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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:

Love Bites (#1569)

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

Awww_logo_color_square On our Facebook group, listeners play a game imagining what kind of plants might grow in a garden tended by various types of people. For example, a veterinarian might plant dogwood and catnip, and an ophthalmologist could plant irises. What might a nurse plant?


Pearline from Fort Worth, Texas, wonders why anyone would ever advise that You can't have your cake and eat it too. Like so many English phrases, it doesn't pay to analyze the literal meaning too closely.


Ron from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, shares a family word he learned from his college roommate: asyou. The word asyou denotes "the second or third stair on the staircase" -- in other words, the stair where you put things to remember to take them with you as you go upstairs.


What's the origin of the slang term book it!, meaning "depart quickly"? Since slang terms often cross-pollinate, it's possible that by the 1960s and 1970s this expression formed at the confluence of three other slang terms: bookity-bookity, first used in the 1860s to suggest the sound of running hooves; to boogie, meaning "to dance" or "move quickly"; and bug out, a slang term from the 1950s, meaning "to leave in a hurry."


After studying the periodic table, Quiz Guy John Chaneski has concocted a brain teaser about names for the elements. For example, which elements are named for the sun and moon respectively?


Jenny from Portland, Oregon, is fascinated by the language of falconers. In falconry, the word bate means "to flap the wings impatiently." A similarly spelled verb, which has nothing to do with falconry, figures in the expression to wait with bated breath, meaning "to hold one's breath in watchful anticipation." This bate is a shortened form of the verb abate, meaning "to put an end to." Both the bate from falconry and the bate in bated breath share a common ancestor in the Latin word battuere, which means "to beat" or "to knock." Another word that does come from falconry is the verb to bat as in to bat one's eyes. It's formed from the bate that refers to flapping.


Tim and Allison Moyer of Ingram, Texas, care for lots of feral cats in their neighborhood, and refer to them by various names. Often they eventually shorten those names to just initial letters. For example, Calico Kitty becomes simply CK. Is there a word for such shortenings besides initialism? The Moyers like to call them acronames.


The word filibuster has a colorful etymology. It goes back to a Dutch word, vrijbuiter, which means "plunderer," or "robber," the source also of the English word freebooter, or "pirate," and a linguistic relative of English booty, or "spoils." In Spanish, the Dutch term morphed into filibustero, and this term was later Anglicized as filibuster. Eventually, filibuster came to apply to the practice of Congressional representatives "hijacking legislation" with lengthy speeches.


Maggie in Spring Valley, New York, recalls her father's advice: Don't go visiting with one arm longer than the other. In other words, don't arrive as a guest without some small gift for your hosts. The original expression appears to come from Ireland, where it appeared in the 1850s as Don't go visiting with one arm as long as the other. A similar idea is expressed in the admonition Ring the door with your elbow.


On our Facebook group, listeners are playfully crowdsourcing what people in different professions might punningly  plant. For example, what kind of fruit tree might twins cultivate? What type of flower might be planted by a professional mime?


A New York Times article about that trendy accessory, the brooch, prompts a question: How do you pronounce brooch? Does it rhyme with pooch or coach? It's more commonly pronounced to rhyme with coach, although some dictionaries do countenance the other pronunciation as well.
Broach goes back to a Latin word that means "long needle," and arrived in an Old French word for "needle," broche. That's also where we get the notion of broaching a subject, from the idea of piercing or penetrating something with a sharp instrument. Is there a word you have to keep looking up again and again because you can't remember how it's pronounced? How about the word askance?


The language of guided meditation prompts a call from Laura Davidson of San Jose, California, Is there a special reason those leading a guided meditation or yoga class so often speak in present participles, using phrases like sitting comfortably and breathing deeply, rather than using simple imperatives such as Sit comfortably and Breathe deeply? This kind of discourse, known as the politeness progressive, has the effect of inviting listeners to an experience and allowing each individual lots of leeway to find what actions, positions, and states of mind work best and feel most comfortable for them.


On our Facebook group, members are jokingly linking professions with plants in the garden: What kind of herb might a clockmaker grow?


Erin in Austin, Texas, wants to know: Why do we say two people in contentious disagreement are at loggerheads?


Jase in Austin, Texas, knows that hickey means a "love bite" or "mark left on the skin," and doo-hickey refers to a small object that the speaker can't recall the name of, but why would anyone refer to a hickey in the power grid during a power outage across his state. It turns out that hickey used in that last sense is particular to journalist Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune. In printer's slang, a hickey is a blemish of some sort.


This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.