Comments by Scott Meyers

Comment for "The Rise of the Staycation"

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Review of The Rise of the Staycation

I love this piece!

I love the quirky pop-culture phenomenon's that are indicative of our times. Perhaps the best examples in contemporary society is "blogging" and "Staycation", the latter of which is explored in this piece by producer Libby Donovan of Blunt Youth Radio AND former great Youth Editorial Board member for Generation PRX!

The "Staycation" has come on to the scene recently and seemingly out of nowhere, probably in wake of the sluggish economy. The "Staycation" is a nicely packaged marketing campaign tool from local tourist industries who suspect to bite the bullet thanks to high gas prices. And so instead of reaching out to out-of-state folks, we're seeing a concerted effort to target locals.

In the opening scene Libby does a nice job showing us just how big of a phenom the "Staycation" has become by reading an ad from the local publication the Sunday Telegram and then also playing an actual televison commercial. It's hilariously effective.

Libby then explores exactly what a "Staycation" is and how it might be advantageous to teenagers vactioning with their parents by allowing them the opportunity to ditch the 'rents occasionally.

Comment for "Global Warming Rap"

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Review of Global Warming Rap

"Global Warming Rap" is part "conscious hip-hip", part vox pop, part political posturing, part personal venting, part educational, and so on.

I'm most impressed by the lyrics featured in this "concious hip-hop" bit; I tip my hat to whoever is responsible for writing it. Aside from the fact that it straight up flows, the rap packs some serious heat, it is not bashful and points the finger at legitimate parties.

The vox pop that's injected inbetween the strong stinging lyrics work wel and compliment the piece.

Comment for "Swatch"

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Review of Swatch

Finally! A youth radio team that breaks away from the conventional personal essay that seems so popular and over-done on the youth radio airwaves. Santa Fe Youth Radio has produced something extraordinarily refreshing with "Swatch".

"Swatch" is a radio drama that explores the universally-known idea of not knowing what you have until you loose it. It's a concept that we need reminding to keep us grateful and humble.

"Swatch" offers a good deal of humor interjected throughout the plot including the opening scene when some dudes much higher up on the hierarchy-of-popularity throw the buck-toothed main character Trevor in the trash (which Trevor admits is better than the dumpster - although were not told why - this might have been a good opportunity to continue the joke and humor).

There's also a character that takes on a Christopher Walken persona that's simply spot-on.

The sound effects undoubtedly enhances the story, however they can sound a little awkward at times. It's obvious that the sounds were downloaded audio. The producers might have been better off by trying to create the sounds on their own. But obviously equipment might have made this impossible.

Another really cool element of "Swatch" is how it came to be. The producer's description tells us that the story was created in one-class period. The producers sat down with a dry erase board and created the plot on the fly. It sounds wonderfully organic and collaborative. It must have been a blast to produce, it certainly was a blast to listen to. I hope we see more youth radio dramas as a result.

Comment for "This I Believe - Brian Grazer"

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Review of This I Believe - Brian Grazer

I can't tell you how many times I have used this unique perspective offered by Brian Grazer. I loved the idea of disrupting our comfort zones. It's always something I embraced but could never really articulate - thankfully Brian talks of it so well.

Last year I served as an Americoprs (like the domestic PeaceCorps) volunteer in San Jose CA via City Year. City Year has a lot of little philosophies that it tries to get its Corps members to embrace. They like to package them in cute little sayings. An example is "Do 3 Squishy Things a Day" - squishy meaning uncomfortable.

I love this.

Comment for "Show #7: Audio Gold"

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Review of Show #7: Audio Gold

What makes Weekday's High pieces so appealing is the "FUBU" factor - For Us By Us. All the Weekday's High pieces features raw youth culture.

In this episode, dubbed appropriately as "Audio Gold", producer's/host's Lillian Warner and Bryce Jacobson tap the Olympic craze by cleverly extending the metaphor into real life by going out in public and asking people for their olympic like moments, moments of triumph and failure (which immediately reminded me of the "momentous occasions" from Jordan Jesse GO! podcasts and Bay area cartoonist Keith Knight's Life's Little Victories column - i.e. getting an impossibly large armload of laundry from the washer to the dryer without dropping anything on the floor").

I was super excited to hear what kind of answers the team was able to conjure up, but to be honest, I was disappointed. Only 3 answers were featured. I really thought a whole show could be dedicated to this theme. After checking out the Weekday High website and blog - which deserves major kudos - I learned that the team had trouble eliciting quality responses. Maybe this presented a perfect opportunity for some fiction?

