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Playlist: Genevieve's Favorites

Compiled By: Genevieve Sponsler


Hi, I'm Genevieve. I've worked at PRX since 2007 and I listen to A LOT of pieces. These are some of my favorite pieces from over the years. Random and good.

There were ghosts everywhere: AIDS in Provincetown

From Sarah Yahm | 12:13

Residents of Provincetown, a small fishing village and world reknowned gay vacation destination, remember the devastating affects of AIDS

Provincetowneastend_small From Memorial Day to Labor Day Provincetown Massachusetts is one of the world's largest and most well known gay vacation meccas.  This small fishing village is festooned with pride flags, drag queens, and gay couples of all ages holding hands and ice cream cones.  But in the late 80's and 90's, while the party continued, 10 percent of Provincetown's year round population was dying of AIDS. And most of the remaining 90 percent were tending to them. This piece is about what it was like to live and die in this small town in the midst of this epidemic and the surreal mix of celebration and devastation.  

Two Little Girls Explain The Worst Haircut Ever

From Jeff Cohen | 02:57

My five year old cut off my three year old's hair. A few weeks later, I decided to interview them and get their explanations. Here's what they told me.

Imag0242a_small Happy to say that this little radio story has taken another life. In the summer of 2014, it will be a children's book released by HarperCollins Children's Books. Take a look!

The Kindness of Strangers

From Kirsty McQuire | 06:15

One woman's philanthropic mission comes full circle.

Kindness_4th-sept-2011_small During the leap year of 2012, Bernadette Russell embarked on a mission to complete 366 Days of Kindness. Her efforts were prompted by the riots that spread through her adopted home town of London and across English towns and cities, between 6th and 10th August 2011.

Bernadette has left sweets in phone boxes, books on trains, £5 notes on buses. She has given away balloons, cakes, flowers and lottery tickets, written letters to a soldier returned from Afghanistan and offered her socks to the homeless. She practiced ‘targeted’ rather than ‘random’ acts of kindness but she says she ‘expected nothing in return.’

Bernadette is now turning her 366 philanthropic experiences into a stage play, in collaboration with Jacksons Lane Theatre in London and with support from Birmingham Rep and Forkbeard Fantasy.

Everybody SCREAM!!!

From The Truth | 10:32

Spin class gets personal.

Disco_ball_purple_small On this episode of The Truth, we're going to spin class. Warm up that saddle and pick up the pace, as we go inside the imaginations of two very competitive women.

Chet Siegel as Sam
Emily Tarver as Lisa
Ed Herbstman as Kirk
Produced by Jonathan Mitchell
written collaboratively by The Truth, from a story by Chet Siegel

Special thanks: Peter Clowney, Kerrie Hillman, Madeline Sparer and Chris Bannon. Recorded at WNYC and on location in New York City

The Vietnam Tapes of Michael A. Baronowski

From Jay Allison | 19:17

Award-winning documentary from Lost & Found Sound, produced by Christina Egloff with Jay Allison

Mikeprx_small In 1966, a young marine took a reel-to reel tape recorder with him into the Vietnam War. For two months, until he was killed in action, Michael Baronowski made tapes of his friends, of life in fighting holes, of combat. 34 years later, his comrade Tim Duffie brought Baronowski's three-inch reels to Lost & Found Sound. The Vietnam Tapes of Lance Corporal Michael A. Baronowski aired on NPR's All Things Considered on the 25th anniversary of America's withdrawal from the Vietnam. The documentary shed light on the experience of that war, and, in some measure, of all wars. It used the power of radio to reveal the heart through the voice and to see in the dark. It combined the rare talent of the late Baronowski as a "correspondent" from the front, the compassion of his dedicated platoon mate Duffie. This program struck a universal chord with listeners--with those who fought the war, those who protested it, and those who weren't even born at the time. It generated perhaps the greatest outpouring of response in the history of NPR's All Things Considered to date. The documentary won the first Gold Award in the Third Coast Audio Festival competition. Produced by Christina Egloff with Jay Allison.

I Don't Know

From Andy Mills | 04:11

A child's Christmas thoughts spring into song.

I Don't Know
Andy Mills

Winterformusic_small This piece was produced by Andy Mills in collaboration with the musicians Matt and Jacob Boll, Corey and Cobey Bienert and Enoch Kim.

We were looking for new ways to play with sound and story.

The album that we released can be downloaded for free here:


99% Invisible #43- The Accidental Music of Imperfect Escalators (Standard 4:30 Version)

From Roman Mars | Part of the 99% Invisible (Standard Length) series | 04:30

Sometimes it's an object's imperfections that makes you fall in love with it. And sometimes that object is an escalator.


[For Director's Cut version, go to: http://www.prx.org/pieces/89156-99-invisible-43-the-accidental-music-of-imperfe]

Ever since the industrial revolution, when it became possible for products to be designed just once and then mass produced, it has been the slight imperfections and wear introduced by human use that has transformed a quality mass produced product into a thing we love. Your worn blue jeans, your grandmothers iron skillet, the initial design determined their quality, but it’s their imperfections that make them comfortable, that make them lovable, that make them yours.

And if you think that a “slightly broken” escalator can’t be lovable, then our own Sam Greenspan would like to introduce you to Chris Richards. Chris Richards is a music critic for the Washington Post, and after years of ignoring the wailing and screeching of the much maligned, often broken escalators in the DC Metro, he began to hear them in a new way. He began to hear them as music.


  • This story was adapted from one Sam Greenspan produced for his podcast, Whisper Cities, which tells stories of overlooked places and the people who find them.
  • The designer of the first DC Metro stations was Harry Weese. Weese’s “Jailhouse Skyscraper” in downtown Chicago was profiled in 99% Invisible #26 by Dan Weissmann. The Metro ceilings may be brutalism at its best.

