Comments by Eric Nuzum

Comment for "RN Documentary: Intersex"

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Review of RN Documentary: Intersex

When a child is born with an intersex condition (the presence of deformed or under-formed genitalia, or genitalia of both sexes), the situation is almost impossible to resolve gracefully. Often times, the condition is not obvious at birth (sometimes not obvious until the teen years) and can cause parents to have to make dire decisions that will impact the child's life in profound ways. Should the child's gender be "reassigned"? Should the child undergo surgery? Should the genitalia be removed or reconstructed? Further, the emotional impact of this condition and how one could lead a normal life is difficult for most people to fathom.

In this doc, Radio Netherlands takes a thoughtful and sensitive look at the intellectual and emotional struggles to help children born with this condition. The piece not only explains the science behind the condition (and various treatments), but also talks with a group of women who have dealt with the condition first hand. Their stories are complex and emotionally difficult (it is difficult not to empathize with all sides in their stories—no one could ever be prepared to deal with such terrible situation).

The producers of the doc do an amazing job of remaining dispassionate in their storytelling, steering clear of the many potential emotional landmines. They avoid the easy temptation to let the poignant weight of these stories overwhelm their journalism of the entire subject.

The results are complete and clear. Regardless of one's own feelings and conclusions about how these situations should be handled, every listener will be moved by it.

Comment for "Summer School"

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Review of Summer School

Commentaries can be a wonderful addition to almost any format. They can enlighten, inspire, teach, celebrate, and illuminate. However, if not done well, they can be a painful reminder to listeners that they are missing something better.

Sylvia Maria Gross’s reflection on summer school is well-written and paced. On many levels, it is a fine commentary. However, it has one debilitating flaw: you can see the ending/resolution coming almost as soon as the character is introduced.

The commentary follows Gross through teaching math to 7th grade summer school students. As the piece unfolds, it is obvious once the young girl Jackie is introduced, that the piece will focus on her experience. Further, when Jackie has trouble with math, the commentaries resolution is, again, fairly obvious: that Jackie will overcome her adversities and master long division, achieving some quiet life goal along the way.

With commentaries, as with all good storytelling, you can't lead readers/listeners through the obvious parts of a story. Readers/listeners remember the unexpected moments, the thrill. I kept waiting for this piece to take me somewhere I wasn't anticipating. It never did.

Comment for "Nick's Diary: Home School to High School"

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Review of Nick: Home School to High School

Could someone please get the word out: when offering a piece on PRX that has previously appeared on another program please cut out the original host lead-in for the piece. This is soooo annoying and the 30-seconds it would take the producer to cut this out will save each individual licensor for doing the same.

That said, this is a typical Richman piece: brilliant. It's an audio diary from a teenage boy that makes the transition from home schooling to public schools. The piece is slow to reveal itself, but the young man's observations are worth the wait.

The boy's teen angst is a common experience, which is both a plus and minus to the piece. Though amplified by his shyness and unfamiliarity with public schools, almost anyone who has suffered through their teens can relate to Nick's feelings of alienation and being a square peg. While this commonality with register with many listeners, so will the desire to see the piece explore a little uncharted territory. While far from predictable, the piece did not contain as many unexpected moments as a listener may expect from this series.

The piece's most powerful moments where the "audio yearbook" Nick kept at the end of the year. This section felt rushed and it would have been nice to wrap the piece with a few more of these anecdotes from Nick's new friends.

Comment for "Dead Animal Man"

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Review of Dead Animal Man

This is exactly what I expect from Ira: a story that's interesting, engaging, and humorous--but cares a light touch. It doesn't follow a narrative like a TAL piece, but still contains flavorful characters. This would be a great piece to drop into a program.

Comment for "PowerPoint at Gettysburg, rev."

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Review of PowerPoint at Gettysburg

There are some great ideas embedded in this piece, I just think it needs to pick a direction (commentary/reporting) and tighten up its focus.
At first, I thought all the sound effects were a bit annoying, but that annoyance makes a clever point later in the piece.
Writing and production are fine with the exception of some inconsistent audio levels and some occasional distortion.