The second half of the episode featured an audio postcard from a youth reporter at the scene of a dodgeball game. The reporter asks Dodgeball fans and participants why they like the game so much. The answers are hilarious and very raw. Anytime you hear the word "hella" you know its authentically youth and West Coast.

Host's Lillian and Bryce are hilarious throughout the episode! They have a great chemistry. They cue up the segments with hilarious skits and dialogue!

I'll definitely be tuning into Weekday High more often, Lillian and Bryce are just too funny not to. Not to mention the product they put together is quality; chaotic, informal, and fun as hell.

Comment for "Conversion Wars"

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Review of Conversion Wars

Youth Radio Vermont has put out a series of religiously themed pieces created during a religion unit at Winooski High School in Vermont. Of all the faith-based pieces this one was my favorite.

Religion will always be one of those taboo subjects in our world. This piece, and all the Youth Radio Vermont pieces for that matter, should be acknowledged for taking on such a delicate matter.

Producer Jake Viens has put together a very provocative piece here that features a well-crafted dialogue of hypotheticals that confronts religious tyranny.

The dialogue is pure witty satire and very heady. It's cleverly suggested that each religious sect anty-up a quarter of their followers in order to win the pool of non-believers in order to win cavalry for their own religious army.

The narrator speaks quickly making a bit hard to comprehend, but then again I think that plays into what this piece is trying to accompish, not to mention it requires a 2nd listen. During that 2nd listen it becomes more enjoyable and rings more true. The narration also offers some enhancing special effects, a sort of reverberating voice of god (or is it a voice of reason?).

The piece finishes strongly with an acute anecdote, "now that's some reality tv worth watching."

Comment for "Growing Up Without A Father"

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Review of Growing Up Without A Father

"Growing Up Without A Father" sounds like a deeply personal diary entry in which 13 year old James Oliver discloses his experiences of being raised without his Dad around for the majority of his life.

James starts his story by talking with Mr. Landry, his principal, in order to gain perspective on why it's important to have father figures in our lives and ideas for how fathers are supposed to take care of their children. This particular segment of the piece struck me the most because I felt it showcased the ultimate danger of those who don't have a father figure: How do I become a good father once I bare children if I have no one to learn from? These behaviors can be a vicious cycle, generation after generation abandoning their children because it's all they know, it's all they've experienced. It's important that those who have grown up without a father be rebellious by breaking the cycle. Likewise, it's important that more people like Principal Landry offer perspectives on fatherhood to those in need.

The piece also cites some alarming statistics about how many fathers are incarcerated in the state of Louisiana.

The whole piece seems to be redeeming for James. It must be extremley relieving to talk about these things out in the open and to construct it in a highly creative form. That doesn't make it easy. I applaud James' courage and bravery for producing such a highly personal piece!

Comment for "Cool_07242008" (deleted)

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Review of Cool_07242008 (deleted)

If you're a fan of NPR's "Weekend America" with Bill Radke and Desiree Cooper you'll almost certainly dig "COOL"; "a youth oriented weekly magazine focused on music, culture and issues facing younger listeners."

"COOL" is right to solicit stations across the nation to pick it up. It all but begs to attract a younger audience. "COOL" has the capacity to do just that.

The program features two hosts who informally moderate the show from story to story. The hosts are friendly with one another making it pleasing to listen to.

The featured stories do target a youth oriented audience, but make no mistake about it, the stories are intruiging and would excite any age audience.

This particular episode featured a story on a young Turkish woman and her thoughts on wearing a head-scarf and her interpretation of her religion. The story confronts socities across the globe to understand what's really going on here and sheds light on other cultures, ultimatley creating a bigger and better understanding for the world we live in.

Comment for "West Wing Moment"

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Review of West Wing Moment

Throughout "West Wing Moment" producer William Nelligan proves to be a great orator. William authoritatively tells us how the popular television series "The West Wing" became a gateway for his political interest. First it was "The West Wing", then history novels, and finally The New York Times; the accumulation of these things led William to to experience poliitcs up close and personal by going to the New Hampshire primary.

I genuinely like this piece, especially in the way that William is able to deliver it. He sounds like a bonafide news radio journalist. I do feel however that William comes off to be a little condescending towards his piers at times.

William ends the piece nicely by going back to the main idea behind the piece, signing off with an optimistic declaration that others his age will find their gateyway into the political landscape, aka their "West Wing Moment."

Comment for "The Legend of Dead Horse Point"

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Review of The Legend of Dead Horse Point

In true storytelling tradition Athena Hawks of Voices of Youth - Moab investigates what's in a name - specifically the Utah State Park "Dead Horse Point", a place of gorgeous vistas of the Colorado River and where dead things still run free.

