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Playlist: News Station Picks for March

Compiled By: PRX Curators

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/40732566596@N01/109538354/">Sean Malone</a>
Image by: Sean Malone 
Curated Playlist
Here are the March picks for news stations from PRX News Format Curator Julianne Welby of the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI).

Julianne Welby's 18 years in public radio include reporting and producing stints in Salisbury, MD, Washington, DC, and New York City, where she was WFUV's News Director for 8 years. She's now an editor in WNYC's newsroom. Julianne also teaches radio at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and she works with Public Radio News Directors on its training initiatives.

What Julianne listens for in a piece:

"Surprise me. Teach me something new. Or debunk what I thought I knew a lot about.

"Lets sources speak for themselves. Strike a nice balance between the elements — narration, sources and sound. Always cut to the chase.

"I appreciate a well-crafted script but crave spontaneity. Whether it's extemporaneous dialogue or a magnum opus, I want to feel like you're talking directly to me.

"Keep me in the moment with your characters and your story with nice, clean edits and mixes."

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Here are the March picks for news stations from PRX News Format Curator Julianne Welby of the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI).

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Center Stage

From War News Radio | 29:00

I'm happy to give yet another endorsement for an honorable journalistic effort from Swarthmore College students. As Iraq and Afghanistan fall below the economy in the news hierarchy, it's more important than ever to hear these unbiased, weekly updates on the wars in the Middle East.

Wnr090220-swatvalley_small This week on War News Radio, we profile an independent theater production that examines the ways the national media shapes conversations between individuals.

Then, we find out more about the deal between the Pakistani government and militants in the Swat Valley, and what it might mean for Afghanistan.

Finally, we hear from an Iraqi refugee who made it to the UK - but now regrets leaving home.

These stories, plus the week's news this week from War News Radio.


From John Biewen | 03:00

This is radio with an ongoing element of surprise. Listen to it without reading a description for best effect, and hear how veteran producer John Biewen works on several levels in a brief three minutes, perhaps inspired by the late audio innovator Tony Schwartz.

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.  

Martin Atkins: the dude knows.

From Katie Ball | 18:49

Katie Ball asks informed, fresh questions in this interview with the author and former Public Image Ltd. drummer. I want to hear more from the first answer: "We did nothing right." The interviewer is comfortable and the guest is game to talk through band life.

The piece is well-produced — we hear a few appropriately placed music interludes but the focus remains on the conversation. And the host gives us several reminder IDs so we know who we're listening to. At 19 minutes, it's a tough length to program, but would go nicely with other author or music interviews that you're trying to get off the shelf.


Picture an irreverent big brother who's been there - done that, and surprisingly lived to tell the tales. Drummer Martin Atkins (Public Image Ltd., Ministry, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails and more) knows the music business. Seriously, he KNOWS it. In addition to being an artist in his own right he also owns the Invisible record label, teaches various marketing courses at Columbia College in Chicago and has written the bible for touring bands, Tour Smart (And Break the Band). But if you're picturing stale data analysis and tired, overused marketing mantras, think again; Atkins is funny, snarky and straight-up about the pros and cons of becoming a “professional” musician.

In this piece Martin Atkins and Katie Ball discuss topics ranging from the messy (and funny) lessons learned in some of his past bands and also what musicians are doing to sabotage their careers, and why.