Comments by Erik Nycklemoe

Comment for "The Women's Building Remembered" (deleted)

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Review of The Women's Building Remembered (deleted)

This 18-minute piece was produced by Queena Kim for Pasadena station KPCC. There is no narration in the entire 18-minutes. Unfortunately it needed the framing that narration provides. It jumped around a lot from a series of voices talking about selecting a location for the Women’s Building—to a few snippets on some of the group activity—on to some examples of the wonderful work that resulted from connections made—then onto selecting the second location—and then on to some talk about the personal experience of art making and politics. Given the sheer amount of subject material that this piece covered and the number of voices featured, I think the topic was too big for this sort of treatment. I got lost. There were times when I didn’t know who was talking or why this particular tangent was important.

The production values were very good and this had the potential to be a great feature or a series of reports.

Comment for "Grease My Ride!"

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Review of Grease My Ride!

There was some interesting material presented in this feature on fueling a van with restaurant grease—and a planned trip across the country to publicize this alternative furel. There was straight-forward reporting and some nice scenes. I would call it an OK feature. The voice over narration needs a little coaching and the scene setting could have been a tad stronger.

Comment for "The Power of Song"

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Review of The Power of Song

This feature starts out with a scene from the Athens public library where a group of college students are helping disabled adults write poetry. Someone had the idea to set some of the poetry to music. 12 Athens have jumped on the project and produced a CD with some really nice sounds. There were a lot of scenes and some great music mixes in this feature. I especially liked the interview with one poet Serena and the musician who set her poem to music. The musician comments that Serena feels deeply and thinks about the same things that a 30-year-old musician does. This was a very nice piece—I only wish I would have heard more from the disabled adult poets. Check it out this is a well done feature.

Comment for "By Faith and Not by Sight"

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Review of By Faith and Not by Sight

This was a very well produced piece by a young African American woman Auliya Jackson. It tells a heart-felt story that left me with a lot of questions after hearing it. The piece starts out with Auliya talking about how she is on a trip to Georgia to meet the grandmother she has never met. She recounts the drive through rural Georgia—passing through “a butt crack town” where there was confederate flag slowly waving in the wind. This rightly freaked her out a bit.

Then the diary makes a surprising transition to a scene where her dad is upset because she didn’t bring dress clothes or shoes, and he starts asking his sister if she has anything to lend Auliya. They then go to grandma’s house and she starts looking at photos. There are none with grandma in them. At this point she remarks that she has never even seen a photo of grandma and today’s grandma’s funeral. This is the first time we hear that her grandma had died—and we are 6 ½ minutes into the 9-minute diary. And it is still holding my attention.

From there we hear some clips from the lively funeral itself and then to some reflective thoughts hours later. She finally got to see an obituary photo on the printed funeral program. In tears the diary ends with Auliya saying that she never got to see or even talk to her grandmother and now she is buried.

Auliya came across as a thoughtful young woman—who in her own way raised very significant issues. In the present day, surely she could have or should have had at least a photo or numerous phone conversations with her grandma. Why not? Whatever the reason, it left me sad for her, her family and whatever situation prevented such important intergenerational interaction. This was a very well done piece and I only wish it would have filled in more blanks—but that is sometimes what happens with a well-told and presented slice of life diary.

Comment for "B-Side: You Are What You Drive"

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Review of B-Side: You Are What You Drive

This show is one of the best I’ve heard in a very long time. The B-Side crew considers transportation from a number of surprising vantage points. The show starts out with the B-Side crew hopping on the 51 Bus in Berkeley and this scene is what transports a listener from one unique feature to another. We hear a family with a 45 minute commute from home to work and school. The mother talks about how she has a captive audience with her kids. The kids talk about how much they hate and I think kind of enjoy the daily after school debrief. Then we are back on the bus into a very well-crafted transition into a ride-along feature profiling a meter maid. This was a very provocative and thoughtful piece and it made me really consider what life is like for a meter maid raising two kids on her own. From there we hear a brief well-chosen music break with Lovely Rita, Meter Maid by the Beatles. The show ends with two more interesting features on scooters and self-discovery and about a woman who drives her hearse everywhere. The feature writing, production and transitions between pieces is simply wonderful. With a little work--not much, this could be a new national show. I really liked this production and I don’t offer such praise often. Great work—give it a listen.

Comment for "Delegate Diaries: Robert Long and Peggy Venable"

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Review of Delegate Diaries: Robert Long and Peggy Venable

This montage features two Texans who attended the Republican National Convention in New York City. One is the chaplain of the Republican Party of Texas and the other is a delegate who is coming to her second after last being at the convention that nominated Ronald Reagan. This was a very well-done montage. The production values were outstanding, the editing was clean and the some of what the conventioneers had to say was insightful—which is unusual in montages. I especially liked the quote from the chaplain that went something like, “I’m here to stand for righteousness…here to fellowship with others of like minds.” What a quote and what an insight. Very nicely done.

