Comments by Connor Parker

Comment for "What Makes Us Popular"

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Review of What Makes Us Popular

This witty piece gives insight to one school's standards of "popularity." The structure of the podcast was solid: questions posed in the beginning and answered in the second half of the piece. The background music was not distracting, but could have been varied a bit throughout the piece. I enjoyed this social commentary on popularity, as it is something that everyone in high school always wonders but never receives an answer to, and this piece shared one school's views on popularity. The interviewers also did a good job getting a variety of voices for this piece; it would have been easy to go talk to two or three friends, but they went the extra mile and got many people, and the quality and diversity was noticed--and appreciated--as a listener.

Comment for "In Preparation for Sleep"

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Review of In Preparation for Sleep

This powerful piece delves into the mind of someone struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder and provides incredible insight through its intriguing simplicity. At first, I didn't quite realize what was going on, but then I figured it out and it clicked for me, making this piece a unique one. The cacophony of the sounds from the routine creates a chaotic yet oddly systematic background and sets the tone for this piece well. This is one of the more artistic podcasts I have heard and is a great example of how something with minimal dialogue can have such an impact on listeners. This piece would fit brilliantly in a series of other podcasts that address other mental illnesses or struggles in this intriguing portrayal of the person's mind.

Comment for "Quick Queue: Cold War Jazz"

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Review of Cold War Jazz

I love Jazz, I live for Jazz. Jazz music is something I love and I love sharing it with people. So seeing a title with the word "Jazz" in it caught my eye and had me hooked. The background music was splendid and didn't distract me as i listened to the piece. The description was a nice supplement to the audio, as it gave me something to read and process visually while listening. Hearing about jazz's influence during the Cold War was cool because I sometimes forget about jazz within the context of a certain decade or period of time, and this was nice to make me think about how history and jazz relate. While this piece is intended to be a hook to a larger piece, a link to the full one would be nice, because it is taking some hunting to find the full episode. But overall, I really liked this short and sweet segment about jazz.

Comment for "My Trip to Third Coast"

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Review of My Trip to Third Coast

Any podcaster, young or old, would dream to attend Third Coast, and hearing about Rob's experience there was interesting. The sound clip of Ira Glass was a great add-on and tied it in to the whole Third Coast experience. Hearing about the different features and how they impacted Rob was especially intriguing. The content of the narration was perfect for this kind of piece, but it seemed like it was being read directly off of a paper or script. If it had been said more conversationally, it would have made the piece exquisite. A tip I employ to remedy this is to have a colleague stand near me while I record voiceovers and it reminds me to be conversational. With that tip, pieces like this in the future could be really cool. I would love to hear this episode in the context of a "post-Third Coast" series that reviews what occurred at the famed audio festival, and this piece would serve as a spotlight on what young podcasters can take away from it. Overall, a solid piece with a bit of improvement to be made on narration, but the story is neat.

Comment for "Chatting with Bill"

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Review of Chatting with Bill

"Chatting with Bill" recounts the intriguing experiences of Bill Dewberry's time in Marine Corps Boot Camp. My grandfather was a Marine as well, and it is interesting to hear similar stories from someone completely unrelated. I enjoyed all of Bill's anecdotes, but a bit of narration would have been nice, even as just an intro or outro. Furthermore, some background music or ambient "military sounds" would have amped up the mood, since this is not a somber subject and has leeway for creative additions. Other than those tips, this was a cool story and nicely edited. I really enjoyed hearing the stories recounted by Bill and I think that taking it further by collecting more stories from other veterans and compiling them could be an awesome piece.

Comment for "What We Are Thankful For"

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Review of What We Are Thankful For

This piece, highlighting what students are thankful for, provides some nice holiday spirit by making listeners ponder their own answer while hearing students give theirs. The music in this piece was calm and relaxing, adding to the simple mood. Transitioning between each person's response was done well, and the ambient noise was similar enough to where it didn't sound abrupt or drastically different. The intro was extremely straightforward, introducing the point of the story right off the bat; however, the outro was not up to par with the story's exquisite opening. The last lines by the narrator were too short and didn't close it perfectly. It served the purpose of ending the piece, but in the future, a little more meat at the end would be awesome. "What We Are Thankful For" is a great listen for folks who want to warm up to the holiday spirit this year. Leaving me thinking about what I'm thankful for this holiday season, this piece let me hear what other kids like me had to say to the classic question, "What are you thankful for?"

Comment for "Time For Africa"

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Review of Time For Africa

Most kids feel cramped when there are a few extra kids on a bus. Imagine a bus filled nearly 40 over capacity. These kids in Ghana are experiencing this on the way to day care. This piece was nicely arranged, and it had a good balance of narration, interview, and ambient sound. The ambient sounds of the children produce a schoolyard environment, placing me right in the middle of the group of jolly kids. The segment about the food was really eye-opening and highlighted the morals these kids exhibit in difficult conditions. The outro was just great, I love that song (don't want to spoil it for potential listeners) and it was a pleasant conclusion to a quality piece.