  • If you don’t get the “Culs-de-sac” joke, listen to this episode.
  • Radio producers Alex Van Oss and Charles Maynes also created their own Ballad of the DC Metro forPodstantsiya, a Moscow-based podcast and audio collective. (The site in in Russian, but the radio feature is in English.)

Kasper Hauser: Phone Call to the 14th Century

From Jesse Thorn | Part of the Comedy From Kasper Hauser series | 04:58

Comedy Sketch from Kasper Hauser

Kasperhauser_small You all know the rules of the game: you get one phone call to impart as much knowledge as you can to the people of the 14th Century. The one who imparts the most walks away with the BIG one. Ready... phone call.... BEGIN!

What Brought the House Down

From Brendan Greeley | 02:38

Every line in the 2004 State of the Union address that received more than twenty seconds of applause

200401207d0120043250h_small It's hard not to sound partisan when doing something like this; I timed the applause that followed every line in Bush's State of the Union address and present here only those lines that really got Congress on its feet. I tracked in my own voice reading out the length in seconds of each round of applause. I'm not sure how this reflects on the speech; to be fair, all politicians rely on stock phrases to make people clap; a lot of these could have been said by any President in the last twenty years. Still...

Denny Doherty of the Mama's & Papa's interview on FM Odyssey

From FM Odyssey | 01:57:43

Music and interview. Denny brings his humor and stories to FM Odyssey and sets the record straight on the real story of the Mama's Papa's with live performances in the studio by Denny and Robin and Eddy

Denny3_small It?s easy to say, in retrospect, that the interview I did with Denny Doherty from the Mama?s & Papa?s, was one of the very best interviews I?ve ever done in my 16 year career as the host of FM Odyssey, but it was! It was a serendipitous moment. It was March of 2003 and Denny came to visit me at the FM Odyssey studios for a 20 minute interview as he was on his way to a recording session in Orlando, FL. While the tape was rolling, Denny received a phone call telling him his recording session was canceled; he looked at me and said, ?I have no place to go? and I said, ?I have so much more to ask about?. And the FM Odyssey retrospective of the Mama?s & Papa?s became history. Without a net, for two hours, the tape never stopped rolling and neither did we! As you listen, keep in mind there were no post production edits. What you?ll hear in this interview is everything, just the way it happened.The connection we had with each other spills out in this show. He was funny and witty and I guarantee you won?t stop laughing for days after you hear this. The real facts about the history of the Mama?s and Papa?s have never been told like this before. Thank you, Denny, for sharing a brief sliver of your life with me.

Shades of Gray

From Jonathan Mitchell | 58:27

an hour-long audio mosaic about abortion in America

2_small Pro-choice. Pro-life. Most people have already chosen sides in the ongoing debate, so why revisit the issue? Shades of Gray shares a range of stories told by people young and old who have been directly affected by abortion, instead of the polemics of irreconcilable extremes. It's a carefully crafted audio mosaic and a stark portrayal of the intensely personal nature of our relationship with abortion. Originally distributed nationally by PRI in January, 2003 Winner of the 2004 Golden Reel for National Documentary.

PRX homepage image from Shutterstock

Eliot Spitzer and Witch Burning

From The humble Farmer | 01:14

Is our generation just as irrational as the one that burned witches?

Hitlerwascrazy003_small Nowadays, a man who cheats on his wife is not considered capable of governing. But a man who consistently lies to his constituents while killing 100,000 women and children will discover that people stand and applaud when he enters a room.

The War Card

From Center for Public Integrity | 06:38

An investigative report about 935 false statements made by top Bush Administration officials.

Bushhead_small President Bush and seven of his top officials made at least 935 false statements in the two years following 9/11 about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, an exhausted examination by the Fund for Independence in Journalism and the Center for Public Integrity shows. This orchestrated campaign was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war. This report covers the main findings of this investigation into the Bush administration's false statements. It includes comments from Lee Hamilton, co-chair of the 9/11 commission, explanations from Charles Lewis, the founder of CPI, who initiated this investigation, and excerpts of speeches in which President Bush made false statements about Iraq, Al Qaeda, and weapons of mass destruction. Additional audio of Rep. Robert Wexler, D-FL, questioning Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica about the Center's report.


From Jenna Hammerich | 12:26

When you're raised by hippies, anything goes.

Jenna Hammerich

Vectorflowers_small A child of 70s flower children, I grew up with no rules, no discipline. What awful kind of adult would I be?

Cat Bath

From Dmae Lo Roberts | 03:23

Ever try to give your cat a bath?

Cat Bath
Dmae Lo Roberts

769_small Dmae records a friend giving two cats a bath during flea season some years ago. When it aired on NPR in the late 80s, cats across America cried out in sympathy....all set to the tune of "Talk to the Animals" from Dr. Doolittle. This piece is a how "not" to instruction on the unpopular art of bathing cats. No animals were harmed in the making of this piece. But it is still cringe-worthy....

Four Seconds: Suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge

From Jake Warga | 13:38

Search for meaning of a friends suicide.

Ggbridgesmall_small A portrait of a friend, and a personal struggle for meaning. Opens: "It takes four seconds after jumping off the Golden Gate bridge to hit the ocean 220 feet below. Four long seconds. Last October my friend Phil was riding his bicycle over the bridge. Around mid-span, he stopped, took off his helmet?and jumped to his death. One-one thousand. Two-one thousand. Three-one thousand. Four-one thousand... 8min version aired 11/28/05 "AllThingsConsidered" This is the 12min version--all things considered (13:10 with out music). 8min available, but not encouraged. Brother of Phil: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1061

Eat Cake

From The Truth | 10:35

Can coconut cake + random phone calls = love? Find out, when these two Valentine's Day traditions collide.