Comment for "Letter from the Dead"

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Review of Letter from the Dead

This not only sounds like an NPR news magazine piece--it literally IS an NPR news magazine piece. It aired on Morning Edition this past August. Given that I don't know if it is really appropriate (and legal) for it to be licensed here. As a showcase piece, it is an interesting and unusual story but there are very few meaty chunks to it.

Comment for "Two-Minute Danger Theater 01: The Voice "Death Stalks at Midnight" Ch 1"

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Review of Two-Minute Danger Theater 01: The Voice "Death Stalks at Midnight" Ch 1

This is a tough piece to review. I respect the producer's innovative approach to the material, yet I don't think this works well as a contemporary radio piece.

PACING: The frantic pacing of these pieces make them difficult to follow. As an experiment I tried listening to the pieces while working in my office. I found that the pace was so fast that, unless I was doing nothing else, I couldn't pick up anything. For a listener trying to follow along while they are driving, working, doing the dishes, etc..., it just requires too much attention.

HUMOR: If you are going to do comedy, you have to deliver. While there were some clever bits of writing in these modules, there are some thin spots as well.

SOUND EFFECTS: Use of canned sound effects is dangerous, because producers are often tempted to use them as a full character in their piece (like here) rather than as a texture (like Tom Keith on PHC). The mastery of Tom Keith is he knows when to demand attention for the sounds he creates and when to let them fit in with other elements. It's a lesson that could be well-applied to these pieces. Sometimes the canned effects work, other times they are just gratuitous.

This producer is offering his material via a web site, which is a perfect distribution mechanism for this type of work. It allows those interested in this type of piece a place to go and listen, at their convenience, and enjoy them. I just don't think these have a broad enough appeal to work on radio.

Comment for "What is Poetry?"

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Review of What is Poetry?

Barrett always amazes me with ability to take something that seems like a terrible idea on paper and craft it into something that works well on radio--often for the most undescribable reasons. This is an innovative use of both the music and the spoken word segment. The end effect is almost Zen-like, like chanting a mantra over and over. Yeah, I'd use this on the radio. I couldn't tell you why, but I'd definitely use it.

Comment for "People Don't Have Anything to Say"

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Review of People Don't Have Anything to Say

I remember hearing this at the 2002 PRPD conference. This is a classic in the making.

Comment for "Old Together"

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Review of Old Together

This piece would be a lot more useful to stations if it was available without the music bed, which doesn't seem all that essential. Also, even though I'm sure others would disagree--I don't like the mixing of the stories. I'd rather hear them separately rather than pieced together.

Comment for "How to Sing the Star-Spangled Banner"

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Review of How to Sing the Star-Spangled Banner

This is one of my favorite pieces that I've found on PRX so far. Smart, humorous, interesting. It bodes well with public radio Core Values and has a lot of potential uses.

Comment for "My Family, Your Family, Our Family"

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Review of My Family, Your Family, Our Family

An interesting piece that could be used just about any time that same-sex issues come up in the headlines. It shares the story of a comic book created to share the story of "non-traditional" and "traditional" family structures with children of all backgrounds.

The piece is quick and efficient. Its easy to wish that more time could be spent with the families and comic authors as a way to "illustrate" the story's characters, but brevity wins out here. Making the piece shorter makes it more useful to more stations. It was the right choice.

The production technique leaves a bit to be desired from time to time (including some over modulated micing on the reporter). Given the interest level of the content, it's easy to overlook these small flaws.

Comment for "The High Stakes of Today's Testing"

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Review of The High Stakes of Today's Testing

This is a Soundprint documentary that puts human voices behind the never-ending testing debates.

This is a well-worn subject, which poses an interesting set of problems for producers. With a story that is well covered in other media, public radio has an opportunity to expand the story in unique directions. That doesn't necessarily mean covering stories or elements of stories simply because others are or aren't covering it (that kind of lifeless decision-making puts other media in control of your story selection). Instead, public radio can utilize out Core Values to add essence, color, and depth to stories. This point is where this documentary excels.

Debates about testing usually focus on politics and numbers, but this documentary goes inside a school for an extended view on how testing affects educators and students. It is incredibly poignant (and chilling) to hear students recite, "burn the test" (as in "burn-up," as in "do well") at a school spirit-laden pep rally focused on test scores. The children even have songs about scoring well on tests that are down right disturbing. This is bothersome because, as is subtly pointed out in the doc, the children are totally focused on doing well to show they are as smart as the suburban schools and their school deserves recognition. Never once does a student or educator mention that "educating children" is a concern or priority. Instead of students, these children are test-taking warriors, drilling to succeed in battle. For them, the effort feels weak and purposeless. This doc gives you an intimate front row seat.