Comment for "Worth A Listen: Danny Lukovic"

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Review of Worth A Listen: Danny Lukovic

Discovering that a peer sings or plays an instrument extraordinarily well is so much fun to find out, and when you do, you often can't get enough of their work. "Worth A Listen: Danny Lukovic" discusses the work of a somewhat hidden guitarist, singer, and songwriter. The piece begins with a song of his and then goes into a nice, formal intro line. Very professional opening. The flow of the story is great, as it is like a natural interview but then some supplementary songs are in there, like extra bits that enhance the piece tremendously. The lyric analysis was really cool, I could imagine everything Danny described, and it made me feel in that scene for a moment. Leaving me thirsty to go play my own instrument, the trumpet, this piece is nice for any musicians who are interested in hearing how someone started up playing guitar and how they make their music.

Comment for "Really, I'm Trying."

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Review of Really, I'm Trying.

As a guy with two younger sisters, I understand the difficulty of building the relationship, even if not to the degree of the narrator. "Really, I'm Trying." is a brilliant portrayal of a distanced brother-sister relationship and the struggles undergone by the sister to rebuild it. The piece starts off with a great, eloquent description of the relationship, and the story arc had me gripped by about two-thirds through. There was never too much or too little information, it was just right. The narration was fine, although at times I noticed that there were some awkward pauses or breaths, which could lead to awesome flow once remedied. The music segments and vivid scene descriptions--diners, rest stops, the bedroom--gave the piece a reinforced tone, one that is very contemplative and sympathetic to the fact that everyone has something they want hidden. Overall, the piece left me with an impression of how some sibling relationships must be truly reconstructed from scratch after long periods of time, making me thankful for the strong relationships I have and making me aware of what my peers could be experiencing.

Comment for "Jimmy's Story"

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Review of Jimmy's Story

Short, simple, and sending shivers down my spine, this piece had me riveted, waiting to hear the next haunting moment in Jimmy's heart-wrenching story. The simplicity of this piece creates an intimate relationship between the listener and the audio, in this case, Jimmy. Effectively placed background sounds and music appropriately accompanied the somber mood of the piece and put me into the scene; such intensity yielded fear for my own safety and a desire for justice to those who carry out wretched violence. This piece is a perfect testimonial for anti-bullying campaigns, giving a voice to those who experience bullying and have nowhere to turn. Stories about bullying are unfortunately common, but one as gripping as this shouldn't be missed.

Comment for "My Family, Foreclosed. "

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Review of My Family, Foreclosed

America’s poor economy is something that everyone knows about but no one wants to discuss—a taboo of sorts. In “My Family, Foreclosed,” Makele White shares the story of her experience with the economy and reveals a life that many teens can’t imagine. The dynamic of the piece is quite interesting: narration by Makele but also interview clips with her parents. This format allows for multiple opinions and unique lenses through which listeners can experience her story. To really perfect this format, record the narration in a sound setting similar to that in which the interview was recorded, thus easing the transitions between the noticeably different portions. Aside from this, the style was great. The narration was quite informative; however, the emotions evoked from the story are melancholic, sad, and pensive, and the narration doesn’t quite reflect that. Slowing it down just a bit and really contemplating what is being said would drastically improve the narration. When her mom begins crying, the emotional curtain has been lifted, and listeners can now truly connect and empathize with the tragedies discussed in the piece. As far as the music goes, it was all appropriate and really quite interesting. Her dad’s song was a cool intro and outro, and the song in the middle matched the vibe of the piece. The storm sounds were so cool! As someone who has been to Oregon a lot, I know about the weather, and that totally set the scene for that segment. Additional sound bytes—when appropriate—would really fill out the piece. Overall, it’s a gripping, intriguing take on today’s economy that left me appreciating what I have and contemplating what families across America are experiencing today.

Comment for "The Orangutan Man "

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Review of The Orangutan Man

Most people dream of seeing exotic animals up close and in person, so they take a trip to the zoo or watch National Geographic, but Caitlin Gaylord shares the story of a Seattle pet store manager who travels the world each year to see endangered species. This heart-warming piece is short and sweet, gets right to the point, and shares Paul's anecdote of the spectacular orangutan he met in Borneo. The narration in this piece is a little quick coming from a listener's standpoint, but it is sufficient in providing background info and setting up the scene for the body of the piece. Never bored, I enjoyed hearing the development of Paul's relationship with the orangutan, and the light background music matched the flow of the story. A nice touch, this music gave the piece a new layer; as a listener I felt like I was really in the piece as opposed to just listening to a newsreel. This piece would fit nicely in a story advocating wildlife protection and preservation. Leaving me dreaming of traveling the world, "The Orangutan Man" was a fun jungle trip that sparked my imagination, and a few more vivid descriptors in the final narration would have accentuated the quality of an already delightful piece.