Eat Cake
The Truth

Valentines2_small Elizabeth and Brian are strangers. It's Valentine's Day. They're lonely, as usual. But things will be different this year, when one random call from the phone book and a slice of coconut cake collide. This fictional romantic comedy was originally produced for Weekend America's final broadcast in January 2009.

Original music composed and performed by the producer specifically for this piece.

A Lesson In Social Confusion (Or How I Essentially Became Street Kabuki Performer Entirely By Accident)

From Ryan Scammell | 03:32

A humorous look at awkward social interactions

2134277457_7a560134da_small Seriously. It's 3 and a half minutes. With a title like that, do I really have to give you a synopsis?

I Thought You Were Dead

From The humble Farmer | 02:01

Old people are surprised when they meet a classmate who is still alive

Humbleoats_small Young people can't believe that anyone who was working in 1955 could still be alive.

The Guardian of the Murder House

From Michael Paul Mason | 22:29

A riveting and haunting journey into one of America's most sensational murder mysteries.

P1170373_small The small town of Villisca, Iowa isn't the setting you would expect for one of America's most sensational murder mysteries, but listeners are immediately swept into this century-old story as they tour the town with Darwin Linn, owner of the Villisca Axe Murder House. Not only is the house the site of the grisly murders, but it's also ranked as one of the 50 most paranormal homes in America--and yes, a paranormal moment is caught on tape.

On June 10, 1912, an entire family and their two overnight guests were brutally murdered with an axe, and the crime was never solved. In this suspenseful narrative, we encounter Darwin in a sleepy storefront, and then take a ride with him through the town. We visit the homes of various suspects, including a traveling minister and an Iowa State Senator. As we approach the scene of the murders, we're pulled a hundred years back in time.

Inside the Villisca Axe Murder House, we retrace the tragic killings and its bizarre aftermath. At the same time, we develop an odd fascination with our guide, who confesses that owning the place has changed his world view. Finally, we're brought face-to-face with an eerie, supernatural moment that occurs inside the house, during the interview itself.

The Guardian of the Murder House is an unforgettable retelling of a terrible Midwestern crime, but it also acts as profile of a man whose life is intimately affected by his ownership of the home.

The Jingle Cats

From Julie Bruins | 20:33

There's a Christmas Album for everyone. Even your pets.

Images_small Since 1992, Los Angeles musician Mike Spalla has been re-creating Christmas classics using his cats and dogs. Whether or not you think it's tasteful, the Jingle Cats certainly have their fans, as a spate YouTube videos and related paraphanalgia show. Explore the Jingle Cats phenomenon, how it got started and just how these quirky carols are created, and enjoya track from the recent Jingle Cats release, Puppy Holidays.

My Lobotomy

From Sound Portraits | 28:33

One man's quest to uncover the hidden story behind the lobotomy he received as a 12-year-old child.

Howardduring_small On January 17, 1946 a psychiatrist named Walter Freeman launched a radical new era in the treatment of mental illness in this country. On that day he performed the first-ever transorbital -- or "ice pick" -- lobotomy in his Washington, D.C. office. Freeman believed that mental illness was related to overactive emotions, and that by cutting the brain he cut away these feelings.  

Freeman was equal part physician and showman and became a barnstorming crusader for the procedure. Before his death in 1972, he performed ice pick lobotomies on no less than 2,500 patients in 23 states.

One of Freemen's youngest patients is a 56-year-old bus driver living in California. Over two years he has embarked on a quest to discover the story behind the procedure he received as a 12-year-old.

God is Talking to Me

From Hans Anderson | 09:24

When God talks to me, sometimes it means I have to do things I don't want to do

Default-piece-image-1 This piece was produced in response to a call for fiction for B-side Radio in Berkeley.  Learn more about B-side at http://www.bside-radio.org. For more information and conversation, visit this feature on Transom.org.

I Didn't Know That: An Audio Collage

From Tom Tenney | 02:55

"I Didn't Know That" is a sonic exploration of propaganda and state-controlled "truths," created almost entirely from found clips appropriated from public domain educational and US military-training films. Any use of copyrighted material constitutes a fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

Transmitlies_small A three-minute sonic collage created almost entirely from appropriated materials, mostly soundtracks from military training and educational films, for the Third Coast Festival Short Docs Challenge.  I’ve included a brief statement of intent below, but my suggestion is to listen to the piece before reading, if you choose to read it at all.

Statement of Intent:
The piece was actually inspired by a Brecht quote about “an inescapable profusion and confusion in the tower of Babel.” I thought that “I didn’t know that” would be a good starting point for an exploration of state-controlled “truths” with the title phrase representing the public’s naive willingness to accept what we now recognize as mistruth and propaganda. I wanted the tension between time periods to emphasize how relativistic these messages are, depending on when we hear them – hopefully the mixing of periods emphasized the relationship between contemporary and dated material.

I originally titled the piece ” I Didn’t Know That: A Triptych” because I tried to create three distinct sections. The first is the monologue of media controlled messages, the second is a dialogue between the messages. The third section actually begins with Brecht himself reading a poem in his native German entitled “To Those Who Follow in Our Wake”, which, in translation, begins:

Truly, I live in dark times!
An artless word is foolish. A smooth forehead
Points to insensitivity. He who laughs
Has not yet received
The terrible news.