It is inevitable that school testing debates will come up, as will the privatization of public schools (also a factor in this story). Bookmark or license this piece now—you’ll be glad its there for you when the story surfaces.

Again, if stations do not normally carry Soundprint, the presence of the brand may be unnecessary. It would be nice to have an edited version for stations that don't carry the series.

Comment for "Don't Take The Colors Apart"

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Review of Don't Take The Colors Apart

Many times, poetry and play readings don't work on radio--they require too much attention and aren't compatible with the way most contemporary listeners use radio. However, this piece is a perfect example one tactic to make spoken art incredibly poignant on the radio.

The documentary profiles the life of Venila Hasu Houston, whose ethnicity is African-America, Japanese, and Native American. What makes this documentary interesting is it explores the stories, complexities, and emotions behind her unique mixture of DNA.

First, the documentary details her families history: how her parents met, their life in Junction City, Kansas, and the peculiarities of growing up with the product of such a unique cultural mix. Just this section alone justifies a listen.

Then, as the story evolves and takes on additional depth and color, the story is partially told through readings of Houston's poetry and plays. These readings are woven with interview segments and narration. It sounds like a lot--but it works. It works well.

Additionally, the documentary has a great sense of craft. It is meticulously recorded, edited, and produced. It is 26 minutes, but feels like it lasts about five.

Wonderful work.

Comment for "Justin on the Inside"

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Review of Justin on the Inside

Yet another interesting production from Salt. This brief documentary tells the story of a person, named Amy, who feels s/he is a man trapped in a woman's body. S/he takes the name of "Justin" and lives life, as much as possible, as a man.

The doc is an interesting collection of self-observations, anecdotes, and stories. Most interesting, Amy/Justin doesn't consider him/herself a lesbian and, though painfully passionate about living as a man, isn't interested in sexual reassignment surgery. S/he compares him/herself to others who bear physical deformities or diseases: the feminine physical characteristics are no different than someone born with a misshapen arm or suffering from MS. Amy/Justin is a sincere person and disarmingly honest--and his/her openness is well-captured here.

While the program does a good job of providing an overview of Amy/Justin's life (and the challenges of that life), it doesn’t offer much context. While a listener would find the situation interesting and enlightening, such a straight forward profile doesn't offer enough to keep a busy person's attention for eight minutes--there has to more of a reason to listen. A bit less detail, replaced with a deeper penetration of why Amy/Justin's story is important, would go a long way.

Comment for "Songs of the Automobile/ Star Spangled Independence" (deleted)

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Review of Songs of the Automobile/ Star Spangled Independence (deleted)

This program, an edition of the weekly Soundprint series, contains two documentaries--one about automobile songs; the other about democracy. Unfortunately, while the premises of the documentaries sounds interesting on paper, both are fairly flat when heard.

The “Songs about Automobiles” documentary details the litany of songs that mention cars, automobiles, and all the activities that take place in, around, and because of cars and automobiles. Unfortunately, there is no obvious point and/or purpose to this program, outside of stating something quite obvious. There are some personal stories shared about the significance of music and cars, but the program bears all the context and depth of a web search. Sure, there are lots of songs about cars, but there are lots of songs about girls, love, peace, drugs, and so on. The program fails to show the point or meaning of this easy and obvious observation.

The “Star Spangled Independence” documentary also fails to generate much light. While the documentary does add some depth, it seems to have been created before September 11th, which had a indelible imprint on almost everyone’s understanding of and interpretation of freedom and independence. The program did not contain any references to this--or at least none that stood out.

Lastly, if this is offered as a special to stations that don’t normally air Soundprint, what is the meaning of the “Soundprint” brand? In this usage, saying “This is Soundprint” does not have a lot of meaning to the listener. If Soundprint wishes to offer this program on as a special, perhaps they should re-cut it to remove mentions of the series’s title--thus avoiding confusion.

