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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.


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.


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:

Deviled Eggs (#1554)

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

Awww_logo_color_square Nancy from Ithaca, New York, says her daughter read widely at a very young age, which meant she encountered the terms son of a gun and record long before she knew how to pronounce them correctly, which made for some amusing stories.

Megan in Denver, Colorado, wonders about an exclamation she's used all her life, which she suspects is spelled criminiddly. It's another variant of that mild oath criminently, also rendered as criminetly, criminitlies, crimenightie, criminy, crime in Italy, and several other versions, which substitute for exclaiming Christ! or Christ Almighty!

Ross in Hawaii leads to a discussion of the correct pronunciation for Aegis, a naval combat system. Is it EE-jiss or AY-jiss? In Greek myth, aegis referred to a protective shield, and today, to be under the aegis means to be "under the protection or control" of something.

The intensifier pure-d or puredee is a euphemism for pure damned or pure damn. It's also sometimes rendered as pure-t, and is heard mostly in the Southern United States and South Midlands. 

Quiz Guy John Chaneski offers a trivia game about domain names. For example, if you type space.com into your search bar, you'll find news about astronomy. But what turns up when you type in time.com?

Emilia from Chicago, Illinois, says a co-worker used the phrase get the Motts to describe the feeling of second-hand embarrassment she feels for someone when watching a cringeworthy performance. The phrase I got the Motts became a catchphrase in the early 1980s thanks to a commercial for Motts applesauce. German has a word for that "uncomfortable feeling of shame or embarrassment for someone else": Fremdscham.

What do you call that room in your house where the family gathers -- the family room? The den? The TV room? Names for that living space go in and out of fashion. In the 1930s, you might have called it the sitting room, parlor, living room, setting room, or front room. A great resource on this is the book Lexical Change and Variation in the Southeastern United States, 1930-1990 by Ellen Johnson.

In their article titled "My Mother, Whenever She passed Away, She Had Pneumonia: The History and Functions of whenever," Michael Montgomery and John Kirk describe this use of the "punctual" whenever, a vestige of Scots-Irish usage heard in much of the Southern United States, Appalachia, and the Midwest.

In an essay in LitHub, Kate Angus urges writers to be kind to themselves when they have a creative block. Sometimes you can get past it simply by letting yourself not write at all, with the hope that lying fallow for a while may be just what you need to replenish and revive your imagination.

The catchphrase Good stuff, Maynard! Comes from a series of TV commercials for Malt-O-Meal hot cereal that aired during the early 1980s and featured a little boy and his imaginary friend Maynard. Some folks still use it today to enthuse about tasty food or suggest that something has positive qualities.

The Icelandic word for "echo," bergmal, literally means "rock language" or "language of the mountain."

Gail from Minden, Nevada, ponders the difference between pixelated, which describes images composed of tiny pixels, and pixilated, which is pronounced the same, but describes someone who is drunk or confused. The latter comes from the notion of being pixie- led -- that is, "enticed into trouble by mischievous imaginary creatures." In contrast, pixelated comes from the much more recent word pixel, short for picture elements.

Deviled eggs -- hard-boiled eggs seasoned with a variety of ingredients, such as chopped pickles or pepper -- are sometimes called dressed eggs, particularly in the Southern United States.

This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.