Comments by Hans Anderson

Comment for "Simplify Me When I'm Dead"

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Review of Simplify Me When I'm Dead

I like pieces that are trying something different. This piece stands out not on the reporting or commentary but in it's the sum of the individual elements; angelic vocalizing, a potent reading of a poem (my favorite line: "and leave me simpler than at birth.").

If you use this piece, you'll need a strong introduction else it might be confusing.

Great feel, different piece. Not your usual PR fare. I adore reports like this. Though, this isn't truly a report as it is a commentary on how we distill a life into a short phrases, perhaps a paragraph if we're feeling generous. Having said that, it does spend a bit of time talking about the train accident itself. Then, a voice says, "you couldn't even find the driver's body, it had been atomized." Then with a few broad strokes we all start to get to know the driver, held at least partially responsible for the accident.

Comment for "End of the Internal Combustion Engine"

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Review of End of the Internal Combustion Engine

I like the progressive elements in this report -- mainly here, coloring the report using pop music (three different songs talking about money). This attempt doesn't radically change the style of the report -- it's 95% the type of report you'll normally hear on public radio, with in-person and telephone interviews with experts, both sides of the topic, etc. But the music adds a little color the report wouldn't have otherwise. I liked it.

Comment for "StoryCorps: Tomas Kubrican and Carol Mittlestead"

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Review of StoryCorps: Tomas Kubrican and Carol Mittlestead

What can I say? These are great... my Mom's favorite thing on public radio right now. I'm not sure how an individual station would air these, maybe in a rerun format, since most (all?) would have already played on Morning Edition. If you can fit it in, especially at a consistent time every day so your listeners can find it regularly, you can't go wrong.

This particular piece is well-edited, two lovers telling the same story from different sides, and the editing splices in short phrases from one or the other to color the story the now-spouse is telling. Add in that it's a fun story -- love with mistaken translations and mistaken identities and this piece perfectly illustrates how good the StoryCorps can be.

Comment for "MicrobeWorld - March 12 - 16, 2007" (deleted)

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Review of MicrobeWorld - March 12 - 16, 2007 (deleted)

These are good solid flash reports, well written for maximum information in minimum time, hosted by a strong, deep, traditional voice. They could fit in anywhere, probably best during ME or ATC. The pieces are about an array of environmental issues -- I listened to three 1) Great Lakes environmental issues and updating a pact with Canada 2) H4H building "green" homes on a budget 3) home wind turbines.

These are interesting real world reports, not some sort of fanciful "we'll be in flying cars in 25 years" type reports. With the wide movement for environmental welfare, this report would fit on every public radio station around.

Comment for "Alternadad"

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Review of Alternadad

A rant from Ian Shoales... not this reviewer's thing and one of the reasons I like the more thoughtful and less negative public radio pieces. The fast talking Shoales probably would be a hit if your local station is geared toward the young, especially with his hits on the AlternaDad and support of weird-Britney. He hit a few fast ones that I chuckled at, and his exit is great. I wish all shows spared us long intros and outros like this.

Comment for "Icebox Radio Theater: Have you Anything to Declare"

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Review of Icebox Radio Theater: Have you Anything to Declare

This is a radio drama read in front of a live audience. It has the sound of an old-time radio program, but wasn't as over-the-top as those productions. The actors were a little stiff at first, but as the production went on, they loosened up and it sounded great. There were some practiced one-liners and you could hear the audience get into the spirit. The plot was simple which made it easier to follow -- complex radio dramas always baffled me and I avoid them if I can. This production was easy to follow and fun to listen to. I'd love to be a part of a team like this. And as much fun as I had listening, I'm betting I'm not alone if I said I would like to hear more from Icebox radio.

One thing for PD's, though, this mentions it's local sponsors at the beginning, so it will need to be edited a little. Nothing major, and the whole thing's clean and family friendly.