Comment for "Circus Life: To Catch the Quad"

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Review of Circus Life: To Catch the Quad

This documentary illustrates circus life by sharing the stories of two trapeze artists, a 1920s star, Alfredo Cadona, and a contemporary artist, Jill Pages, who is attempting execute a quadruple somersault.

The piece is deceptively simple. It tells the complex and emotional story knitting together historical and contemporary circus performers. The piece does a much better job of expressing life in the 20s-era circus and Cadona's colorful world, with only cursory treatment of the contemporary circus life.

Cadona didn't use a mechanic--the safety belt that protects the flier from falling to the ground. He felt it would help him master his triple somersault. While contemporary circus life is much more hospitable than the past, time has only raised the bar (so to speak) on circus stunts. Pages is the only woman in the world to complete a three-and-a-half turn somersault. When she is introduced, the documentary switches focus--zeroing in on Pages' ego (in the psychological sense), with less emphasis on the circus life that surrounds here. The tragic end of Cadona's career is interwoven with Page's fears about achieving her dream--the elusive quadruple somersault.

The producer/narrator's writing is impeccable, but the delivery style sounds a little dated. The production and mixing is about as good as it gets.

This would be an excellent choice for a stand-alone offering in a rotating slot or as part of a larger program. Too bad there isn't a promo available here.

Comment for "Short List: A Walk To Work"

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Review of Short List: A Walk To Work

Public radio, regardless of format or genre, should always contain some unexpected surprises. These "Short List" pieces offer some interesting slices of life and sense of places near and far. Inserting these into talk/interview/call-in programs can add a sense of dynamic and connection that is sometimes missing from our daily work.

This particular list contains items noted on a morning walk to work on a hot summer morning in Dallas. As with many of these lists, it is fun to listen to the list and allow this list to create a mental image piece by piece.

There are some microphone plosives in the piece that could be easily corrected (by the producer) with some re-equalization in the piece.

Comment for "Hard to Say"

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Review of Hard to Say

This is an amazing, sweet, and touching piece of radio. It is so well produced, containing many tiny surprises, reveling moments, and unexpected soft turns to the story.

This is a self-narrated story of how an elderly gentleman, named Ed Werler, met his second wife and cares for her now that she suffers from Alzheimer's disease. Ed is humble and tender, telling his story directly, yet with a bit of shyness. The production is impeccable, demonstrating the courage and confidence to let the story unfold naturally without giving away its best bits too early or getting too sentimental.

Though it may seem odd, it is probably best for stations not to set-up or introduce this piece as an "Alzheimer’s story"--that gives away too much of the story and sells short its potential. Play this as an unexpected bit of spice around Valentine's Day, Sweetest Day, or just about any time a story of true love would make the world seem a little less crazy.

Comment for "Corruption, Democracy, and Tabloids"

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Review of Corruption, Democracy, and Tabloids

This is an interesting piece about the growth pains of China's independent media. While eager to develop western-style democratic and independent journalism, China's political and cultural heritage has made the evolution of their news media somewhat problematic. One of the most interesting comments concerns why the Chinese media could/would not cover a story like the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The piece does contain some music buttons and actualities from American broadcasting. These initially seem unnecessary, but they do help the piece flow well.

There are some novice's mistakes to the piece's production: uneven announcing, popping plosives, and uneven audio levels. However, this is not problematic enough to diminish the piece's use at stations. It would make a fine lead-in for a discussion about China, media/journalism in the emerging world, or east/west cultural differences.

Comment for "Your Neighbor's Radio - Nancy 3. Hoffman" (deleted)

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Review of Your Neighbor's Radio - Nancy 3. Hoffman (deleted)

An impressively well-produced and interesting program examining Klezmer music performed by residents of southern Maine. The program takes the right perspective towards its audience: it welcomes the listener without insulting their intelligence or requiring a certain level of musical proclivity.

Both the interview segments and musical performances are expertly recorded and edited. The producer mixes the elements together, moving from one element to another—offering a delicate mix of spoken word and music. The listener won't get frustrated or bored with too much of either element.

The program does run out of steam after the first eighteen minutes, with very few surprises in its second half. It might have been better to edit this down and pair it with another shorter profile/performance.

The program could fit on its own or as a recurring element (with the other episodes of this series) on a station’s broadcast schedule.

