Comments by Arvid Hokanson

Comment for "Engineering Pharmaceuticals"

User image

Interesting and Engaging Special

I don't always get the chance to preview an entire hour-long special. However, I had to listen to this whole hour. It is another excellent special from veteran-producer Richard Paul. The tone and flow are excellent. I also learned a tremendous amount over the hour about the modern state of pharmaceutical research and why prescription drugs are so expensive.

This special should stay relevant for quite some time - it is definitely worth scheduling for a special, holiday or showcase slot.

-Arvid Hokanson
Asst. PD
94.9 KUOW & 91.7 KUOW2

Comment for "Ethnic Stereotyping"

User image

Incorrect file uploaded?


The audio is just a music track. Is there supposed to be a story too?

-Arvid Hokanson
949 KUOW & 917 KXOT
Seattle, WA

Comment for "Amazing Grace: The Story of Willie Nelson"

User image

Review of Amazing Grace: The Story of Willie Nelson

This is an excellent doc. Congratulations to David Brown on a job well done.

For those of us, myself included, who only know a little bit about the life and music of Willie Nelson, this is a great learning experience that is also compelling radio.

The biographical info, with a good narrative arc, combined with the rare music clips, provides good public service. The early recording of Willie is a real gem, one I would bet most people have not heard.

I would recommend this special anytime, not just around Willie's birthday.

Comment for "The Hula Lesson"

User image

Review of The Hula Lesson

We ran this special a few years ago - it's great - I think we'll run it again.

Outer Voices has an established record of producing high-quality, engaging and sound rich documentaries. This one is no different.

This special provides excellent public service and rich production values.

The great thing is it gives listeners to really learn about the Hula - far more than you would ever learn attending one. Even when you visit Hawaii, you have to really make an effort to lean about the culture and history.

Also, it's great to learn about the Hula. It's easy for us to confuse that at a Luau, dances from around Polynesia are all performed.

As with the other great docs from Stephanie and her team, this special is sound rich and lets the tape tell the story, with minimum narration.

I encourage you to schedule this for your showcase slot or for a holiday special.

Comment for "Music on the Brain" (deleted)

User image

Review of OPEN SOURCE: Music on the Brain (deleted)

Here is an interesting hour about our brains and music. Listeners can be quickly drawn in with the not-overly-done analysis of the Talking Heads' "Once in a LIfetime".

Chris Lydon is a radio pro and did a smart thing by putting some of the evergreen episodes of Open Source up on PRX. This show would be great for a showcase slot, holiday or anytime you need an hour to fill. However, I would recommend an evening or weekend. Some of the music analysis gets a bit inside baseball at times, but should keep most listeners engaged.

The program also does a nice job of mixing in elements and Daniel Levitin is a thoughtful guest who has written a well-received book.

If you air the program, make sure to provide a link to the Open Source blog for listeners to read.

Comment for "CamForum - Dispatches From Up South"

User image

Review of CamForum - Dispatches From Up South

Most of us know Roy Blount, Jr. as a regular panelist on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me". This episode of the Cambridge Forum gives listeners a chance to hear his extended thoughts on a number of topics, including Southern culture, American Presidents and post-Katrina New Orleans.

This episode has a good shelf life, so consider it for your lectures slot, a holiday or simply to fill part of a local talk show.

Even though this is a stage interview, with audience Q&A, Roy Blount is funny and engaging. Listeners will enjoy learning more about him and what inspires his humor.

The host does a good job keeping the listening audience engaged with resets and attention to audio quality from the audience.

This is an entertaining and humorous half-hour of radio.

Comment for "To My Aunt, Who Crossed the Border"

User image

Review of To My Aunt, Who Crossed the Border

I like this letter from Elizabeth to her aunt Tia. It's touching, and gives us a personal story that is easily lost in the debate about immigration policy. The piece is just the right length, it's not overdone, but still gives us a touching story about what a niece would give to her aunt.

This also gives us the perspective of youth - something else that we don't always hear in stories about immigration.

This will make a good drop-in for a magazine or local talk show.

Comment for "What's Divorce Like for You?"

User image

Review of What's Divorce Like for You?

Jeremiah gives us a conversational, tightly edited vox-pop about kids and divorce. This is a great drop-in piece for a magazine or a local talk show. I like that it's short and engaging. Well done!

This piece is also evergreen, these are thoughts that kids have had and will continue to have about divorce - so a great piece for PRX.