Layered on top of this is the voice of McLuhan discussing his idea of “resonance” – nonlinear, nonlogical comprehension of sounds and images. These are the 2 voice of “authenticity” that are eventually buried by the familiar voices introduced in the first two parts, which are layered over them to create a cacophony that is (hopefully) a sum greater than its parts. Anyway, I removed the subtitle since it didn’t strictly fit within the Third Coast guidelines and I’m sort of glad I did, as I felt it opened the piece up to a greater breadth of interpretation. 

You Look Lonely

From Sage Tyrtle | Part of the True Stories series | 08:52

A true story. When my best friend broke up with me, I wished her dead. Then she had a brain hemorrhage.

Marta_small When I was 12 years old, I was the ugliest kid in school. I was the fattest kid in school. I was the kid that didn't even get a Valentine's Day card from the nice Christian kids. And so one day I'm standing in front of the classroom, waiting for class to start, and this girl walks up to me. She says, "You look lonely. I see you every day eating lunch by yourself in the library. I think you should come and eat lunch with me, and my friends."

So begins this true story of my very first best friend. When our friendship eventually exploded, I wished her dead every day for two weeks straight. And then she had a brain hemorrhage. Funny and sad, this real story will resonate with anyone who ever had to go through the perils of seventh grade. 

Postcard from Guatemala: No matter where you go...

From Jake Warga | 06:40

No matter where you go, the past goes with you

050825037_small No matter where you go, the past goes with you... In Florez, Guatemala, I come across my mother, even though she's been dead over 10yrs. Aired NPR: All Things Considered, May 6, 2008 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90231948 Jake Warga's mother died more than 10 years ago, but he found her on the streets of Guatemala and in a homeless German woman.

"Eat Your Eggs" Grandma and Alzheimer’s

From Jake Warga | 10:09

A portrait of Grandma and Alzheimer’s

Grandma01_small Interviewing my grandma over the years, I inadvertently documented her withdrawal from consciousness. Aired 10/06/05 NPR: All Things Considered at 7:30 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4948418

Heard: At Once - Portland Headligght

From Rob Rosenthal | 09:03

An audio composition featuring the foghorn of Portland Headlight.

Default-piece-image-2 The drone of a foghorn, a sound that is embedded in the sonic landscape of Maine. We experience the sound of a lighthouse foghorn as a monosyllabic tone played again? again?again? Our listening experience is informed, in part, by our location in relation to the horn and by the rhythm of the drone. What if we were able to break from these constraints and the foghorn was heard at once, from several locations? "Heard: At Once ? Portland Headlight" is the first in a series of audio compositions featuring "remixed" environmental field recordings. In this piece, the horn is heard and reheard simultaneously along with all of the sounds of the "biophony" surrounding the lighthouse: waves, channel buoys, airplanes, birds, and passing ships. The audio was Recorded May 28, 2002 at various points along the rocky shore of Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. This piece aired on WMPG-FM.

Tokyo "All Aboard" Melodies

From Andy Raskin | 03:12

Melodies heard on Tokyo train platforms.

Train_small Tokyo train platforms used to use a buzzer to tell people "all aboard." About ten years ago, Japan Railway began introducing more soothing synthesized melodies to do the job. Aired on NPR's All Things Considered 9/18/03.

Zelda Kaplan on Dancing and Living at 87

From Blank on Blank | Part of the Blank on Blank series | 05:09

87-year old Zelda Kaplan:"I am very interested in fashion. I like to look nice. I still love to dance. My friends are dead. ... So with whom should I go out? If I don’t go out with young people, who else is there?"



Zelda Kaplan was 87 when we met at a bar in Manhattan. It was around 6PM. But her day wasn't ending. Her night was just beginning. After we met for a drink she was off to a fashion show. Then dinner. And dancing at a hot nightclub after that. Its the legend of Zelda. She’ll make you smile. 


- The Date: Spring 2003 

- The Scene: Irish pub, New York City 

- The Source: Minidisc recorder 

- The Story: Profile originally ran in The L Magazine. 



Buck, Naked

From Andrew Norton | 04:45

Buck Dietz is a figure model. That means he has to stand naked and completely still for long sessions while artists sketch him. But for Buck, it's more than just standing there. He shares his surprising techniques that make his artform... sing.

Buck, Naked
Andrew Norton

Bucksml_small Buck Dietz is a figure model. That means he has to stand naked and completely still for long sessions while artists sketch him. But for Buck, it's more than just standing there. He shares his surprising techniques that make his artform... sing.

Fahrenheit 451: A Big Read Documentary

From National Endowment for the Arts | Part of the The Big Read series | 28:51

In this half-hour radio show, we'll explore Bradbury's terrifying vision of a future without books as we discuss his groundbreaking 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451.

Cover_far451_000_small A world without books. That's something writer Ray Bradbury has imagined and re-imagined for much of his 85 years. As one of the most influential science fiction writers in history, Bradbury's work, more than 500 short stories and 11 novels to date, has helped shape the last half century of American literature and popular culture. The program features Bradbury along with several cultural luminaries, including Orson Scott Card, John Crowley, Paquito D'Rivera, Hector Elizondo, Nat Hentoff, Ursula K. Le Guin, Azar Nafisi, Luis Alberto Urrea and Sam Weller.

99% Invisible #29- Cul-de-sac (Standard 4:30 Version)

From Roman Mars | Part of the 99% Invisible (Standard Length) series | 04:31

If the suburbs had a flag, it would probably have a cul-de-sac on it. But what would it stand for?

no audio file

Owning Guns

From WGBH Radio Boston | 05:56

Writer Jay Allison talks about the events in his life that cause him to rethink his relationship with guns.

