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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:

Far Out, Man (#1497)

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

Jazzmusicians_small On Twitter @flaminghaystack asks: What if the person who named walkie talkies named everything? For starters, we might refer to a defibrillator as a hearty starty and stamps as licky stickies.

A San Diego, California, listener wonders if the expression far out originally had to do with surfing. This expression describing something excellent or otherwise impressive originated in the world of jazz, where far out suggested the idea of something beyond compare.

The Yiddish phrase Hak mir nisht keyn tshaynik and its variants have been used to tell someone to stop babbling or making noise. Literally, it means Don't knock me a teakettle.

After the death of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, @tommysantelli tweeted a powerful reminder about the language we use to describe someone who uses a wheelchair.

A Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, listener notes that the word cunning is sometimes used to describe a cute baby. In the 14th century, this adjective had to do with the idea of knowing, and eventually also acquired the meaning of quaint or charming. The word cute itself followed a somewhat similar path, deriving from acute, meaning sharp or knowledgeable.

Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a take-off puzzle this week, offering clues to rhyming two-word phrases made by removing the letter D from the beginning of one of them. For example, if your sound equipment was damaged in a flood, what are you left with?

A debate is raging in a Cincinnati, Ohio, community over the name of a local high school mascot, the Redskins. What's the origin of the word redskin, and is it a derogatory term or an homage to Native Americans? The book Redskins: Insult and Brand by C. Richard King is a helpful resource on this topic. In this local dispute, the adults seem to be arguing past each other, and the hosts suggest that the students themselves should be brought into the discussion.

Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time. This may be a Jewish proverb, although its provenance is uncertain. In any case, it's a reminder that while young people still have much to learn, they also know things their elders don't.

A law enforcement professional describes a dispute that arose over the term honey hole. He and some of his colleagues understand it to mean a place where many citations would be written, but two others took offense at what they perceived as a sexual connotation. Actually, the term honey hole has had a variety of meanings over the years, including a hole in a tree where honey is found, a good fishing or hunting spot, a place on a baseball field where a hit ball is likely to land, a strong source of income or profit, a hole made in a log to attract raccoons, a spot where in-ground compost is made. Honey hole is also used ironically to mean a latrine or an area where one is likely to catch a serious illness like malaria.

A ninth-grade English teacher in Canfield, Ohio, says that when her class reached the climactic scene in The Odyssey where Odysseus bends his mighty bow and kills his wife's suitors, a student wondered whether the correct phrase is shoot a bow or shoot an arrow. The latter is far more common.

The Latin phrase mens sana in corpore sano, or "a healthy mind in a healthy body," comes from one of the Satires of the ancient Roman poet Juvenal. Fast-forward to 1977, when the Japanese manufacturer of athletic footwear was looking for a name for his new product. He chose an acronym based on a phrase with roughly the same translation, anima sana in corpore sano, or ASICS.

You know when you're waiting in line to make a left turn at a traffic light, but the pokey driver ahead of you is so busy with their cell phone that you end up having to sit through another red light? Shouldn't there be a word for those selfish drivers? How about left-lane losers? Or light hogs? Maybe lanesquatters? A listener in La Jolla, California, believes that naming this phenomenon will be the first step to ending it.

Honeypots is a children's game in which players sit or squat with their hands gripping the backs of their thighs, while other players lift them up by the armpits and shake or swing them in an attempt to make them lose their grip. What fun!

Why is the past tense of buy not buyed but bought? Often the verbs most likely to have such irregular forms are the simplest, reflecting the residue of centuries-old grammatical features.

A chance encounter with University of California San Diego professor of history Mark Hanna, author of Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740, leads to a discussion of how the saying Arrr! came to be associated with pirates. This exclamation seems to have been popularized by British actor Robert Newton in the 1950 movie Treasure Island.

A woman in Lafayette, Louisiana, and wonders about the Cajun French word honte, which means extreme embarrassment and shame.

Food that fell on the floor that you go ahead and eat anyway? That's a floorio.

This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.