Comment for "Drizzle"

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Review of Drizzle

This is a one-person radio drama. I always thought a downside of radio dramas was keeping together all the voices. Maybe it's just me, but I think this format, a narrator describing the events, with lots of nat sound and sound effects, works a lot better. I didn't have any trouble following the story.

The story is well-written, with good detail. I don't live in the city, but this pretty much left me with an image in my head. There were a couple of times, especially around the subway scene, where the sound overpowered the narrator, but it didn't detract very much.

The ending puzzled me. There is a big epiphany that I didn't understand clearly.

This is a piece with a few swear words. This might affect some station's desire to play it, but the producer has noted there is a radio-friendly version. Removing the swear words won't affect the story, though, so either version will work, depending on the station and the time of day it would be played.


Comment for "The Belltown Hustle"

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Review of The Belltown Hustle

This is a documentary piece, and even as I write, having heard the whole thing, I wonder if it's a mockumentary. There isn't anything really to be joking about, but throughout the piece had that Spinal Tap feeling... a homeless man singing for spare change, but a bit off-key. Homeless people with other homeless people in their posse. A man named Hans with an ever-present guitar on his back. I kept waiting for it to go to 11, but it never did, so I'm guessing this one's timeliness won't be April 1.

I do like the piece, about a group, well-described by the buttoned-down narrator, who might make for a fascinating serial, kind of a city-based homeless Lake Wobegon full of stories, problems, fables, and parables. If I am wrong and it's a straight documentary, then this is an interesting posse for sure.


Comment for "Sleepover!"

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Review of Sleepover!

This is a unique piece where two reporters sleepover and monitor two groups of children having sleepovers. One is a group of girls, the other is a group of boys. My first thought was that this would be fun for my kids to hear, but then I realized, this is more for me. Not for any reason other than it's a trip down memory lane. It kickstarts old memories about sleepovers and how new it all was. The excitement of discovering and uncovering, of being cool.

The boys are full of bravado and pranks and don't seem to bond too strongly while the girls get closer as time gets older. They talk about boys. The boys watch cartoons and play video games. If you listen to this, chances are you'll remember a few faces you haven't thought about for awhile.

Comment for "Zesty Ranch KSJD Cortez 3/1/07" (deleted)

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Review of Zesty Ranch KSJD Cortez 3/1/07 (deleted)

This is a music-heavy show that opens with 20 straight minutes of American Roots music (twangy country, and they are picking some great songs I hadn't heard before). The show limitis replay possibilities by saying "good morning" and repeating their call letters. Perhaps that could be edited out if you wanted to have KSJD picking some good music for your audience but include your station information instead.

I used to listen to a local station that could pick great obscure country music, but they just changed their format to Tejano, so I'm missing my country & americana. KSJD's show will help my jones. They put together a good show.

Comment for "Road Salt Damage"

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Review of Road Salt Damage

That cheap salt we use to free the roads from ice? Not so cheap in the long run. The public expects clear, safe roads, but we don't get it... the salt is pretty harmful. So, we're safe immediately, but it costs us in the long run. This piece explores alternatives and salt-reduction possibilities.

This is a good winter-storm piece. Next time there is a big blizzard, this piece should be on your station, especially for stations with a large green-leaning population.

Comment for "The Binary Boys [#001] - The Sopranos: Road to Respect" (deleted)

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Review of The Binary Boys - The Sopranos: Road to Respect (deleted)

I had to listen to another BB review. This one, like the Showdown review, is well organized, has some good humor and is an absolutely great way to review something -- games, movies, books, doesn't matter. I am thrilled to hear something like this and jealous I'm not doing it. Maybe it's just my insufficient hearing, but the narration is hard to understand. They are trying to sound like what a computer might sound like, but there is too much reverb. If they jacked the treble and completely eliminated bass, I think they'd be easier for me to understand and sound more like what humans think a computer voice might sound like.

