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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-1 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:

Singing Sand (#1546)

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

6333325441_0da863a31f_w_small Paternoster lakes are circular lakes formed in a series along a valley, also known as a glacial stairway. From above, paternoster lakes resemble rosary beads on a string. Paternoster is another word for "rosary," deriving from the Latin pater noster, or "Our Father," the two words that usually begin the rosary prayer. The term paternoster lakes is one of hundreds of terms about the natural world described in Homeground: A Guide to the American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney.


Matt from Waukesha, Wisconsin, has been discussing the words barely and nearly with his 10-year-old son Simon. They know the two words are nearly alike, but how exactly?


Jacob in Dallas, Texas, remembers his grandfather used to talk about someone having a come apart, meaning "having a breakdown" or "freaking out." It's not a common phrase, but it's widespread enough that it appears in newspaper archives at least as far back as the 1980s to refer to "losing one's cool" or "falling to pieces."


Lucy, a middle-school student in San Diego, California, is puzzled by a phrase her mother uses when something is not quite up to snuff or falls short of the mark: close, but no tomato. It appears to be a variant of close, but no cigar, a phrase adopted from the patter of old-time carnival barkers.


Quiz Guy John Chaneski's puzzle is about common bonds that connect three things. For example, what's the one word that links the following trio of terms? A report card, USDA inspected beef, and an incline.


Cark is a noun meaning "worry" or "trouble." As a verb, cark means "to cause worry or distress," as in to have carking doubts. This word derives from a Latin word for "burden," which also produced charge, as in a "load" to carry, and car, a vehicle that carries.


An editor with a large database company is tussling with colleagues over the proper use of the words comprise and composed of. She believes the correct usage would be: The alphabet comprises 26 letters or The alphabet is composed of 26 letters. She's right. The use of the phrase is comprised of is widespread, even though it's traditionally considered incorrect. When possible, it's best to find an alternative entirely, such as consists of.


Singing sand refers to the roaring noise or boom produced by vibrations in sand dunes. Barking sand, which makes yipping noises when you drag your feet along it, is found along coastlines in Hawaii and elsewhere. These terms are discussed in more detail in Homeground: A Guide to the American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney.


When Therese moved from New England to Petersburg, Alaska, she heard a rich mixture of language that arose from the Tlingit people who live there part of the year, the Norwegians who immigrated there, and a thriving fishing industry. So you might hear residents borrowing the fishing term to be corked, that is "to be interfered with," or referring to the Norwegian Christmastime practice of going julebukking, or wandering business to business, enjoying Norwegian food and perhaps an adult beverage along the way. Speech arising from such a mixture of languages is called contact language. Trade language arises when parts of languages combine specifically for use in trade. A pidgin develops as the result of two or more languages combining grammatical and lexical features that develops into something still more sophisticated, with syntactical rules and vocabulary that are passed on from parents to children, sometimes over many generations. 


If you're happy as a boardinghouse pup, you're elated indeed. Food in a boardinghouse can't compare with home-cooked meals, which works to the advantage of a canine waiting around to be tossed some scraps.


Isabel Wilkerson's magnificent history, The Warmth of Other Suns, chronicles the Great Migration of American blacks from the Southern United States starting in the era of Jim Crow. In it, Wilkerson quotes someone who says of another person: You must be smelling yourself. This saying describes someone "conceited" or otherwise full of himself.


Andres from San Diego, California, wonders: Why do we refer to jail as the pokey? The term, along with its variant pogie, likely goes back to a word for workhouse, a prison where people worked as part of their sentence, much like debtors' prison.


The slang term kittenball is used in parts of the American Midwest for the sport of softball. According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, a fire company Minneapolis, Minnesota, first applied the term kittenball to softball, and called its first team the Kittens.


Omar in Wilmington, North Carolina, says that when he was growing up in Pakistan, he and fellow cricket players referred to their team captain as the skipper. The term skipper, or skip, originated in seafaring terminology and now applies to the leader of various types of teams, such as curling or cycling.
 
According to Homeground: A Guide to the American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney, the Navajo term tsegi means "rock canyon." This term was adapted into French as the name for the spectacular spot in Arizona known as Canyon de Chelly.


Jason from De Pere, Wisconsin, was surprised to see that among the spelling words his twin second-graders were studying was the contraction this'll. Is a term like this'll really appropriate for a second-grade spelling test?


The Latin word latibulum means a "refuge or hiding place of animals." It derives from the same root that gives us the English word latent, meaning "hidden." A 17th-century dictionary defines the now-rare English word latibulate as "privily to hide oneself in a corner."


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.