Of all the youth radio pieces I've listened to so far this is probably the most impressive for several reasons.

For one, it's nice to listen to a piece that breaks away from the conventional personal essay that seems to be so popular on the youth radio airwaves. Historical investigation reports like "The Legend of Dead Horse Point" are not produced enough in my opinion. It would be nice to hear other genres like this explored more often (where's the radio drama, suspense, sitcom, poetry, comedy?).

It also appeals to the very kid-like passion of asking "why?". The curious nature of toddlers often leads to two questions; "are we there yet?" and "why?". There is great storytelling opportunities when we ask "why" a place is named-so. There is great intrigue in a place named "Dead Horse Point" and Athena escorts that intrigue into a wonderfully produced piece of radio.

Yet the most impressive thing about the piece is the fact that it's fearless! The piece features a sort of personified inner-diaglogue of the horses involved in the story (this kind of reminded me of the Houyhnhnms in Gulliver's Travels). For one, this is a tough task to convey to the listener. Athena cues it up well with a sort of introductory horse neigh and by tweaking the echo of the audio. I thought it was a very risky component to the storytelling that goes on here, but does it ever work! It's really very brave of Athena! Major kudos for pulling it off.

Just as Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" seems to have been taylor-made for the Wizard of Oz, the soundtrack to this piece, the Rolling Stones' Wild Horses, similarly aligns itself with the plot. It doesn't get any better.

I'd tell you more about what lies behind the name and the plot and all but that would really take away from the joy of listening to this. Besides, Athena, her Grandpa, and the Park Ranger do a much better job of telling the story than I ever could. Athena offers a confident moral of the story that unveils the beauty of history and asking "why?".

Comment for "Should I Stay or Should I Go (To the Prom)"

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Review of Should I Stay or Should I Go (To the Prom)

David Barber-Callaghan is caught in a classic high-school quagmire; should he or should he not go to his Senior High School Prom? It's a complicated matter filled with questions that need answering. Complicating the matter is the seemingly tenuous obligation of going. David searches for answers and in doing so, delivers a wonderful piece of radio.

David is concerned with the duality of the prom scene. We learn this when David says, "I love to dance, but I know I'll hate the music. I'd like to dress up to the nine's and look my best, but I hate the sheer materialism of prom. I want a date, but I don't want to risk rejection by actually asking anyone."

As Dickens tells us in A Tale Of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." And that's precisely the problem for David. What if it's the latter?

In search for answers David cleverly seeks out past graduates for advice. A very nice touch on his part.

David also seeks out answers from his fellow classmates. In doing so we hear both sides of the coin. We hear from those who are totally adamant about going and answer in a way that seems to suggest your insane if you don't go. And then we hear from other's who shrug prom off as a waste of money and distasteful dancing.

And so the quagmire continues. David focuses his inquiry on one final question, will he have fun? A Facebook event invitation seems to suggest so.

In the end we don't know whether David goes or not, a real cliff-hanger. I would absolutley love to hear a follow up piece to this! Did he go? We're dying to know! David, tell us already will you! Encore! Encore! Encore!

P.S. - I love the thumbnail picture!!! If ever there was a picture that captured the "sheer materialism" and the sort of obligated nature of prom, this is it! The picture alone lures me in to listen.

P.S.S. - People don't say "dress up to the nine's" enough.

Comment for "Dating, Romance, and Heartbreaking Robots"

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Review of Dating, Romance, and Heartbreaking Robots

First of all, I love the title of this piece! If Heartbreaking Robots don't intrigue you then your forehead's warm and your throat scratchy.

In "Dating, Romance, and Heartbreaking Robots" producer Zoe High unveils how middle-schoolers feel about adolscent dating.

Zoe consults, as she so humorously puts it, "dating experts" - aka three sixth graders - about their perception of pre-teen dating.

One of the "dating experts " we here from is Leander, a insightfully-silly and yet sophisticated sixth grader who tells us that the future of dating will consist of online robots who will inevitably break the hearts of their companion's once it's revealed that they're in fact robots.

Zoe does a great job of moderating through out this piece and poses thoughtful questions to the sixth graders. The six graders in return answer bluntly about the informal awkwardness of pre-teen dating.

It's revelaed that "going out" with someone doesn't mean you actually "go out" in public with, rather it's just kind of something you say.

My only suggestion would be to include a different thumbnail picture; something that compliments the story that's being told here. It's important to realize that as people scan through youth-produced radio pieces their eye's tend to be drawn to pieces with captivating pictures. It would be a shame to have this piece, and other well-crafted pieces alike, overlooked because of a bland thumbnail picture.

