commonly used in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest to describe something strong, good, muscular, or powerful, as in a skookum Malamute or a skookum drink.


Quiz Guy John Chaneski is pondering the term o'clock, which is a shortening of the phrase of the clock. What would our language be like if we used that construction all of the time, or as he puts it, all o'time? For example, what similarly constructed term would designate a reverend by the material used to make their clerical garb?


Now that he's reached mid-life, Jeff in San Diego, California, is eager to start writing fiction, but he worries that creative writing classes may be simply self-indulgent or otherwise unhelpful. He shouldn't be. Across the nation, older learners can take advantage of excellent and affordable classes in creative writing at places institutions such as the San Diego Community Colleges. Most cities have organizations like San Diego Writers Ink, which can provide wonderful support, encouragement, and instruction. Or to work completely on your own, try a book like The Lively Muse Daily Appointment Calendar for Writers by Judy Reeves. The key is to get started and then stick to it. Also, make sure to take advantage of all the learning opportunities afforded by special events for reading enthusiasts, such as The San Diego Union-Tribune Festival of Books.


Rae from Baltimore, Maryland, works in a cardiac intervention lab where surgeons refer to the esophagus as the goose. Is that bit of medical slang limited to her workplace?


Mary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, says that growing up, she and the kids in her neighborhood used the the verb pump to refer to giving someone a lift on a bicycle. This caused a bit of confusion when she went away to college and puzzled fellow students with requests like Will you pump me over to my dorm? or Just give me a little pumping.


Sister Patricia Marie in San Antonio, Texas, wonders why we use three sheets to the wind to describe someone who is inebriated. In nautical terminology, some of the ropes, or lines, attached to a sail are called sheets. If three of those sheets come loose, the boat is extremely difficult to control, much like a drunk person stumbling around.


In an earlier episode, Dennis from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, was having trouble recalling a word that denotes the interval between the end of an event or of someone's life and the death of the last person that has a meaningful memory of it. We had a couple of suggestions, but they weren't what he was searching for. Fortunately, a listener in Geneva, Switzerland, wrote in with the likely answer: saeculum. The ancient Etruscans and Romans would make a sacrifice to the gods on behalf of everyone alive at the time of a significant event, and when all of those people had died, the gods supposedly sent a sign that a new sacrifice was needed. That period was called a saeculum. The Latin word was adopted whole into English to mean "a long period of time." The genitive form, saecularis, meaning "of an age," also gave us secular, referring to worldly matters of a particular period. Secular can also refer to something that exists or occurs through several ages. For example, economists use the term secular inflation to refer to inflation that takes place over a long period of time. Similarly, in his poem "The Garden," Ralph Waldo Emerson refers to a slow-ripening, secular tree.


Growing up in Thibodeaux, Louisiana, Ashleigh was accustomed to using many Cajun terms, such as sha bebe for "poor baby," ya mom'n'em for "your family and circle of friends," and lagniappe, meaning "a little something extra thrown in." Another one is pelay, pronounced PEE-lay, which she uses to describe an action like stubbing her toe or bumping her knee. It's from piler, which according to the Dictionary of Louisiana French has a variety of meanings, including "to trample or crush," "to beat," or "to step on someone's foot."


John from Orlando, Florida, shares a story about a trip to Capetown, South Africa, where he discovered that the phrase I'll be with you now meant something more like "Wait a minute." The expression now now, deriving from an Afrikaans term, is widely used in South Africa to mean "right away."


The Mexican Spanish term tules means "bulrushes" or "marsh plants." In parts of California and along the Pacific coast, toolies or tulies refers to a place that's in a remote area, or in other words, out in the sticks.


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.