Comment for "Oklahoma RNC Delegate Diary: Rod Moesel and Joy Pittman, Day 1" (deleted)

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Review of Oklahoma RNC Delegate Diary: Rod Moesel and Joy Pittman, Day 1 (deleted)

This is a simple montage piece featuring two wide-eyed Oklahoma delegates to the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. There was no narration in this piece. The two delegates give their reasons for being at the convention. I found little of what they said to be surprising or original. The only part of the piece I really liked was what they had to say about being in New York City itself. The production values were very high and the editing was very well done. The montage worked to set the scene of what it was like to be a delegate from Oklahoma. This piece probably would play very well for audiences in Oklahoma.

Comment for "The Museum of Jurassic Technology's David Wilson"

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Review of The Museum of Jurassic Technology's David Wilson

In this 13+ minute interview, M. Travis DiNicola talks with David Wilson from the Museum of Jurassic Technology. The piece starts with a very long read into the two-way. The interview rambles from considering the museum’s microscopic works, to a long discussion on micro-miniature artists and engineers who push themselves beyond limits to do such things as carve sculptures of the Pope’s bust into individual strands of human hair, to very tangential material about some famous magician (who I have not heard of) who is a big fan and supporter of the museum. What was the purpose of this interview? I certainly was left with the impression that this is a very unique museum—but I got little sense of what I would see or experience if I were to visit. This topic would have been better handled with feature report treatment. I wanted to hear a simple general overview of the museum, then some of the peculiarities that a visitor might encounter and then introduce the genius behind it.

Comment for "A Report From The Field"

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Review of A Report From The Field

This is a very casual interview with two hosts, Kathleen Turner and Charline Spektor. They talk with Lt. Paul Rieckhoff who spent a tour in Iraq and is preparing to go back. Rieckhoff had some very interesting and provocative things to say about life in the military, what it is like to be in Iraq and his thoughts on the broken promises made by military and political leaders. This is a terrific subject for an interview and Rieckhoff had a lot to say from his very specific vantage point of being on the ground in Iraq. Unfortunately it was hard listening to get to this important content. The problem—the hosts sounded totally unscripted and unprepared—frankly they sounded amateur. They didn’t respect this listener’s time. Here’s one example. They didn’t introduce the topic or the guest—they had the Rieckhoff introduce himself—including his name and rank. A suggestion—listen to how Terry Gross welcomes, introduces and reintroduces guests to Fresh Air throughout the program. The hosts’ interviewing approach was far too casual and unscripted for such an important topic.


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In this piece a member of a small Texas tribe, John Black Feather, takes us behind the scenes of what goes on in a public Pow Wow. The piece has a number of nice scenes and uses a lot of natural sound. The production itself was well done and well mixed. There wasn’t really anything new or insightful in the piece. It was a loose narrative strung together with excerpts of Native American drumming. After having extensive exposure to the Navajo and Hopi of northern Arizona in my previous job, I think there can be a tendency sometimes to treat many topics involving Native American customs and traditions almost too gently and reverently. The tradition certainly deserves the attention. But what is the intention of this radio piece? Who is the intended audience? There have been so many radio pieces on Pow Wows and this one didn’t cover enough territory for me and much of the information was almost too much at a surface level for such a lengthy feature report.

Comment for "Sawlady"

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Review of Sawlady

This is a single voice narrative of one woman’s love of playing an unusual instrument and her delight of playing it in the subway. The music itself was really haunting and kind of ironic. Well known songs we all remember played on a shrilly hand saw. I loved hearing the musician talk about her love of the music, instrument and the setting. But, beyond that, there wasn’t much substance to this piece. The piece was originally produced to be part of a documentary on subway musicians. It would work well within that construct. As a stand-alone piece it needs more context, set up and framing. The piece ends abruptly, which surprised me. I thought my CD player had malfunctioned. I would encourage the producer to end the piece with some saw music to fade out with.

Comment for "Part 1: Arrival"

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Review of Part 1: Arrival

Wouldn’t it be great to be sent on assignment to Iran and put together a multi-part audio journal of your experience? I hope Vermont Public Radio picked up all the bills on this one. I listened to the first part of this five-part series. There were some very nice scenes from arriving at the Iran airport and coming face to face with a swarm of humanity on exiting the terminal to hearing his brother call out the Iranian pronunciation of his name when he came to pick him up. For those who like audio travel-logs, this is a very competent production. It covered a lot of territory. Almost to quickly for me. I wanted more substance than such a treatment provided. The production was nicely voiced and presented and the audio quality was exceptional.