586nickelr2_small Aired on ATC on 7-16-04 In this short "illustrated essay" for radio, writer/producer Jay Allison considers his history with guns and his attraction to them, as a man and as an American. In considering a handgun purchase, he touches on childhood memories, political correctness, responsibilities of fatherhood, myths of manliness, impotence against terrorism, the isolation of divorce, the complexity of patriotism, and Frank Sinatra. No liberal or conservative stand is taken in this piece. It is deliberately ambivalent.

Faisdodo's Stomach

From David Weinberg | Part of the Random Tape series | :41

I was sitting in bed reading one night when I heard the strangest sound...

Drool_necklace_cropped_small I was sitting in bed reading one night when I heard the strangest sound...

A Shortcut Through 2003

From Peter Bochan | Part of the Shortcuts series | 59:44

A look back at the year--2003

Fight_them_brave_iraqies_small With the recent execution of Saddam Hussein and the focus on the ongoing war in Iraq contributing to major changes in the balance of power in Congress and in the White House itself, I thought a look back at the beginning of the conflict and the capture of Saddam would be a good companion piece to "A Shortcut Through 2006". History repeating... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2003 was a year full of tension and turmoil as the forces of War & Peace seemed on collision course worldwide and certainly here at home. This retrospective was driven by the emotional climate of the time and inspired by the evolving situations at the United Nations and in the halls of Congress and continued through the patriotic march into Iraq. Featuring George W. Bush, Ossie Davis, Daniel Ellsberg, Michael Moore, Fred Rogers, The Weekend Players, Barbara Streisand, Adrian Brody, Arundhati Roy, Gore Vidal, Natasha Atlas, Harry Belafonte, DJ Krush, Colin Powell, The Dixie Chicks, Donald Rumsfeld, Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger,

President Obama's 2009 Inaugural Address

From PRX | 18:32

Sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, President Obama spoke of a difficult journey ahead that may take years to see through. Before one of the largest crowds ever assembled on the National Mall, Obama also touched on terrorism, hard work, and the struggle for civil rights.


I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.

Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking

America. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.

Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet.

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

This I Believe - Harry Truman

From This I Believe | Part of the Edward R. Murrow's This I Believe series | 04:22

Harry Truman speaks about democracy and faith.

479pxharrytruman_small Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953. Born and raised in Missouri, Truman was a farmer, businessman, World War I veteran and U. S. Senator. As President, his order to drop atomic bombs on Japan helped end World War II. TRANSCRIPT: I believe in a moral code based on the Ten Commandments found in the 20th chapter of Exodus, and in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, which is the Sermon on the Mount. I believe a man ought to live by those precepts, which, if followed, will enable a man to do right. I don?t know whether I have or not, but I have tried. I believe that the fundamental basis for a happy life with family and friends is to treat others as you would like to be treated, speak truthfully, act honorably and keep commitments to the letter. In public life I have always believed that right will prevail. It has been my policy to obtain the facts ? all the facts possible ? then to make the decision in the public interest and to carry it out. If the facts justify the decision at the time it is made, it will always be right. A public man should not worry constantly about the verdict of history or what future generations will say about him. He must live in the present; make his decisions for the right on the facts as he sees them and history will take care of itself. I believe a public man must know the history and background of his state and his nation to enable him to come more nearly to a proper decision in the public interest. In my opinion, a man in public life must think always of the public welfare. He must be careful not to mix his private and personal interests with his public actions. The ethics of a public man must be unimpeachable. He must learn to reject unwise or imprudent requests from friends and associates without losing their friendship or loyalty. I believe that our Bill of Rights must be implemented in fact; that it is the duty of every government ? state, local or federal ? to preserve the rights of the individual. I believe that a civil rights program, as we must practice it today, involves not so much the protection of the people against the government, but the protection of the people by the government. And for this reason we must make the federal government a friendly, vigilant defender of the rights and equalities of all Americans; and that every man should be free to live his life as he wishes. He should be limited only by his responsibility to his fellow man. I believe that we should remove the last barriers which stand between millions of our people and their birthright. There can be no justifiable reason for discrimination because of ancestry, or religion, or race, or color. I believe that to inspire the people of the world whose freedom is in jeopardy, and to restore hope to those who have already lost their civil liberties, we must correct the remaining imperfections in our own democracy. We know the way ? we only need the will.

2012: A Year In Your Ear - "Someone's Screaming Outside"

From Mad Genius | Part of the 2012: A Year In Your Ear series | 03:31

Here it is, the latest song in our "Year In Your Ear" series. We're calling it "Someone's Screaming Outside." Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, one gunshot and our attempt at telling their complex story using only sounds found on YouTube. Should clear up all remaining questions, right?


NEW!  Watch the "music video" (and we use that term loosely) at our series page or at YouTube under MadGeniusBlog.

While working on its debut album, the anonymous vérité pop collective Mad Genius decided to follow the real money with this foray into public broadcasting.

Keeping with what we do best, we're sampling the world's news and audio culture (both professional and amateur) in an effort to tell stories in a way that would make Ira either cry in pain or throw fits of furious envy. Maybe both, come to think of it. We're taking the talking heads and turning them into pop stars, making music with the media and nothing more. The goal is to create an hour-long musical time capsule by the end of the year. That is, of course, unless the apocalypse comes first.

Here's our latest episode. We're calling it "Someone's Screaming Outside." Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, one gunshot and our attempt at telling their complex story using only YouTube reaction to the situation. Should clear up all remaining questions, right?

As we write this, we're developing our next track. A little Columbian samba that takes on the Secret Service. Our question for you: Should we be scared? Will M.I.B.'s visit our studio at Mad Manor? Stay tuned...

The Whole Story: How Mr. Rogers Saved Public Media

From 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting | 03:30

Roman Mars of PRX Remix Radio, 99% Invisible, KALW, Snap Judgment, Third Coast and more explains how Mr. Rogers saved public media... the first time around.