Comment for "NPR's All Songs Considered: From The White Stripes to Elliot Smith"

User image

Review of NPR's All Songs Considered: From The White Stripes to Elliot Smith

This is a half-hour of music with a bit of commentary thrown in. I would much rather have the ratio be the other way around. There are so many places to hear new music these days, that I look to NPR to help me learn about music, musicians and bands. I heard one track from the Battles. I didn't know who they were before this show, and I still don't know anything about them.

This show is also weak on formatics. It needs more resets and to better tell listeners who the hosts are, what we're listening to and why. People don't listen to radio programs continuously from start to finish - and even for the few that might, this program doesn't give listeners enough information to stay engaged.

Host Bob Boilen needs to slow down while reading his script and be more conversational.

These shows need some radio 101 work before they are ready for broadcast.

Comment for "It is To Laugh - Starship Majora: The Shape Shifter"

User image

Review of It is To Laugh - Starship Majora: The Shape Shifter

This attempt at radio theater is okay at best. I find that the humor misses on many levels. It is also theater in another way: to follow along, listeners need to listen from start to finish - which is not how most people listen to the radio.

One important note: this contains swearing and potentially offensive language, but the information for stations does not say this. It will need editing to be broadcast friendly in the USA.

The humor in this piece is definitely for a niche audience - so if you air it, choose carefully where you place it.

Comment for "Will You Go To Prom With Me?"

User image

Review of Will You Go To Prom With Me?

This is a fun, first-person audio essay on one teen's effort to get a date to the prom.

I like the simplicity of this piece - it's not overdone and it's a subject most of us can relate to. The one question left though, did he get a date?

This piece works as an easy drop-in to the cutaway slot in WESUN, WESAT or Day to Day. It's also timeless, so in can work in future years around prom, homecoming etc.

Comment for "Dad & Daws (Father's Day)"

User image

Review of Dad & Daws (Father's Day)

What a wonderfully crafted piece for Father's Day. Joe brings us a captivating, intimate, sound rich story. He does it with simple writing and without being overly dramatic.

The story has a steady tone that keeps listeners engaged, definitely a candidate for a driveway moment. The story also has a flowing narrative with good visual imagery.

I also love hearing that the correspondence with Daws was done via letter and cassette, especially now in the era of e-mail, blogs etc.

The story of Joe's father is disturbing and troubling. However, Joe's writing and use of tape makes it an element of a story and shines the light on the good that came out of his work with Daws and the career that grew from his love for cartoon characters. He leaves the listener feeling good for him and sharing the same wonder about his father's purchase of a stereo tape recorder.

Kudos for saving all this tape and weaving into a sound-rich, personal essay.

Comment for "Pay No Attention to that man behind the curtain"

User image

Review of Pay No Attention to that man behind the curtain

This well-crafted piece pulls back the curtain on public radio. Rather than being ear candy only for fellow pubsters, it gives listeners an entertaining idea of how we make great radio. It's fun to hear reporters and producers at work - performing all the tricks that we do.

The quality of this production made me think it came from ABC Radio National's The Night Air - which is a high standard to match.

This would make a good segment for a night-time show, especially for a weeknight.

Comment for "HV- For the Fallen" (deleted)

User image

Review of FOR THE FALLEN Memorial Day Special (deleted)

This is an emotional, powerful hour of radio. You will be captivated by this program. Expect to experience several driveway moments while listening.

The interviews and stories will cement your feelings about the realities of war. Hearing veterans tell painful, tearful stories will remind you to be thankful for the sacrifices soldiers make during war.

Hearing Voices has once again produced an outstanding hour of radio. This is why HV won a Peabody award. This program serves as inspiration for other producers.

The most important thing PDs can take away from this is to schedule For the Fallen for Memorial Day in a prime time slot, maybe right after Morning Edition.

Comment for "Offramp - A Fragrant Disregard for Truth"

User image

Review of Offramp - A Fragrant Disregard for Truth

This is a program that public radio does well and I'm glad local stations take the initiative to craft this kind of radio.

It's produced so that you need to listen to it from start to finish. Anyone tuning in mid-program will most likely be lost and not sure what is playing on the radio.

With a few concessions to formatics, including some resets, this would work well on any station. It would fit nicely into an evening slot or weekend slot.

Comment for "Young & Exonerated"

User image

Review of Young & Exonerated

This story does a great job of keeping the listener engaged. The tone, cadence and music are wonderfully edited together - and kept me listening intently. The use of the cell door closing also was used to great effect - making me jump in my chair the first time.

The length, just shy of 8 minutes, makes this pieces eligible for dropping into a news magazine or local program. It has a good narrative and also is a colorful way to set up a call-in program or talk show discussion.