Comment for "How Can Humans Get Along"

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Review of How Can Humans Get Along

Generation Y'ers, I pose a question to you, how many times have you heard your grandparents & parents start a disgruntled rant by saying "Kids these days..." & then proceed to say something along the lines of "spend way too many hours playing video games", "could care less about what's happening in the world", "have no work ethic at all", and my personal favorite, "listen to their music WAY TOO LOUD".

There's no doubt that youth today suffer from the negative dispostions of our elders. It can be tough to dispel the misconceptions of those who have been labeled as the "Greatest Generation". It's time for a more accurate depiction. Helping the cause is Dolna Smithback of Santa Fe Youth Radio. In her piece "How Can Humans Get Along", Dolna effectively showcases the strengths of our generation by creating this piece in which she attends the New Mexico Peace Works Conference (NMPWC) amongst an international community of young people.

The most charming part of the piece is when we hear from NMPWC keynote speaker Ocean Robbins, young founder of the Non-Profit organization "Yes Now" (and also great grandson of the wonderful man who gave us Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors! (somehow I can't imagine anyone named Ocean not working in the Non-Profit sector)). Ocean tells an Aesop-like tale of fruit flies that's gaurenteed to make you smile and feel good on the inside. His voice is direct, oddly familiar, and he commands the moment. For the most part Dolna captures his storytelling insight, however the audio is a bit soft here and therefore loses a bit of its power.

The piece also features Dolna interviewing her piers at the conference. Dolna is able to garner some wonderful responses, nothing short of inspiring.

The piece overall flows nicely from segment to segment and well-crafted, a real professional job here on Dolna's part. Thank you Dolna for helping the cause!

Comment for "The Needle Drop 06-07-08" (deleted)

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Review of The Needle Drop 06-07-08 (deleted)

Dear fellow music junkies,

With so much quality indie music coming from every corner of the world today's indie music scene can be hard to keep up with. But let's be honest, as music junkies we just don't want to keep up, we want to lead the pack, stay ahead of the curve. We want to be responsible for bringing the coolest and most obscure sounds to our social circles.

The Needle Drop is helping us do that.

Host Anthony Fantano drops the needle weekly from Harford Connecticut for a half hour sampling of some of the finest indie of all genres. It's safe to say that the stuff Anthony play's will be new to you or at least worth another listen.

Anthony does a nice job of giving us thorough yet concise band bio's without taking time away from the music. I appreciate the clarity to which Anthony introduces music, it helps us explore the music further on our own (there's nothing worse than hearing music you really dig and then not being able to look more into it because you couldn't make out what the DJ was saying, or worse yet doesn't reannounce what we were just listening to). However, I do wish that the show was less formal and more experimental - like the music it plays.

I would definitely tune in weekly to The Needle Drop!

Comment for "Stuffed Animals 1"

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Review of Stuffed Animals 1

Remember the television show Kids Say the Darndest Things? Of course you do, chances are you loved it too. How could you not? A kid?s perception of this crazy mixed-up world is as adorable as a basket full of newborn kittens. In ?Stuffed Animals? David Green and his Third Grade Audio team have put together three wonderfully whimsical pieces here. Each piece explores the bond between kids and their stuffed animals, something we can all relate to. Throughout ?Stuffed Animals? kid?s take turns sharing the names and stories of their favorite stuffed cuddly-creatures.

There are a couple of reasons why this piece is such a joy to listen to. For starters, it?s the fact that not once do we hear an adult voice, it?s strictly the kids running the show and the piece is better because of it. Another reason why this works so well is because these kids are super comfortable around the microphone. Each tells their story with their own unique personality shining through, which is probably thanks to the fact that the kid?s often interviewed each other. I highly doubt a middle-aged stranger trying to put together this piece could have elicited such wonderful narration. As the kids share their stories laughter often erupts in the background, it then quickly becomes contagious to the listener.

Maybe the coolest thing about these radio pieces is the fact that they?re written and recorded by the 3rd graders themselves (I?m sure David gives a helping hand too). These lucky kids get the invaluable experience of producing radio pieces, whereas the coolest thing I ever produced in 3rd grade was a macaroni necklace.

Last but not least, I want to go on record for saying that ?Bratwurst? is the best possible name you can give a stuffed animal (a name that one little girl gave her stuffed dog). Somehow I feel the scientific method can actually prove this, I?m working on it anyways.

Three cheers to the 3rd graders for putting together ?Stuffed Animals?:

Hip Hip Hooray!
Hip Hip Hooray!
Hip Hip Hooray!