Comments by John Voci

Comment for "Humankind: Meeting Hate With Love -- Stories of King and Gandhi"

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Review of Humankind: Meeting Hate With Love -- Stories of King and Gandhi

From the weekly series ?Humankind,? ?Meeting Hate with Love?Stories of King and Gandhi? is a two-part exploration on two of the leading practitioners of non-violence, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. Although their stories are well known, David Freudberg provides a unique perspective with interviews with individuals that knew both men and audio clips from their eras. The program focuses on both men?s non-violent philosophies and is a powerful testament to King and Gandhi?s philosophy. Always well produced with high technical standards, ?Humankind? remains one of the distinct programs on public radio. For years, David Freudberg has been a unique and positive voice in a media world characterized by negativity. ?Meeting Hate with Love? could air at anytime but would be particularly appropriate around MLK Day.

Comment for "Sound" (deleted)

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Review of Sound (deleted)

Natural Selections is a weekly module that examines topics from the natural world in a casual conversational manner. This episode examines hearing and explores if we hear things in the same way, an interesting topic. The piece could benefit from tighter editing and I found that ambience that runs through the piece distracting and not applicable to the topic being discussed.

Comment for "Land of Opportunity" (deleted)

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Review of Land of Opportunity (deleted)

This first-person account, with a Sudanese refugee, is an interesting story of immigration in a post 9/11 America. Although his story is interesting and moving, there is no context or narration within the piece, which limits its possible use.

Comment for "Nanotech Nervousness"

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Review of Nanotech Nervousness

A perfect piece for a news magazine and a good introduction to the world of nanotechnology, this piece explores the world of tiny particles that scientists are beginning to use in a variety of applications including food. This piece is well narrated and includes good clips with experts in the field.

Comment for "Learning to Sing"

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Review of Learning to Sing

This piece is a reminder of how valuable music and music education can be in the development of children. In an era when the school budgets for the arts are being cut, the Children?s Chorus of Maryland demonstrates what children and dedicated teachers can do. The piece is very well produced, sound rich and includes charming clips with the children of the chorus. The piece is perfect for a magazine program or for inclusion in a larger exploration on the topic and education and the arts.

Comment for "The Slow Food Movement"

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Review of The Slow Food Movement

The piece is a brief introduction to a large and fascinating topic that touches on agriculture, food distribution and cooking. Since the piece intends to explain the Slow Food Movement, we want to know what are the principals behind this new approach but we?re left with several clips about farmer?s markets and ?the re-organization of food experience.? A longer more detailed description of the movement would have served the topic better as Slow Food felt like an appetizer.

Comment for "Father's Favorite Shortcut"

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Review of Father's Favorite Shortcut

Father?s Favorite Shortcut is a collection of unrelated clips of recordings on the theme of Dad. Although it lacks a central story or narration, the piece is technically well produced and it?s kind of fun to try to identify the individual clips.

Comment for "HEAT -- A Long Sweet Visit"

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Review of HEAT -- A Long Sweet Visit

I should disclose that I was there when Heat was first produced and it?s nice to have it back because it was ahead of it?s time back in the old days of 1990?it seems longer than that but that may just be my memory. Arguably, Heat was perhaps some of Hockenberry?s finest work in a notable career in public radio. This is a relaxed show featuring a casual interview with and performance by Mose Allison and a few songs from his country-singing daughter Amy.

With public radio searching for new ideas for evening programming perhaps it?s time to go back seventeen years for what was and remains a great idea.

Comment for "Disabled Vet"

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Review of Disabled Vet

Unfortunately, I fear that David Frame?s story is all too common yet one that we generally don?t hear much about. Frame speaks of his injuries, concerns for his family, his experience in Iraq yet is reticent to tell about the real horrors that he witnessed. The piece is a good mix of interview clips and narration and would fit within any news magazine--it is a story that should be more broadly told.

Comment for "Don't We All Deserve (and Need) a Sabbatical?"

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Review of Don't We All Deserve (and Need) a Sabbatical?

It?s interesting to consider the possibilities of a sabbatical; what would you do, how would you do it? Bonnie Michaels shares her personal and professional experience on sabbaticals and offers some interesting insights and thoughts. Although there?s some good information, the piece feels long and, because of the telephone sound, is sonically fatiguing.

Comment for "Singing Legend Keely Smith"

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Review of Singing Legend Keely Smith

Keely Smith is a marvelous jazz-pop singer best known for her year?s with the legendary Louis Prima. In this interview, Keely reflects on her career with both Prima and as soloist. For anyone interested in both Smith and Prima, this is a fascinating recollection of two unique voices during an interesting musical period. The interviewer does a good job of covering Smith?s career and the piece includes several musical excerpts of Smith as a soloist and with Prima. The length of the interview and the production style may limit how some stations could use the piece which is unfortunate since Smith story is an interesting one and Prima remains one of the distinctive voices in the world of jazz and pop music.