Nicely done!

Comment for "Filmspotting (153): Interview with actors and director from "The Lookout, review of "Reign Over Me," our top 5 movies about friendship," and more" (deleted)

User image

Review of Filmspotting (153): Interview with actors and director from "The Lookout, review of "Reign Over Me," our top 5 movies about friendship," and more (deleted)

This is a show/podcast for film buffs - it gets pretty "inside baseball". It gets very detailed from the opening discussion about the recent film, Reign Over Me. With the show out of Chicago, it reminds me of Ebert and Roper.

I find that you must pay fairly close attention to this show to follow it. That isn't the best model for lifestyle listening - which is what radio is. However, I do like the addition of interviews with guests to add flavor to the show.

The show is okay on formatics, but needs improvement with resets and a few simple things, like saying the phone number slower and more than once when calling out to listeners.

Niche shows like this appeal to a small segment of listeners. It would work well for a late Friday night slot or possibly weekend nights.

Comment for "Passover candy - an audio tour of a Lower East Side candy store"

User image

Review of Passover candy - an audio tour of a Lower East Side candy store

Blake does a nice job of taking us on an audio tour of this great candy store. I had no idea that Kosher candy canes and chocolate rabbits exist. I'm glad I learned something new from this piece. I like the sense of place from recording the interview/tour in the store. Overall, a great piece. It would work great for a drop-in to any magazine during Passover. Audio tours are hard to do and this one is well done.

A few suggestions. Blake should put his name at the top of the piece so we know who he is and it would self-contain the piece. I like the description of the store and the candy, but a few more visuals would be helpful. What is the clientele like? Blake could tell us this based on his observation. A bit more on the candy would be helpful too - what does it look like, feel like etc. There is some of this, and it is good, but I would like to hear a bit more.

Comment for "In So Many Words"

User image

Review of In So Many Words

The Sunday Edition and CBC have a well deserved reputation for producing and broadcasting outstanding documentaries. This one continues the tradition.

First person documentaries are hard produce, but this one is engaging and well written. It has a flowing narrative and teaches us about the little known disease Aphasia. The writing is meant to take us along with the story, rather than talking to or at us.

I like the sound of the pencil writing, each time bringing us back to the scene of Teresa and her father communicating.

This is a great documentary to place into a showcase slot.

Comment for "The Lumberyard: A Radio Magazine of Poetry, Prose, and Music (2:8)" (deleted)

User image

Review of The Lumberyard: A Radio Magazine of Poetry, Prose, and Music (2:8) (deleted)

Wally Lamb is well known for his writing and has a pleasant and engaging radio voice. This is a great story about becoming a writer and the challenges of being a writer.

This is a story best suited for late night programming or a weekend afternoon. It would work well before or after Selected Shorts, or in tandem with other literary programming. It's well produced.

This long story also shows why public radio is an important venue for literary program.

Comment for "St Patrick's Day - an American Experience"

User image

Review of St Patrick's Day - an American Experience

Although this piece is a first person essay about a personal topic, I found it to be rather flat. The voicing sounds overly scripted and the piece could use a good edit to tighten it up. If it's to get any carriage in the future, it should be edited down to 3:00 to 3:30 to fit into optional cutaway slots. It would work for a future St. Patrick's Day.

I like the topic and some of the visual imagery in the writing. However, in order to draw in the listeners, Jeffrey needs to put the script down and work on more conversational voicing. The cadence and reading, except for the last 30 seconds, feels too tight. This is especially noticeable when Jeffrey discusses the connection with the police officer and the tear that comes to his eye.

Also, there seems to be an editing error at 2:23 into the piece.

Listeners hear a lot of commentaries on the national magazines, so the bar for writing and voicing is high.

Comment for "The Homegirl Cafe"

User image

Review of The Homegirl Cafe

This story introduces us to a cafe in Los Angeles that we probably otherwise would not know about. Rebecca uses the ambiance well - setting the scene and keeping us in the cafe for the story. She also uses colorful writing to draw the listener to the story.

A well, done engaging story. Place it into the feature slot of a national magazine or your local news. It's evergreen and should work fine.

Comment for ""Identity in this Society" by Sean Reed" (deleted)

User image

Review of "Identity in this Society" by Sean Reed (deleted)

This poetry reading has a great cadence and tone to catch listeners. It grabbed my attention immediately, especially since we usually don't hear poetry performed on the radio.

It's well written and the length makes it quite flexible to drop into any optional cutaway slot, including WESUN, WESAT or Studio 360.

