Comments by Zoe Cordes Selbin

Comment for "That's My Song: Aliens Exist"

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Review of That's My Song: Aliens Exist

As an avid Blink-182 fan, this piece caught my eye and my interest. I was expecting a run-of-the mill piece just talking about when the producer discovered the song and what it meant to them. And while this commentary did discuss that, it was much much more than just your regular "That's My Song!".

This piece is so cool because it uses music to talk about the producer's life. From discussing the issues of growing up and not feeling "right" or fitting in to discovering this song on a mix cd, this piece covers everything you'd want to know.

This piece is beautiful and fun and I can see it fitting in most any radio program. Here's hoping other youth can be inspired by the story behind this "celebration song"!!

Comment for "Teenaged Guitarists Tackle "El Gato Montes""

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Review of Teenaged Guitarists Tackle "El Gato Montes"

Teenagers and music. They seem to go together. It's hard to find a teen who doesn't like music, or who doesn't like to play an instrument or sing. This fun piece highlights just a few teens struggling through a musical piece, El Gato Montes, and trying to get it perfect for their performance!

I love the descriptive narration and I think the piece is really well written. The vox is perfect, and is at a nice volume. I really like the conclusion the producer comes to, about how you just get lost in the music, and how that can be forgotten if there's too much repetition.

This is a really nice short piece that touches on some universal themes of music. I really liked it, it's a meaningful yet fun sound-rich commentary. Thanks to Carlos Maeda for putting this up!

Comment for "Prom 2006"

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Review of Prom 2006

Oh, prom. It seems in today's culture, the most important event for every high school is prom. The night where there are seemingly no rules, where you get dressed up and party the night away--a teenage paradise!

This sound-rich piece takes a look at two high school proms using vox from the attendees. It's an interesting snapshot of prom, and focuses mostly on what the teens were wearing and what their after-prom plans were.

I really enjoyed getting to hear about the prom from the actual attending teens, and the vox was really interesting. However, I would have liked to hear about more than just fashion and party plans. Because prom is hyped by our culture to be such a perfect and amazing event, I would have been interested to hear the teens answers to questions such as "Is prom living up to your expectations?" or "Why did you come to prom and why is it important to you?" I like the original vox, I just think it could have been cut a little to make room for some other questions and answers.

That said, it's definitely a fun piece that would fit in any teen-themed show, especially in the spring. Thanks to Adrian Boyes and Manny Watson for putting this out there!

Comment for "Teen Retail Psychology: Playing the Popularity Game at Work"

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Review of Teen Retail Psychology: Playing the Popularity Game at Work

These days, it seems that when shopping, you make a lot of new friends--the salespeople. At shops aimed towards teens, the ever-present, ever-perky salesgirl or boy is always there to tell you just how cute you look.

This piece is a fascinating yet disturbing look at the tactics of young employees at trendy shops. The vox from these teens was really interesting--I couldn't believe it when one of the young women was talking about the certain kinds of fashionable clothes she had to wear to work!

I also really liked the vox from the teacher at UC Berkeley. He brought a more formal, academic view to this piece that was really smooth. Hearing him toss about phrases like "emotional labor", "walking advertisements", "instant friendships" and "brand representatives" was sickening and hopefully served as a wake-up call to listeners!

All in all, this piece is a really nice look at the world of retail. It would have been great to hear a little more, but at 3:07, it's a smooth, tight piece for radio. Kudos to Sophie Simon-Ortiz for exposing this!

Comment for "The Perks of Studying to Heavy Metal"

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Review of The Perks of Studying to Heavy Metal

Time and time again heavy music is disparaged as too loud, too angry, and a danger for the youth of America. However, in this piece Amanda Krysinski gives us a great look at why we all need to give metal a second chance!

I really enjoyed this piece because I felt like it gave me a new perspective on heavier music. Though I've never actively disliked metal, I've never really listened to it, and so I just thought of it as another loud, angry style of music. But Amanda really shows us how useful is can be as a "study buddy", and how it can help you concentrate. I felt like I got a whole new perspective on, well, the perks of studying to heavy metal!