Comment for "An Interview with Lou Reed: Metal Machine Meditations"

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Review of An Interview with Lou Reed: Metal Machine Meditations

Producers Kimberly Haas and John Diliberto provide a sound-rich portrait of a unique side of Lou Reed?his meditation music. Best known as a rocker and founder of the Velvet Underground, Reed has explored ?ambient music? throughout his career. ?Metal Machine Meditations? primarily focuses on his most recent recording "Hudson River Wind Meditations," a series of compositions inspired by Reed?s practice of t?ai chi. This piece is very well produced and includes numerous interview clips and musical segments. The piece would be appropriate during a contemporary music program or as an arts feature in a magazine show.

Comment for "Big Perks for Tiny Houses?"

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Review of Big Perks for Tiny Houses?

This is a charming feature on very small houses--teeny, tiny houses. In an era of McMansions, some folks are choosing to live in houses of 300 square feet or less. We hear from a builder and two residents of small houses and it kind of makes you want to downsize. This amusing piece is about both lifestyle and the environment.

Comment for "Ripple Rock meets its doom"

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Review of Ripple Rock meets its doom

This is an interesting feature on British Columbia?s Seymour Narrows, one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world because of the currents created by Ripple Rock. This feature includes some audio from a classic 1958 documentary on the blasting of Ripple Rock. This is a well-produced historical feature.

Comment for "To Catch the Past: La Machine"

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Review of To Catch the Past

La Machine is a French roots music band that is re-inventing traditional music in an interesting manner. This well produced feature combines narration and interview clips with plenty of music of bagpipes and hurdy gurdy. The producer provides both an intro and an outro that will enable the piece to used either within a feature based magazine program or incorporated into a music show.

Comment for "In the Tractor Seat: Women Farmers Take the Steering Wheel"

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Review of In the Tractor Seat: Women Farmers Take the Steering Wheel

"In the Tractor Seat" is part of the independent series, ?A World of Possibilities? whose objective is to bring new voices and views to the air. This piece is primarily in four segments each featuring an interview with a woman farmer. The interviewer has a relaxed interview style and a pleasant voice. The show could benefit from some tighter editing in order to eliminate some redundancy. Personally, I also feel that the interviewer could challenge the interviewee?s statements, which, in some cases, were more opinion than fact. In general, the program covers an interesting topic, raises some surprising statistics about the number of female farmers and challenges perceptions about woman farmers and the ?farmer?s wife.?

Comment for "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Behind the Curtain" (deleted)

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Review of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Behind the Curtain (deleted)

Behind the Curtain is an interesting factual exploration of OCD including one family?s story of dealing with the illness. Although the family?s account is quite moving and the medical facts are illuminating, the structure of the piece could be more compelling through editing and re-organization of the material. Personally, I?d have preferred to introduce the family at the outset of the piece rather than opening with approximately four minutes of medical information which, although valuable and does provides context to the story, detracts from immediately engaging the listener in the piece. The producer does a good job of balancing the medical facts of OCD with one family?s story. At 13:30, the pieces length may limit how some station?s could use this important material.

Comment for "Not Quite Five, But Almost Five" (deleted)

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Review of Not Quite Five, But Almost Five (deleted)

This is a compelling story of woman?s struggles to find affordable housing in Boston for herself and her two children. The feature includes many strong clips of the woman?s nearly five-year ordeal but suffers from the need for editing. A tighter intro and elimination of some repetitive elements could trim several minutes from the piece and create a stronger narrative.

Comment for "A Shortcut Through 2006"

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Review of A Shortcut Through 2006

Shortcut is an entertaining year in review mash-up of news actualities, musical clips and sonic cultural artifacts. Because it?s a retrospective of the past year, it?s particularly timely for broadcast early in the New Year. As I write this in late January, the 2006 version may be a bit late for many stations but it?s worth seeking out other shortcuts from Peter Bochan in the year(s) to come.

Comment for "RN EuroQuest (#52): The End of the Quest"

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Review of RN EuroQuest (#52): The End of the Quest

Euroquest #52 is the final program in an eleven-year series produced by Jonathan Groubert for Radio Netherlands. Listening to this piece was my introduction to the series and, unfortunately, I feel that many of us may have missed what sounds like was a very fine series. Mixing serious issues with occasional offbeat stories from a stable of talented independent producers, Euroquest appears to have covered a gamut of topics presented in an entertaining and informative manner. My only reservation about this particular show is that as the final program in the series, it?s a retrospective show and unless a station has previously aired Euroquest, this episode may sound out-of-place. The good news is the Groubert is scheduled to produce a new series for Radio Netherlands, which may be something for stations to seek out later in 2007.

Comment for "Seasonal Affective Disorder"

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Review of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Paul MacDonald?s commentary is an honest first person account of depression, seasonal affective disorder and the various approaches to grappling with this illness. The piece is well written and particularly appropriate for broadcast during winter months when SAD is prevalent.

Comment for "The Whoopers Arrive!" (deleted)

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Review of The Whoopers Arrive! (deleted)

For anyone that?s seen the film Winged Migration and marveled at the close-ups of birds in flight filmed from ultra lights, this piece is the story of the arrival in Florida of eighteen cranes from Wisconsin that were guided by Operation Migration. The piece is technically well produced and features interviews with many of the observers on the scene in Florida. What?s missing is the drama of the actual birds? flyover or an interview with a pilot of the ultra lights. With an appropriate intro, this piece can be incorporated into a magazine program.