These are good pieces. I don't know what kind of NPR station would air them -- they are definitely something out of the "NPR" sound norm, which makes me like them even more.

Comment for "The Binary Boys [#002] - GUN Showdown" (deleted)

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Review of The Binary Boys - GUN Showdown (deleted)

The Binary Boys have a good concept -- some cheesy jokes I chuckled at and reviewing a video game in a very unusual and post-modern way. They need to just skip the echo on the narrator's track. All the other audio is in sharp focus -- there is a ton of sampled audio from the game, and from other sources. The Binary Brother sound really far away or maybe they talk through Darth Vader's voice box.

But, that's my only complaint. Personally, that's enough for me to make it hard to recommend. They skip the reverb, though, and this is a GREAT way to do a review. I mean, why can't we have opinions and fun? I'd love to hear movie reviews like this.

Comment for "Final Sale"

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Review of Final Sale

Winthrop Sherwin lives and works in a small town his whole life. Producer interviews many of Mr Sherwin's friends and customers. The strong theme is roots and familiarity and extended family.

This sounds a lot like something you might hear on Morning Edition, but it's probably too long for that format. The style is much like the recent "Mozart's Hidden Kitchen" I heard on ME. The Kitchen Sisters are a high comparison indeed, but it gives you an idea of the sound and editing style. I think with a little compression, this piece could be sharing Winthrop's retirement with the entire country.

Comment for "Women Making Music: Joan Baez"

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Review of Women Making Music: Joan Baez

Woodstock icon Joan Baez in an interview without an interviewer. There is plenty of her music in between. She hasn't listened to herself for years and finds it now like listening to somewhere else.

This is an interesting straight-forward piece on Joan. Great for any flower-power theme, or show that fits her vocal or political style or a Woodstock reference or anniversary. This is part of the "Women Making Music" series, so of course it fits that theme perfectly as well.


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This piece is a fairly straightforward report -- it's the subject of the piece that is unusual and experiemental. A producer has friends and family -- aged 3 to 80 -- read EE Cummings poetry and he puts non-melodic music to it. The reporter says most people react to this the way I did; a roll of the eyes, a quick dismissal. But I really liked what this sounded like. The effect of the combination of the overall production -- amateur poetry readers, solidly written poetry, experimental electronic music makes for a fresh sound.

For a PD, this piece fits in April's National Poetry month. It's an interesting piece any day of the year, though.

Comment for "Homes"

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Review of Homes

Very intimate piece about Katrina evacuee and a girl homesick for Chicago. I like the fresh feel, the way they tell a story without the normal timeline. There seems to be poetry and some nat sound. It seems the rest is true, but the mix sounds great.

To me, this fresh way of telling a story is more interesting than the standard fair -- maybe every story shouldn't be like this, but having these shows really spice things up.

Comment for "A Cook's Notebook: Peach Pit Jesus"

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Review of A Cook's Notebook: Peach Pit Jesus

This piece takes off with a great first sentence. A woman witnesses a peach pit that looks like Jesus, quits drinking and examines all of the peach pits she runs across for the look of Jesus. The author goes from seeing a picture of the peach pit Jesus lady to making her own batch of eight jars of (eventual) Peach Wine, the color of honey with blobs of peaches pushing up against the glass of the jars as it ferments.

This is a fun listen. I would have put "Light" as a tone, but if it had background music, it would have been all minor chords. It's not a sad piece, but it feels like a rainy day made happier by a glass of peach wine. I'm going to go google a recipe.

Comment for "Guerilla Gardeners" (deleted)

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Review of Guerilla Gardeners (deleted)

The eccentric beginning sets apart this piece, which is about people who garden places that need it, but not necessarily with the permission of the property owner. The practice is apparently becoming common in cities like London and New York, which is pleasing because the more flowers and shrubs the better, right? This piece would go great any time, but especially in the spring when people are starting their gardens.