Square_logo_medium_small Roman Mars of PRX Remix Radio, 99% Invisible, KALW, Snap Judgment, Third Coast and more explains how Mr. Rogers saved public media... the first time around.

Thinness and Salvation

From Sarah Yahm | 28:41

a piece about the symbolic meaning of fat in our culture

Default-piece-image-2 A fresh and different perspective on the obesity epidemic. Why are we so terrified of fat? what does it symbolize? How are we projecting other anxieties onto fat people and the fat body? In order to answer this question this piece follows Christian dieters, Northern California foodies, and fat activists.

The Seance

From KCRW | Part of the UnFictional series | 19:06

On a summer night in the early 1990s a small group of friends gather for a dinner party in Los Angeles. Just for fun, someone suggests having a séance with a homemade Ouija board.

By the end of the evening, perceptions of reality have been altered, relationships have been damaged, and the guests are forever changed.
Three people who were there tell the shocking, funny, and hauntingly tragic story of The Séance.

The Seance

Unfictional320x350_small On a summer night in the early 1990s a small group of friends gather for a dinner party in Los Angeles. Just for fun, someone suggests having a séance with a homemade Ouija board. By the end of the evening, perceptions of reality have been altered, relationships have been damaged, and the guests are forever changed. Three people who were there tell the shocking, funny, and hauntingly tragic story of The Séance.

#37 - Leaving A Mark

From HowSound | 20:45

You'll want to listen twice to Emily Hsiao's conversation with a man who wants his swastika tattoo removed.


Here's what I want to know: On the radio, why don't we hear more conversations with interesting people? Not newsmakers, not academics, not pundits, not authors.... interesting as they may be. I'm thinking of people telling stories about what journalist Walter Harrington calls "the momentous events of everyday life."

Emily Hsiao's radio story, "Leaving A Mark," is just that. On the face of it, the story is a simple conversation between Emily and Bruce Roderick. But, there is SO much more going on.  In fact, you should listen twice. 

As you listen, keep in mind, this is Emily's second story ever. Her first, and this one, were both produced at the Transom Story Workshop this fall. If we don't hear more stories from Emily -- and soon -- I will personally hunt her down, put a mic in her hand, and make her start interviewing strangers -- her interview with Bruce is THAT good.

Best, Rob

PS - The Transom Story Workshop is currently accepting applications for the Spring 2013 Workshop. Registration ends January fourth.

PPS - "Leaving A Mark" is not for the feint of heart, even after I beeped all the expletives.

Remembering Andrew

From WLRN | 58:31

20 years ago today (August 24th) Hurricane Andrew turned South Florida upside down. In this hour-long documentary, WLRN uses home videos, archival news footage, 911 calls, personal recollections and even a bureaucratic document from the British consul general in Miami to tell the story of Hurricane Andrew.

The documentary follows two main characters each changed by the storm in their own profound way: Jenny Del Campo, a typical teenager living in southern Dade County and Bryan Norcross, a TV weatherman.

Remembering Andrew

Remembering_andrew_small 20 years ago today (August 24th) Hurricane Andrew turned South Florida upside down. In this hour-long documentary, WLRN uses home videos, archival news footage, 911 calls, personal recollections and even a bureaucratic document from the British consul general in Miami to tell the story of Hurricane Andrew. The documentary follows two main characters each changed by the storm in their own profound way: Jenny Del Campo, a typical teenager living in southern Dade County and Bryan Norcross, a TV weatherman.


From Whitney Jones | 14:10

Whitney Jones tells his story of losing faith and finding new ways to connect with the world around him.

Whitney Jones

Screen_shot_2012-01-10_at_3 Whitney grew up Mormon. However, when the Mormon church decided to support Proposition 8 to stop same-sex marriage in California, Whitney walked away from the Mormon church. The comfort of knowing his place in the world and the feeling of belonging were gone. As Whitney looks for new ways to connect with the world around him, he ends up on Nantucket and stumbles upon the house of his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Silas Paddack.

Costuming for Mardi Gras

From Eve Abrams | 05:30

Costuming is a way of life during the Mardi Gras Season

Moniqueatmuses_small If you live in New Orleans, you have to know a thing or two about costuming. A handful of New Orleanians explain how it's done, what it means, and why it's so darn important.

Yellowstone Geysers

From Hearing Voices | Part of the Wandering Jew stories series | 04:50

The Park?s Geyser Guy takes us on a tour.

Bglcgeyser_small More than two million people each year visit Yellowstone; it's America's first and most famous national park. The main attraction are the geysers and hot springs. There are 120+ of these thermal features, Old Faithful being the most popular. For 26 years, Rick Hutchinson was known simply as 'the geyser guy' at Yellowstone. He was a geologist, a naturalist, and the world's foremost authority on geysers. He died in 1997, in an avalance while skiing t check some backcoutry geysers. In 1996 producer Barrett Golding went on a tour with Rick Hutchinson through Yellowstone's geyser basins.

Cat Show

From Aaron Henkin | 06:22

An audio tour through the Cat Fanciers' Association's Exotic Cat Show

Cat Show
Aaron Henkin

Catshow_small Remember Christopher Guest's "Best in Show" mocumentary about obsessed dog lovers? Well, this is the real thing --- but with cats. Welcome to an afternoon spent wandering the aisles of the Cat Fanciers' Association's Exotic Cat Show in Baltimore County. This story aired originally during a local arts & culture special on Your Public Radio, WYPR, in Baltimore.

Pizza Cat

From David Weinberg | Part of the Random Tape series | :33

I delivered a pizza one time...