Comment for "Joe Bussard, Record Hunter"

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Review of Joe Bussard, Record Hunter

For anyone that?s every combed through old record bins this wonderful feature will resonate. Joe Bussard is the consummate collector and producer Justin Levy captures Joe?s passion and diverse taste in great roots music. The feature includes both extensive clips of entertaining stories from Bussard and rare recordings of greats like the Carter Family and John Fahey. The only drawback to the piece is that at 19:31, some stations may find it difficult to schedule as the piece may be a bit too long for many magazines but not long enough for a thirty minute slot. It?s an entertaining feature that leaves you wanting both more music and more stories from Bussard.

Comment for "Farm Christmas" (deleted)

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Review of Farm Christmas (deleted)

This charming feature is the story of one woman?s recollection of Christmas in the 1940s with her seventeen siblings on her family?s farm. There?s a precious quality to her story and the sense that she is speaking of a bygone era much further back in time than sixty years. Farm Christmas is well produced and would be appropriate for any holiday programming.

Comment for "RN Documentary: An Ode to Health and Ignorance"

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Review of RN Documentary: An Ode to Health and Ignorance

This well produced Radio Netherlands produced documentary is simultaneously one person?s intimate journey dealing with a chronic illness as well as an examination of lyme disease from the perspective of both the medical profession and patients. Because lyme disease is a recently diagnosed illness and many of the voices in the piece have been chronic sufferers, overcoming the medical complications, the lack of sufficient information and the misperceptions about the disease have been challenging. Chris Chambers, the producer and narrator, presents his own experience with the disease through personal reflection, music and poetry. Although the multi-layered sound combined with the effects gives life to the isolation of Chambers? illness, it can be a bit startling to transition from an interview on medical issues to poetry. Lyme disease is a serious health concern in many communities and this feature would help to both dispel myths about the illness and provide a valuable public service.

Comment for "Ditching Diplomacy: Stories from everyday life"

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Review of Ditching Diplomacy: Stories from everyday life

Ditching Diplomacy is part of a larger APM produced series that examines diplomacy from the international level to everyday life. This feature provides three examples of individuals that chose not to pursue a diplomatic solution to a personal or community problem. Although technically well produced, Ditching Diplomacy feels somewhat out of context, which may be because it lacks its companion features from the series. The three individual stories, although interesting, do not adequately capture the failure of diplomacy in a situation where the personal choices of attaining one?s goal is the priority. This feature, which would work well within a magazine style program, makes one want to hear the entire series.

Comment for "RN Documentary: Paradise Lost"

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Review of RN Documentary: Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost is the second part of a four-part series examining failed states. The program focuses on Haiti, the first black republic and the poorest country in the western hemisphere. It also is a prime example of a country that has a history of failure to provide for its citizens and the stories of violence and lack of services referred to in Paradise Lost are horrific.

This well researched documentary is primarily comprised of interviews with experts from non-governmental organizations and, although it is well produced, the program moves a bit too quickly through several topics. The opening segments are the most compelling with startling statistics on violence and the health care crisis. The program could also benefit from more interviews with some of Haiti?s citizens about the challenges of daily life.

For those of us living in the western hemisphere, it?s important for us to understand our neighbors and Paradise Lost is a good introduction to the problems one of our poorest.

Comment for "The Culture Is Changing"

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Review of The Culture Is Changing

The Culture is Changing is the second program in a twelve-part series produced by the Vermont Folk Life Center on deer hunting. The series explores hunting from an insider?s perspective.

The Culture is Changing examines how rural Vermont culture is being transformed because fewer people are hunters. Regardless of your personal feelings about hunting, the notion of how traditions and culture change over time is intriguing. The Vermont Folk Life Center has a rich legacy of collecting oral histories of Vermont life and this particular segment is comprised of several interview clips that are well recorded and edited to convey the impact of this change and the loss felt by those who continue to hunt.

Because there?s only narration at the open, additional context may be necessary in order to broadcast this piece. Deer Stories would be appropriate for any stations located in a rural area where there is a tradition of hunting.

Comment for "PIE" (deleted)

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Review of PIE (deleted)

I?ve never understood competitive eating and although PIE is humorous and well assembled, I still don?t get it but that?s probably not the producer?s intent.

PIE puts the listener in the front line of a Portland, Oregon Harvest Festival pie eating contest. You?re so close to the action, you can almost imagine being face down in an apple pie. The contest?s two announcers, who do a great job of coaxing ?eaters? and calling the game, provide the action. It?s all in good fun and the humor comes across.

As a radio piece, PIE is more of an actuality than a finished feature. If you?re looking for some audio of a PIE eating contest, this is it.

Comment for "Silvio"

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Review of Silvio

Silvio is a five-minute feature assembled by the producer from the ramblings of an Italian-American outsider artist. Because the piece is narrator-less, we?re left to make sense of his musings on life, art, religion and America. The producer does an excellent job of what was probably an extremely difficult task of making Silvio sound remotely coherent but, in the end, the listener is left wanting some context to understand this complex man and his art.