I also really liked Amanda's point about how with most other types of music, it gets stuck in you head easily, with catchy riffs and simple lyrics. I get exactly what she means, since the music I like tends toward to pop-punk spectrum, and the music gets stuck in my head very easily. Though it's nice to have my favorite songs playing constantly in my head, it can be difficult to concentrate when it comes time to study!

The background music in this piece was very well done, as it was not too loud. The ending had a nice tie-in with lyrics and cued up music, which gave it a neat and tidy ending. All in all this is a great piece that could be aired anytime of year!

Comment for "Anorexia Blogs"

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Review of Anorexia Blogs

I generally think of myself as someone who is very aware of eating
disorders and how they affect thousands of young people, particularly girls. However, I had no idea that there was such a large pro-anorexia online community. This shocking piece unveils just part of this network of anorexics who encourage and support other anorexics to continue their dangerous practice.

The vox in this piece was amazing--the interview with the eating
disorders expert who gave her take on the pro-anorexia trend was very compelling. It was sad yet fascinating to hear the anonymous
pro-anorexia (or pro-ana) blogger tell her story. The introduction to
the piece using phrases describing different terms used by pro- anorexics caught my attention. And then the producer got right to the point and gave a good overview of the pro-anorexia trend---all in a 4:11 piece that's not too long for a radio feature.

This piece is an amazing and depressing look at the pro-ana movement, but I'd like hearing more--maybe you could do a second part? Also, listing some local resources for anorexics could be good in case you have any listeners in need of help. Either way, this is an issue that needs to be talked about a lot more, so thanks to Christopher Krumm for bringing it up!

Comment for "Southwest Side Stories: My Girlfriend Stephanie"

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Review of Southwest Side Stories: My Girlfriend Stephanie

There are many assumptions about the south side of Chicago; some are true, some are overblown...but either way, the people who truly know the Southwest side of Chicago are the people who live there.

This piece, one in the fascinating "Southwest Side Stories" series, is an amazing look at just a small part of the southwest side. It's a short piece, at one minute and twenty-seven seconds, but it manages to pack in a snapshot of one neighborhood. Wind blowing, people working--David Diaz employs detail and descriptive language to paint a portrait.

The vox was wonderful; the background noises really made you feel like you were there. The narration was smooth. The only thing I would change is that I wish it would go on longer!

Comment for "The Progressive"

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Review of The Progressive

What can students do to make other students think more about world events? It's challenging, because there can be a lot of other things going on in a kid's mind such as school and friends and family. Still, youth need to be paying attention to the world around them--discussing, thinking, dissecting--and forming their own opinions about the world. And that's exactly why this piece, The Progressive, is so compelling--because it tackles those very issues.

Set around an anonymous student newspaper (The Progressive) that leans toward the left, this piece centers around whether youth are reading it, what they think, and why the person behind it chose to publish The Progressive.

The vox in this piece is really great--we get to hear Nate Baker, the man behind the paper, talk about why he published it, and we also get to hear students voice their opinions about it. There is also some music which makes a nice background and comes up to make neat breaks between bits of vox.

However, while it's good to hear the student's opinions, a lot of the vox sounds alike. Though a lot of them are really cool and interesting, some of them are along the lines of "I don't read it." That perspective should be a part of the piece, but perhaps a more selective use of vox along with some explanatory bridging by the narrator could sharpen the piece and shorten it, too. Maybe posing more specific questions could get better, more in-depth answers.

Also, I found the occasional echo technique a bit confusing and unnecessary. This could be replaced by few moments of music which gives the listener time to think about what was said.

That said, this is interesting content with some good points about youth making media and how kids can get drawn into thinking about larger issues. Thanks to Lena Eckert-Erdheim for giving us a look into her school!

Comment for "Paul Lovestrand, Village Baker"

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Review of Paul Lovestrand, Village Baker

Most people enjoy baked goods, whether it's a nice piece of bread for a sandwich or a sweet treat like cakes and cookies, baked goods are just so tasty! But when we buy a pie or cookie, we don't often think of who made it, especially since most baked goods are made and shipped to us by large corporations.

But in most every town you can still find a true village baker, and that's who this piece highlights. Producer Terin Mayer brings us a feature on Paul Lovestrand, the baker for Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Paul's story is actually fascinating--we hear about his evolution from18-year-old student and part-time baker to years later, his full-time job of baking all night to supply baked goods for Carleton students and others.