Comment for "10 minutes telling you all you need to know about caveats, intel reports and finding the truth!"

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Review of 10 minutes telling you all you need to know about caveats, intel reports and finding the truth!

This piece reminds me of short wave radio broadcasts: freeform, personal, loose, unpredictable, and a little intense and preachy.

This is a straight opinion piece, no context. Often directly addressing his absent subjects (Mr. Cheney, President Bush, Richard Clarke, and so on), this is one person's rolling political commentary. There is not a clear idea how a general audience might benefit from listening.

It's difficult to tell how this piece would be useful to stations. There are some production and technical issues (there are mic plosives about every ten or fifteen seconds). Further, it is packaged as a ten-minute program (though the length is actually 11:40), which is a difficult length for many stations to accommodate. The host tends to rush his delivery, so it is sometimes difficult to understand what he is saying (the web site he mentions three times is almost impossible to pick up).

If the producer is interested in distributing their work, a better format might be to take their thoughts and restructure them as a 3-4 minute political commentary rather than an independent program.

Comment for "Crossing the River Lethe"

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Review of Crossing the River Lethe

At first, the voicing of this commentary felt a little wooden and staid. However, as the story unfolds, the listener finds himself or herself pulled in to the story. The voice discretely reveals a loving, emotional tone and the listener is hooked. The piece is sweet, sentimental, and poignant without even a trickle of melodrama or sappiness. The piece offers a touching portrait of a woman coming to terms with her mother's illness and her own journey into the keeper of her mother’s memories.

Some of the sound effects and music are especially effective, but a few could be cut down and/or eliminated all together (the counting dance steps audio could be kept at bed level, brought up for just a second or two, then brought back down--without diminishing the piece).

Our station used this piece on Mother's Day, but it would be appropriate for just about any time. This is an example of what sets public radio commentary apart: smart writing, effective delivery, and a catalyst for lingering thoughts and emotions.

Comment for "Turnstyles 002 Hour 1: Sex Mob"

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Review of Turnstyles 002 Hour 1: Sex Mob

The term "broadcasting" has agrarian roots--it comes from the idea of scattering seeds, spreading them out over a parcel of land. It is very appropriate--be it in the form of interviews, music, performance, news reporting, or whatever, we are spreading the seed of ideas, emotions, and context.

Listening to Turnstyles takes the agricultural analogies even deeper. Ask a farmer what happens when you plant seeds to close together, or mix together too many varieties in close quarters—and what happens? None of them grow to their potential.

Musically, Turnstyles is one of the most tasteful programs I have heard. However, the program is too diverse and its one-hour length proves problematic.

In many cases, music mix or "needle drop" programs tend to be little more than an exercise in taste self-expression for the host and producer. They don't translate nationally. You can't swing a dead cat anywhere in this country without hitting a music "expert" with ultra-refined tastes. However, Turnstyle host Sam Fuqua is on a much higher level than most--a man of extraordinary taste. He pulls together sets of music that, on the surface, might seem like silly explorations of eclecticism--but they work. This program features electronica, blues, world music, even some jazz. Often these disparate elements are lined up together. It shouldn't work as a music mix, but it has amazing synergy.

The music is the program's greatest strength, but also its greatest weakness. No radio program has ever created significant public service by appealing to music geeks like me. For a great majority of public radio listeners, the show is too all over the place. Repeatedly, these eclectic music shows have proven to only attract a very small audience and not offering much to the rest of the station's listeners. Plus, if a station is interested in establishing a beachhead with different listeners by offering a unique musical format (unique as in different than the station normally offers)--the station will need to offer a significant and consistent number of hours to do so. Airing just a one-hour program won't cut it.

The program also offers a large chunk of time to an interview and "live" performance (in a pre-recorded show--it is a little dubious to refer to it as a "live" performance). The interview subject was interesting, and the music really engaging, but the interview segments were way too many and way too long. If an interview can build my interest in 2 or 3 minutes--great. Get to the pay-off (perform some music)--don't keep talking! The interview should be there only to enlighten the performance and shouldn't last a second longer than necessary. If it is a music show, then it should get to music as quickly as possible, every time. (I was driving while listening, so I can't tell exactly how long the interview segments were--it felt like many, many minutes a piece.)

