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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:

Strawberry Moon (#1522)

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

27816664722_43c1c44a0a_m_small Lethologica is the inability to remember a word or name. The term is related to the name of the river Lethe, also known as the River of Oblivion, which in Greek mythology caused those in Hades to to forget their life on earth.


If a suspect is at large, he is moving about freely. The term at large, which comes to us via French from Latin, refers not to size, but distance. The phrase by and large, meaning "generally" or "on the whole," derives from a nautical term that denotes a way to sail a ship by adjusting its course according to the direction of the wind.


A Massachusetts listener shares her mishearing the name of the beloved character Mr. Green Jeans on the old "Captain Kangaroo" TV show. She was in college before she realized his name wasn't Mr. Cream Cheese. 


Frida in Marquette, Michigan, shares a proverb from her Finnish heritage that translates as "Until the food is ready, feed your guests with words." She also asks about pank, a term she often hears there in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It means "to pack down," as in to pank down snow or pank down sugar in a cup. The origin of pank is uncertain, although it may derive from a combination of pack and spank. This term is also heard in parts of Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.


Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a brain teaser based on translations of names that Native American people gave to various lunar months. For example, since lupines tend to howl more at the moon in the middle of winter, what's the nickname for the full moon in January?


Paloma from Escondido, California, asks about how the hosts developed their attitudes toward language. We share some of those influences, which include,  in Martha's case, studying Ancient Greek for 12 years with a polyglot professor, and in Grant's, learning from colleagues in the American Dialect Society and being trained as a lexicographer.


A listener reports being puzzled by a phrase she heard from a woman for whom she'd done a small favor: Did you think you'd taken me to raise? Heard mainly in Kentucky and Ohio, this phrase is a joking suggestion that the person who has done the favor has assumed responsibility for the other's care and upbringing. Similarly, an unreasonable request for a favor might be denied with the phrase I ain't took you to raise!


Eleven-year-old Josiah from San Antonio, Texas, is looking for a single English word to describe a road that's largely free of traffic.


Jill in Indianapolis, Indiana, wonders how to spell the one-syllable cheer that starts with Y. Is it yay or yea? Since the 1930s, yay has been used that way. The word yea is much older and used in formal texts to mean indeed. An example is in the Psalm that contains the verse Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.


When Mary from Hanover, New Hampshire, was vacationing in Alaska, she picked up a term from the locals: sucker hole. It refers to a patch of sun peeking through the clouds, which leads  tourists to assume that the weather is going to clear up. The locals, however, know that a sucker hole will be there only briefly before the skies are overcast again.


Our discussion about cursive handwriting and whether it should be taught in schools brought a tremendous response from listeners. Overwhelmingly, they agreed that there are so many benefits to learning to write this way that it's well worth the time and effort to teach cursive writing to youngsters.


Pam in New York City wonders if bidding someone farewell with Toodle-oo derives from the French for "see you soon," a tout a l'heure.


Many so-called rules of grammar are actually just zombie rules. They're ill-advised attempts by 17th-century grammarians to make English syntax fit the orderly rules of Latin.


David, a rideshare driver in Virginia Beach, Virginia, wonders about all the residential developments he sees with names containing the word quay. Usually pronounced KEE, quay is an old term for "wharf." The use of quay in these names may involve what Entrepreneur magazine dubbed newstalgia, or constructing something to feel old even though it's actually new, or fauxstalgia, a yearning for a time in the past, even though you never actually experienced it yourself.


A Texas caller says her West Virginia-born mother uses the word hornicaboogery to mean "germs" or "the creeping crud." Among the many such joking names for imaginary illnesses are gollywobbles, pantod on the rummit, can't-help-its, school bus cramps, collywobbles, and carlymarbles.


In response to our conversation about names we call grandparents, John Polk tweeted about a grandfather in his family named Uh-huh and a grandmother named Who-Who.


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.