Comment for "Owning Guns"

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Review of Owning Guns

This is a great essay from well-known producer Jay Allison. It traces his relationship with guns from his childhood when he received NRA safety training to becoming an anti-gun activist because of a friend’s murder to purchasing a couple of guns following the 9-11 attacks. Jay had some great scenes in this essay. I especially like his writing about a scene from Europe where he contemplates his relationship with guns when looking at pictures from the Iraqi prison abuse. This was a very well-done and presented commentary/feature from one of Public Radio’s most innovative and respected producers. It’s a piece that I would air on Minnesota Public Radio.

Comment for "The Well-Rounded Radio Interview with Múm"

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Review of The Well-Rounded Radio Interview with Múm

As a Program Director of a large network I would have a hard time placing this program on the air. I also don’t think it would fit on a more adventuresome music stream aimed at 20-30 year olds. I applaud the effort to present new and varied music to listeners and he’s obvious the host is a big fan of Mum. I can tell he put a lot of effort into the interview and its production. That said, to me it sounded a tad crunchy, the music fought with the narrative and the narrative itself was rather ready. I listened to about 10 minutes of the program and knew I had heard enough. I am not in the demographic that this program is aimed at and neither are the present audiences that I program to. So I’m basing this review more on a personal reaction to the piece and the production approach that I’m most familiar with.

Comment for "Haunted Cabin"

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Review of Haunted Cabin

Like any ghost story the Haunted Cabin was a treat. I listened to it in the car with my kids and it even kept my eight-year old’s interest. The story tells of a haunted cabin and some scientifically driven ghost hunters and one psychic and the tricks they use to see of there is anything real about the hauntings. The piece would be perfect for a News and Information Station’s Halloween programming. One part of the piece that was a bit of a stretch was when the host brought in his personal search for meaning in the afterlife because of one his parent’s recent death. I think this could have been better integrated in the story or eliminated, which could have made this entire piece even stronger. This is a nicely produced and mixed with strong story telling. Good work.

Comment for "Musical Injuries"

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Review of Musical Injuries

This was a very unique story that covered a lot of ground, numerous sources, scenes and much information. It tells of the best way for a musician to stay healthy; to understand how the mind and body work. It tells of some of the hazards of being a musician from the trumpeter who pops his lips to a Broadway singer who performed night after night in front of the exploding effects during the musical Tommy. The story aired previously on Studio 360, it’s a very nice piece and I would considered airing it had it not already aired in that program.

Comment for "Battling AIDS with a No. 2 Pencil"

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Review of Battling AIDS with a No. 2 Pencil

This was a nice commentary. It talked about what it’s like to be a telemarketer, how to get past gate keepers to real decision makers and the sleazy methods one company employed to sell office products. There was one place where there was foul language in the commentary, which would render it difficult to place on a radio schedule, unless you were to air it after 10:00 p.m. I think this piece would be as strong without the offensive language and the producer may consider this, as this piece would be good enough to air nationally. The story is well told and overall a very nice commentary.

Comment for "Fight the Bush"

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Review of Fight the Bush

Fight the Bush presents a string of chest thumping clips from President Bush. Each of these are presented out of context but the effects of them strung together with the fight the power music underneath would only resonate with someone who already has strong negative feelings about the President. Frankly there is no way I could ever justify putting this piece on the air because of its strong one-sided point of view. That said it’s very well produced and a creative piece of audio. There’s been a number of such pieces produced over the years and this is a well-done piece of audio production that may find a home on the web but not likely on a major market public radio station.

Comment for "Nick's Diary: Home School to High School"

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Review of Nick: Home School to High School

I heard this piece before; I think it was on Weekend-All Things Considered. It tells a story of Nick who is trying to reach out and get a handle on his feelings of desperation and isolation. This is a well-done diary piece that follows Nick over several months. I especially like the scenes where Nick talks about how he loves to play cello when he’s feeling disgusted with himself, where he talks about the transformative quality of plain music and when he talks with his family at dinner on how much he hates school. The scene where his voice starts changing is also heart warming and touching. Overall, I found this piece to be just a great slice of this adolescent’s view of the world and his efforts to fit in.

Comment for "The Devil's Radar "

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Review of The Devil's Radar C1

This piece had a fascinating editing style, where breaths are taken out, different effects are placed on the narrator’s voice at appropriate places and unique long pauses at key junctures in this strange story. The story itself and the storytelling were very well done, but it didn’t keep my interest throughout. I think it has to do with the fact that this 20-minute piece could’ve been 10 minutes shorter. Frankly, although the editing style was unique, it got tiring after five minutes. The ear is use to listening to breaths and the ends of sentences and the brain uses that opportunity to digest what was just presented. The story needs more of those opportunities to allow the listener to catch up with the narrator. The story was dark, had surprising twists and had a unique portrayal about the despair of alcoholism. It’s so unique that, although I wouldn’t air it as it presently stands, it is worth a good listen because of the very unique story telling method and production finesse.