Producing this program as a one-hour show for public radio feels like stuffing a square peg in a round hole. This music mix and the talents of the host and producer would be better used creating an unique Internet audio stream or a larger block of programming for one station (or perhaps a block of programming for a small number of AAA or college stations).

Comment for "What's Left is Not Who We Are"

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Review of What's Left is Not Who We Are

This is a short piece about a captain who performs at-sea interments of ashes. It's a bit long to fit into a cutaway in the newsmagazines, but could be used as a refreshing addition to a longer program.

In the piece, the captain offers anecdotes of a few memorable interments, including some of her own personal reflections on death and burial. The structure of the piece is loose and it would be better to focus on just one anecdote rather than two (plus several tangential reflections). The clearer direction would make a deeper impression on the listener.

There is music that comes up occasionally under the narration that is not necessary. It's timidly inserted and doesn't establish a necessary presence. There is music at the end of the piece that is either not phased correctly or not balanced properly (it can only be clearly heard out of the right channel).

Comment for "At Home with Ani DiFranco"

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Review of At Home with Ani DiFranco

This hour-long program mixes interview segments, music, and host commentary to create an interesting and in-depth portrait of an unusual and interesting artist, singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco. Many hour-long interview programs don't work very well--they either devote too much time to a subject, aren't paced well, or don't frame the discussion in ways that works for listeners. This program demonstrates that a little production finesse and an attention-grabbing subject can create an interesting and engaging hour-long program.

The producers are very focused on keeping the program moving, keeping interview segments short and well edited (one of the strongest elements of the program is that the interviews were recorded in DiFranco's home). If they had been studio recordings, I'm sure they wouldn't be so dynamic. In between, there are reflections, written by the interview host, on DiFranco's career and the significance of her music and work. With the exception of the first few minutes, the program flows very well and it's easy to get lost in time while listening.

There are some small problems with the program that could be made better--but are not significant enough that they would negatively impact the usefulness of the program for stations.

First is the aforementioned first few minutes. The program takes too long to get started. There is six minutes of set-up before the interview starts. There are several teaser clips from later in the interview and a narrative history (from the host) about Ani's career. After several listens, I think this could probably be cut down to 2-3 minutes without sacrificing any depth. There are too many teaser clips and the history could be abbreviated or moved elsewhere. Listeners want to hear Ani--get to her quicker.

Also, the host is great with Ani, but a little too reverent. The host obviously has a great deal of respect for DiFranco, but there is never any conversational tension, no probing discussion, and no drilling down into answers. Not that an interview has to be contentious or uncomfortable, but this feels too polite.

Also, the host's delivery occasionally sounds stiff (she's reading) and the writing of her contextual/background narratives/commentary includes some unfortunate cliches and hyperbole. For example, when introducing one segment, the host reads:

"Buffalo--home of the Sabres and record setting snow falls--is probably as well known as being Ani DiFranco's home town as anything else."

Frankly, this statement is difficult to believe, because it simply isn't true. It may make for an easy segue, but it's too easy. These narrative missteps wouldn't be a problem if the rest of writing--as well as the entire program--weren't so promising.

This is a great effort--and with a type of programming that isn't easy to make sound this good.

Comment for "Outlaw Pt 1"

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Review of Outlaw Pt 1

It's hard to understand what the focus of this program is and how it's meant to engage the listener.

From the description of the program here on PRX, we're told that the program is an interview with a man named Clyde, who has lived on the fringe of society since the 1960s. However, it would be hard to gather that from listening to the program. Outside of one isolated mention four minutes into the program (and another three minutes before we hear the interview), Clyde isn't introduced. If the listener doesn't catch that brief mention in minute three, you are left clueless about who this man is and why he's being interviewed--for the rest of the hour.

The program tries to tie music into the story by drawing contextual connections from the music to the interview, as well as highlighting inspirational bonds between the 60s era, the interviewee, and the music. However, if the producer wishes to use music to establish mood like this, they should play enough of the music to establish that mood (10-20 seconds, tops), and then move on to the meat of the program instead of playing every piece of music in its entirety. Additionally, some of the musical/interview explanations offered by the host are tenuous.