Comment for "Poetry Bus"

User image

Review of Poetry Bus

I like this story. I learned something new. Who knew there was a poetry bus? The piece is well written, tightly edited and uses ambiance well. Jake is an accomplished producer, and you hear it here. I like that the piece needs minimal narration, with short sentences and simple questions. It also has a good narrative and flow, with a great ending. It also has a broad appeal for listeners.

This piece would be a great drop-in for WATC, WESUN, Day to Day or any other magazine, local or national.

Comment for "Basketball"

User image

Review of Basketball

This piece has too many problems that prevent me from recommending it for broadcast. It contains rough micing in several spots, poor levels and it's too long to keep the listener engaged. I am a big fan of youth work, but without a good edit, both for content and length, it's not presentable for air.

I do like LaShauna's personal reflection on why she likes basketball and the use of tape from both her brothers and her mom. I also like the use of ambiance.

With some editing, this would work well as a drop-in to Weekend America, Only a Game or a local magazine.

Comment for "Black History Month - Say it LOUD!" (deleted)

User image

Review of Black History Month - Say it LOUD! (deleted)

I like the way the speeches are edited together in a brief, punchy style. With the music underneath, it makes for powerful, engaging listening. The selections are also excellent for conveying feelings about civil rights history. Not much else needs to be said, hearing the speeches should be enough for you to find a slot to air this.

From past broadcasts, we know that listeners enjoy hearing these speeches. This is an excellent choice for Black History Month - or anytime of year for that matter. It works as a half-hour, or can be combined with a 22 or 29 minute piece to round out an hour.

Comment for "Losing Home"

User image

Review of Losing Home

Wen Ou does a wonderful job of leading us through her feelings for missing her native China. From the food and bustle of her hometown to the lack of family in New York, we are told about her struggle against home sicknesses and to adapt to life in Queens.

This is a great piece with a strong narrative and good detail. It does require listening closely to follow the whole story. I like the use of ambiance and Wen's detail of what she misses about China and what she wants about of the basics in life.

This piece would be a nice drop-in for Pacific Time, WESAT/WESUN or Day to Day. It would also work for a youth/holiday special.

Comment for "Poetry"

User image

Review of Poetry

Judith grabs the listener immediately with her poetry. it's a great way to open the story. This story weaves between first person reflection and interviews, letting us know what it is like to be an outsider - in more ways than one.

Judith is a talented writer and speaker. A few parts of the story could be voiced a bit slower to compensate for the ways people hear the radio when they are in the car or the kitchen.

This is a compelling piece, especially since it lets us know the power of the written word for Judith and tells us about her struggles growing up. I like hearing her thoughts in poetry and not just in reflection.

This piece would make a great drop-in to a local or national magazine. It would also pair nicely with other youth pieces for a half-hour or hour segment.

Comment for "Dominican Republic"

User image

Review of Dominican Republic

What is life like in the bustle of New York City versus the more laid back life of the Dominican Republic? In particular what is it like for a teenager straddling both places? Angely gives us a portrait of her struggle to identify with her homeland of NYC and her ancestral homeland of DR. The Dominican Republic seems to have a stronger family culture, a less hectic pace and wonderful sandy beaches and clear water. Most of us know NYC as least from the movies, with its frenzied pace and endless landscape of concrete, brick and steel.

I like this story for the intimacy and narrative. She also has good interviews and uses the interviews and music well to help the flow of the story. It's also good to hear why she wants to stay in NYC. Her voice is pleasant and engaging.

I would have to liked to hear more from Angely about her impressions of NYC. Is there a strong community of ex-pats from the DR in NYC? How does she identify with NYC? I also thought it would have helped to move up the portion about why her family came to NYC and why they stayed. I felt this was an open question for too long in the story.

This would work well for a drop in piece for the weekend magazines, Day to Day or Weekend America. It would also work on Latino USA. Consider packaging a few of the Radio Rookies pieces together for a strong half-hour segment.

Comment for "Being Black"

User image

Review of Being Black

What is it like to be black? And what is it like to be black in your teen years. We get great insight in this first-person essay from Allison Jones for WNYC's oustanding Radio Rookies program.

This essay has a good narrative to keep the listener engaged and is well produced with a good use of sound. The writing is conversational and doesn't sound overly-scripted.

We need more of these types of pieces on public radio. In this essay, Allison is authentic, and provides more insight for listeners than a shorter commentary or a story on a study or a social-program profile.

This is a great fit in any news magazine.