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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:

Mudlarking (#1561)

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

Awww_logo_color_square Laura Maiklem's book Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames (Bookshop| Amazon) is a charming memoir about the rewards of scavenging for bits of history along the River Thames.


Barney from Carmel, Indiana, says his family always used the term schniddles to refer to e teeny bits of detritus left on the table after snipping paper snowflakes. It's most likely a variant of schnibbles, a far more common term for "scraps," or "small pieces," which is heard in parts of the United States that were settled largely by German immigrants. The term comes from German Schnippel, meaning "scraps."


Michael in Morgantown, Kentucky, is pondering his grandfather's phrase He fotched a heave and catched a fall meaning someone "made a quick bodily movement and fell." Fotched is a dialectal past tense of fetch.


In response to our conversation about pangrams, those sentences that use every letter of the alphabet at least once, Sarah McCall sent us this advice: Just mask up and be extra careful that you don't quit always sanitizing everything.


A malaprop is a word or phrase used mistakenly for a similar-sounding word or phrase, often to amusing effect. Quiz Guy John Chaneski offers a puzzle in honor of the late comedian Norm Crosby, a.k.a. "Mr. Malaprop," who once noted that "The human body is prone to many melodies." For each quiz clue, John has replaced each malaprop with its definition. For example, John says, Norm once took his trousers to the tailor because they were in need of "a noisy public argument." What did those trousers need?


Cassandra, who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, wonders about the rules for how to punctuate titles such as Professor and Doctor. Growing up in South Africa, she was taught that, in contrast to practice in the United States,  the titles Dr, Mr, and Mrs are not followed by a period because they stand for the whole words Doctor, Mister, and Mistress and include the first and last letters of each term. In contrast, she says, she was told that Prof should be followed by a period because it's an abbreviation of the word Professor, cutting the word off in the middle. When it comes to abbreviations, there are lots of exceptions to punctuation rules. In the United States, for example, people sometimes leave out the period in US, UN, and CEO when using shortened forms of United States, United Nations, and Chief Executive Officer.


Creature comforts, meaning "material comforts," may sound like a newfangled term, but it goes back at least as far as the 1640s.


Scottie in Dallas, Texas, says her grandmother, who was from Mississippi, used to use the term Jack Roses whenever a discussion veered off course. Her family picked up the term, and called it out whenever the course of a conversation changed abruptly. Any history to the term Jack Roses? There's a sweet cocktail called the Jack Rose, but other than that, this may well be a family word.
 
Zoe from Kingston, New York, wonders: what is the plural of octopus? More than one of these animals can be referred to as octopi or octopuses. Octopus comes from Greek words that mean "eight feet," so strictly speaking, if you wanted to use the equivalent of a Greek ending on this word, you'd use the rare English word octopodes (rhymes with "mock plop of cheese"), but try it, and you'll only sound pretentious.


Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames (Bookshop| Amazon) relates the amazing tale, told many places, of Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson, a bookbinder who developed the famous Doves Type. To prevent the moveable type from falling into the hands of his younger business partner, Cobden-Sanderson methodically tossed bits of this metal type -- thousands of them -- into the Thames River. Decades later, some of that type has been recovered by graphic designer Robert Green.


Laura in San Diego, California, wonders about the tradition of performers saying Toi toi toi to each other backstage to wish each other a good performance. It's possible that it derives from the ancient idea that spitting three times can ward off the evil eye. Today performers sometimes simply text each other #toix3. It's possible it comes from the German word Teufel or "devil," but no one is sure.
 
Dean from Chadron, Nebraska, notes that people in his area use the term visit to mean "talk with" or "converse," as in I went over to Mary's house and we had a really nice time visiting. This usage originated in the American South as far back as the 1860s, then spread throughout the country.


Debbie from Memphis, Tennessee, grew up in Arkansas, where she learned the term trade-last, which refers to "a quoted compliment offered in return for the recipient first offering one to the speaker." Although those from the American South may remember this practice as a sweet, harmless interaction, writer Nora Ephron, in her book I Remember Nothing (Bookshop|Amazon) describes a trade-last or T.L. as "a strange, ungenerous, and seriously narcissistic way of telling someone a nice thing that has been said about them."


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.