Focus is the big issue here. If the point of the program is to share Clyde's experience, why does seven minutes pass before we hear from him at all? Even when Clyde is heard (in minute seven) the interviewer doesn't introduce him, or share why he's being interviewed. It feels like you are joining a conversation in the middle and it makes the listener feel left on the outside. Further, during the course of the interview, Clyde is not reintroduced in order to catch up any listener who’ve tuned in since the program began.

The interview itself could use some editing--there are too many unnecessary tangents, too much insider laughing, and a general lack of focus to the interview. The discussion does follow a linear time line, but again, without any idea who this is or why the discussion is significant, the content (and meaning) are lost on the listener.

Oddly, the program ends with a fundraising pitch for the host station (complete with phone number).

While this program may work at its home station, this program won't be compatible with the production standards at many other stations.

Comment for "Amanda's Diary: Girlfriend"

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Review of Amanda from New York: Girlfriend

This piece is an audio diary from Amanda, a seventeen-year-old bisexual from Brooklyn, detailing her life and relationship with Dawn, a girl she's been dating for two years. Her parents try to be open, but definitely do not approve (or completely buy into the idea) of Amanda's stated sexuality. Amanda says the disconnection from her parents doesn't bother her, but it obviously does. Though she identifies herself as a "bisexual" early in the piece, as her story goes on (and she becomes more adamant, she seems to focus her thoughts solely on her attraction to women).

Listening to this diary is an odd experience. It provides intimate insight into Amanda's life and the conflict with her parents, but stops short of any type of conclusion, transitional moment, or resolution. It is as if a window into Amanda's life is randomly opened, then quickly closed. While the piece feels so real, a listener could be confused as to the purpose of the piece or what they should make of it.

In programming discussing gay rights, gay (or even straight) teen culture, or nontraditional relationships, this piece can put a human voice to issues that tend to get lost in loud rhetoric and heated debate. However, if a station wants to use this piece, they need to be prepared to provide the missing sense of closure and context.

Comment for "My Bi-(Partisan) Boyfriend**"

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Review of My Bi-(Partisan) Boyfriend**

This is a sharp piece. Crisp, witty writing that evokes a lot of imagery. The humor is smart and original (a rarity for political humor) and plays with stereotype without becoming stereotypical.

However, speaking of playing to type...the "our side" references mentioned by another reviewer are a bit troubling, because it could be exclusionary (but not to the point that someone would be offended or not enjoy the piece). It's hard to tell if the writer refers to "our side" as in "her and the listener" (assuming the listener is liberal--a dangerous assumption) or as in (the less troubling) "her and her friends." This is very easy to fix, either by changing the references to "my side" or offering some parameters for what "our side" means early in the piece.

The pacing is a bit fast, and the breathy delivery seems a little forced at times, which makes it feel less personal/conversational and more like a comedy performance. The music bed under the last minute isn't necessary and doesn't feel purposeful, but it isn't distracting or bothersome at all.

Almost any station can use this piece, especially between now and the fall election. It would be a fun and refreshing addition to what, inevitably, will be a long, nasty, and monotonous election season.

Comment for "Homosexuality in Uganda"

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Review of Homosexuality in Uganda

Gay, bisexual, and transgender rights are becoming the modern day equivalent of the civil rights struggles for blacks during the 1960s. Like the civil rights struggles decades ago, the division and conflict surround gay rights are not a uniquely American concerns. This short program (an odd length at 17:41) overviews the struggles faced by homosexuals (almost exclusively male homosexuals) in Uganda (where homosexuality is both illegal and a strong taboo).

The program feels incomplete and leaves the listener with a lot of questions. Listeners are left to wonder, specifically, why the producers decided to highlight homophobia in Uganda (as compared to--well--any other nation in the word)? Sure, terrible things have happened there, but (unfortunately) persecution of homosexuals is hardly unique to Uganda--or even Africa.

Secondly, the listening experience is somewhat flat--the listener isn't left with much of an idea what they are supposed to do with this information. Not that the program should contain a call advocacy, but the program bludgeons you with details about these terrible stories, leaving the listener a bit numbed but strangely unmoved.

An answer to this might have been to spend more time with the victims of discrimination and persecution. They appear in the program just long enough to share the basic details of their oppression and then are gone. Such treatment diminishes their humanity and relatability to listeners. Their stories would be significantly more powerful if we understood they entire dynamic of their lives.