The vox in this piece is really nice. You can really get a sense of being there, with the sounds of baking equipment going on in the background. Most of the time it's a pleasing undertone, but in a few places it got a little loud and distracting from hearing Paul.

The beginning vox (as Terin walks to the interview and talks about the upcoming interview) was a bit slow and the walking noise not immediately identifiable, so perhaps it could be edited to bring the time down (it clock in at about five minues) to a more typical feature length.

I also was a little confused by the philosophy recitation at the end--it took me a second listen to figure out what Terin was doing. Maybe a quick phrase to let us know what he's doing would help. However, this piece is a very nice portrait of a career we don't get to hear much about. I look forward to hearing more from Terin Mayer!

Comment for "Reflections on Return: A Marine Returns to School"

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Review of Reflections on Return: A Marine Returns to School

Even though the war in Iraq rages on every day, many of us do not
personally know other young people who have fought. Or even if we do know someone, that person may not want to talk about his or her
experiences in the war. That's why I recommend this compelling piece by Gaurav Taneja, a Marine who tells us exactly what it was like for him both in the war and at home, where he's now a student at the University of California at Riverside.

Gaurav tells haunting stories including his feelings about seeing his friends get hurt on the battlefield and recounting a challenging period when, due to supply shortages, the soldiers had to survive on only one meal a day. He's glad to be back alive, but the effects of the war stays with him: someone coming up behind him, or even just a loud noise, can make him jumpy and nervous.

Though the content of this piece is really fascinating, the narration
and voicing could be a bit smoother. Gaurav might consider using his voice more expressively, and organizing the structure of the piece a bit more and putting a few bridges between his stories.

But that aside, the raw content of this piece is powerful and will
definitely make you think about the war and what it's like for our
soldiers. Thanks to Youth Radio for giving Gaurav some time to tell us about his life!

Comment for "Summer Jobs"

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Review of Summer Jobs

Becoming a teenager adds a whole new list of responsibilities and expectations. One of them, particularly for older teens, is finding a job. In this informative piece, reporter Sara Perman talks about jobs for teens, and how to get them.

One thing that makes this piece interesting is the vox; we get to hear several other teens talk about their job experiences. Using this vox, Sara talks about how teens can get jobs that they actually enjoy, defying the stereotype that teens can only get hired waiting tables or babysitting. One intriguing point Sara raises is that teens often get jobs because of who they know, not what they do. Though this is often mirrored in the adult world, it's not something you usually think about in relation to teen occupations.

The only thing I would have changed about this piece would be to make it longer! While it's usually good to keep radio pieces short, I felt this 2:41 piece could have been expanded a little more. I would like to have heard more about these jobs and how people felt about them,maybe we could hear more from the teens Sara interviewed.

That said, this is a strong piece with great narration, writing, and vox. Thanks to Sara Perman for highlighting an interesting topic!

Comment for "From Goody Two Shoes to Rock Bottom"

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Review of From Goody Two Shoes to Rock Bottom

When I hear the phrase incarcerated youth, cancer survivor doesn't exactly spring to mind. But that is exactly what this compelling piece is about. This feature is the story of George, a two-time cancer survivor and incarcerated youth, told matter-of-factly and articulately by himself. What makes this story stand out is the contrast between the stages of George's life as is clearly stated in the title, "From Goody Two Shoes to Rock Bottom."

One great thing about this feature is the narration. You only hear George's voice, no questions or prompts, which makes for a smooth sound. The short segments of guitar music are also really nice--they help break up the piece and the transitions are nice and clean.

However, this feature is a bit long for radio, clocking in at a bit over nine minutes, and could be edited a little bit. Though the content is valuable, it gets repetitive at times and could be made a little tighter.

I would have also liked to hear more in the transition from when George talks about his newfound friends and when he talks about his depression. I was interested to hear more about why his depression got so bad--what triggered it and why did it provoke him to act out so much? It seemed like a very sudden change in the mood of the story.

That said, this is a very great story that proves that you can't always judge a book by its cover. This feature kept me listening with its sometimes funny, sometimes sad anecdotes--the cake story in particular was very poignant. This is a fascinating story, and kudos to Blunt Youth Radio for giving George some time on the airwaves!