Pizza Cat
David Weinberg

Pizza_cat_small ...

Generation Putin - Hour Special

From Seattle Globalist | Part of the Generation Putin series | 59:01

"Generation Putin" is an hourlong special on young people and politics in the former Soviet Union. Embeddable on SoundCloud, too.


It's been over 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Young people in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Georgia are facing unemployment, democratic pressure, and the legacy of repression, while being influenced by the West, punk music, and the Pussy Riot trials. PRX sent a reporting team from the Seattle Globalist to explore the tensions in these countries, described by The Atlantic as 'uneasily suspended' between two political eras.

Join host Brooke Gladstone for Generation Putin, an in-depth look at the millennial generation in the post-Soviet states. Embed, stream and share the special and segments on SoundCloud.

Holy Land Tour

From Jake Warga | 13:27

Never before aired! PRX exclusive!
A personal tour through the Holy Land, looking at how the conflict started and what it's like today between Jerusalem and Bethlehem...between birth and re-birth.

Also a slideshow:

Holy Land Tour
Jake Warga


A narrated audio-rich trip through the holy land exploring the modern state of Christmas.  Between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, between Easter and Christmas, there is a modern and yet ancient wall.  In my travels I explore the origins of the conflict, all the way back to Abraham:


"...The name “Isaac” means “He Laughs”  His laughter and blood becomes David’s...A lineage dripping with laughter, but blood is mixed with tears.  Ishmael, the name, means “He Weeps”  The brother of Isaac, the brother of Laughter, weeps to this day...

...In Jerusalem, religions compete to see which can get you up the earliest. Call to prayers from loud speakers in minarets try to beat the roosters. Then come wake-up bells from churches.  Not even an Atheist can over-sleep in the holy land. "



What Was Left Behind

From Eric Winick | 15:20

Arriving at her family's storage space in Syracuse, NY, a Brooklyn-based writer and mom is surprised to find the contents far more plentiful and significant than expected. And now, with her four year-old daughter in tow, she has to figure out how to deal with it.

Storage_space_small Story by Lisa Lerner, from the files of Yarn AudioWorks.

Lisa Lerner is the author of the novel Just Like Beauty. You can read her latest short story, Childhood, at www.swinkmag.com. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her daughter, a rabbit, and a bunch of stuff she probably doesn't need. 

DIRTY HARRY - When the American Dream Became a Nightmare

From Claes Andreasson | 59:59

The effects of the nuclear weapons tests in Nevada on people working at, and living downwind from the test site

Harry_small On September 23, it has been 16 years since the latest U.S. nuclear weapons test. Between 1951 and 1992, the United States detonated a total of 928 nuclear weapons tests at the Nevada Test Site. Starting in the early 1990s producer Claes Andreasson has interviewed people working at, and living nearby the test site. As well as scientists, legal scholars and test officials. "Dirty Harry-When the American Dream Became a Nightmare" is a look back, with added interviews done in 2006. "Dirty Harry" is hosted by Jon Beaupre. Support for the program comes from PRX's Reversioning Project. "Dirty Harry" was awarded 2006 Best Investigative Story by the Los Angeles Press Club. Judges' comment: John Beaupre and Claes Andreasson bring alive the devastating, long-lasting, and tragic effects of America's above-ground nuclear testing program in the Nevada desert of the 1950s and early 60s. Beaupre and Andreasson contrast the horrific experiences of survivors, both at the test sites and those downwind from the mushroom clouds, with the bogus official government assurances that the radioactive fallout was safe. It's a haunting story of cancer, death and the long search for justice in the wake of more than 900 above-ground nuclear detonations. It was an American embarrassment and an American tragedy. But Beaupre and Andreasson do it justice.

Be Whatever You Want

From Sara Brooke Curtis | 05:00

On a hot summer afternoon three ten year old kids push around a soccer ball style sorbet maker and concoct elaborate stories to make their mundane task more interesting. Immerse yourself in the playful, imaginative, and humorous logic of young friends.

Img_1211_small On a hot summer afternoon three ten year old kids push around a soccer ball style sorbet maker and concoct elaborate stories to make their mundane task more interesting. Immerse yourself in the playful, imaginative, and humorous logic of young friends.

"...Like Clockwork" Album Review

From Youth Spin - KOOP 91.7 FM | 05:54

Joey reviews "...Like Clockwork", the first album in six years by Queens of the Stone Age.

Like-clockwork-hd_small Joey Valdez reviews the new album "...Like Clockwork" by Queens of the Stone Age. He goes through the album song by song, and details his highlights on this work that has been six years in the making.


From Rendered | Part of the Destination DIY series | 07:31

Regretsy describes itself as ""where DIY meets WTF." The silliest, grossest and most overpriced items listed on the online store Etsy are featured on Regretsy.


Regretsy_pinkgoatcoat_small This feature originally appeared in the DIY Disasters episode of Destination DIY. The full episode is also available on PRX.

Producer is Julie Sabatier (suh-BAH-tee-ay)  

The Industrial Musicals Hour

From Jon Kalish | 58:40

A fictional weekly music show celebrating Industrial Musicals on a fictional public radio network

Default-piece-image-1 A celebration of one of the most astonishing yet obscure musical genres of the 20th Century. Industrial musicals were written for company sales meetings or annual conventions, with a golden age spanning the 1950s into the '80s. They were lavish productions that incorporated original music and lyrics, full orchestras and expensive staging, Most were never recorded, though sometimes a record was made and a few hundred copies were distributed as souvenirs. Steve Young, a writer for David Letterman, is the self-appointed archivist and obsessive collector of these recordings, and he's the host each week of a show that shares these recordings with an audience they were never intended for. This is a one-time special. It is not really a weekly show. The special includes an original comedy piece featuring the great Moe Moscowitz, a veteran of NPR's Morning Edition.


From John Biewen | 03:00

A (very) short story of love and anxiety. A child grows to age 13 in three minutes while a father muses on parental fears.

John Biewen

Harper-john-small_small This essay/montage was produced for the Third Coast Audio Festival's 2008 Audio Challenge, Radio Ephemera.  The challenge was to produce a piece of no more than three minutes based on any two of five books selected from the Prelinger Library of San Francisco -- and to include the voice of a stranger.  "Scared" is based on the books, "Control of Mind and Body," and "The Stork Didn't Bring You!: The Facts of Life for Teenagers."  The stranger is the voicemail lady.  

Dear Birth Mother

From Long Haul Productions | Part of the Becoming a Mom series | 28:58

After waiting for Mr. Right (who has yet to arrive) - and after years of fertility treatments - Suzanne, a single woman in her forties, decided to adopt. She chose transracial adoption.

Suz_loretta_small After waiting in vain for Mr. Right - and after years of fertility treatments - Suzanne, a single, white woman in her forties, decided to adopt. She chose transracial adoption. Long Haul Productions documented the entire process - beginning with workshops designed to "teach white people to raise kids of color," baby-shopping trips with Mom at Target, a critical rendezvous with a young mother at a pancake house, and, finally, a magical night at a suburban restaurant chain. Producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister followed Suzanne for several months as she waited to see if she would become a parent; she offered extraordinary access into her home, and really, into every aspect of her life. This piece debuted on May 9, 2005, on WBEZ (Chicago Public Radio), and subsequently aired May 10, 2005, on All Things Considered. "Dear Birth Mother" is a follow-up to "Babyquest," also available on PRX, which documents Suzanne's failed attempt to get pregnant via In Vitro fertilization.

Southern Flight 242: Bringing My Father Home

From Will Coley | 26:26

When I was seven years old, my father died in a commercial plane crash. It’s a fact I grew up knowing and something I never wanted to look into, until now.


When I was seven years old, my father died in a commercial plane crash. It’s a fact I grew up knowing and something I never wanted to look into, until now.

After I decided to make a radio story about the crash, I often wondered if it was the best choice as my first big project as a new radio producer. It took far longer than I ever expected, in part because it was so personal. But I realized that if I couldn’t answer tough personal questions, how could I expect others to do the same?

The initial kernel of the story idea came back in 1997 when I stumbled on an article in the New York Times about the 20th anniversary of the Southern Flight 242 accident (my family somehow missed being invited). And then in 2012, fifteen years later, I happened to be in Georgia for a conference that was 70 miles from the crash site. The key event in those intervening years was participating in the Transom Story Workshop. In Woods Hole, I learned much of what I needed to tell the story. I learned even more along the way.

Read more on Transo.org 

Why Is The Boston Accent Wicked Hard To Do?

From Eric Molinsky | 08:09

Even great actors get tripped up by the Boston accent. Or maybe Bostonians are just too quick to find fault.


Julianne Moore on “30 Rock.” Jeff Bridges in “Blown Away.” Laura Linney in “Mystic River.” Half the cast of “The Departed.” The litany of botched Boston accents is vast and cringe-worthy. For many very talented actors, the Boston accent is their Waterloo.

By this point, Hollywood studios have realized that if they want that authentic Charles River flavor, they need to cast local. That’s why the company Boston Casting recently held an open call. Hundreds of locals lined up to audition in a nondescript part of town full of row houses and warehouses. Some folks, like Cher Ornae had no film experience. Her friends made her go, joking that she has “a wicked Boston accent.”

But why do Bostonians talk this way? Stephen Gabis is a dialect coach who’s worked with many famous actors. “These are the accents that came over with the [Puritan] settlers, from East Anglia,” Gabis says. In the 19th and 20th centuries, this accent got reinforced by an influx of Irish immigrants. This combination resulted in the peculiar “r”-less dialect you hear today in coastal Massachusetts.

Still, dialect coaches like Gabis get annoyed when they’re told that the Boston accent is the only one an actor can’t learn. “All the Boston natives are like, you guys, you never do us right,” he says. “There’s really some good work on Boston accents. People that come from the place have this arrogant [idea that] no one can do our accent.”

The accents on the movie “Spotlight” have gotten good grades, even from the locals. Gabis was on set to give notes, mostly working with Michael Keaton, who played Boston Globe reporter Walter “Robbie” Robertson.

But Angela Peri of Boston Casting says there’s more to playing a Bostonian than tweaking vowels and dropping “r”s. “There’s something about our persona that a Bostonian has when they walk in room,” Peri says. “We’re real, we’re not New Yorkers, we’re not L.A. people, we’re real. That’s — as well as tax incentives — why producers from L.A. keep coming back here.”

Bostonians used to be wary of being reduced to a funny accent. Now they’re welcoming the attention of Hollywood, and the world, because they see that their accents can be valuable natural resources, like maple syrup — or lobstahs.

What's in a name?

From Deana Heitzman | 11:36

After 25 years, Deana Heitzman begins an investigative journey to learn what exactly happened a month before her birth, the evening her uncle, Dean, was murdered.

Heitzman_port_final_index_photo_small Having a namesake after someone who was murdered is a hard burden to carry, it’s even harder when the real story of who you were named after has always been a secret. I have always been told I was a miracle child, which then transformed into being groomed into the perfect daughter, niece, and granddaughter from my loved ones. Now that the pressure is off years later, I am finally asking the hard questions I always avoided… who was William Dean Nickell and why was I named after my uncle who was murdered by his wife?