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Review of Gems of Bluegrass (deleted)

I heard several of the episodes, and they all have in common the producer's love and knowledge of bluegrass. As a beginning guitar player, these kinds of shows always catch my ear. The series is consistent, pulling off fun, fresh information about bands and people most people have never heard of, or not heard enough of. Being confronted with bluegrass music is rare; most of the time you need to seek it out.

Comment for "Baby, It's Cold Outside"

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Review of Baby, It's Cold Outside

Of the pieces I've heard recently, this is one of my favorites. The piece is a VH1ish look at the origins of the holiday song, with some great insight by one of the voices in a popular version of the song, a woman whose voice is now raspy and aged, but with all the obvious clear and careful articulation of a professional singer. Well done, a driveway moment piece.

Comment for "Agnostics at Christmas"

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Review of Agnostics at Christmas

Interesting piece about what some agnostics do and think around Christmastime. Timely around the holidays. Not a rejoiceful piece, but it doesn't rip on Christians, either. I found the sections about the origins of the Christmas holiday and the strange timing to be the best part.

Comment for "Grease My Ride!"

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Review of Grease My Ride!

Good report, I'd like to hear a followup about the trip. I heard this on the Station Showcase podcast and am saving it for my dad, who is currently moving down to TX with the old schoolbus he just bought and plans to convert. He'll like this, as will, I suspect, the PR audience at large. Willie Nelson would be proud.

Comment for "Buddy Holly Profile"

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Review of Buddy Holly Profile

Straightforward public radio-ish piece about Buddy Holly... not so much that he would be 70, but his impact on music in general. There isn't a lot of new stuff -- a lot of people have made it known how important Holly was to every pop and rock, and country artist who survived him. But this is a good piece. They make good points and I sat in the garage for 3 minutes to hear it out (Station Showcase podcast). That's as good of a barometer as any to the quality of a piece. I love that they interviewed a Buddy Holly impersonator; and even better, the man had several very interesting things to say about Holly that only a man who has spent the last eight years trying to impersonate him could know.

This piece could fit any topic about Presley, die-too-young rock stars, the Beatles influences, etc.

Comment for "Blues File: Snooky Pryor"

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Review of Blues File: Snooky Pryor

I heard this on the Station Showcase podcasts, which I like to listen to around town. This is a good, tight piece about, obviously, Snooky Prior. It's an obit piece, but not particularly depressing. It would have worked best around Snooky's death (Oct '06), but might be able to fit in a music/blues oriented presentation of some sort. In any case, be on the watch for stuff by this producer (Jonny Meister), if you have a blues show on your station.

Comment for " Women In Science special series: "Girls on the Trail of Biodiversity:Smith College Summer Science and Engineering Program for High School Girls"" (deleted)

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Review of Women In Science special series: "Girls on the Trail of Biodiversity:Smith College Summer Science and Engineering Program for High School Girls" (deleted)

A very good story, something that would sound familiar to any public radio audience. The focus seems at first to be a search for Tiger beetles, then about a program about getting kids into science in general. But that's the foyer to the real story as it morphs into a story about women in science, more specifically women in science, where workplace discrimination is rampant.

This story would work for any glass-ceiling theme or work-place discrimation, especially science.

Comment for "An Unlikely Partnership"

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Review of An Unlikely Partnership

What an interesting story! I'm not into poetry at all, but several of the poems read were amazing, and it blows me away that a heavily-accented Swedish composer can get together with an poetry-writing American inmate and make these things happen. Listen for the poem "Beauty in Cell Bars", it's worth it all by itself. I love the narrator's measured but natural voice. And Spoon Jackson reads as well as he writes. Good audio.

Comment for "WNYC's Fishko Files: Chelsea Hotel"

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Review of WNYC's Fishko Files: Chelsea Hotel

I heard this on the PRX Station Showcase podcast. It is a very professional piece. Sara Fishko has a familiar sounding voice. This piece is fun to hear, features good sound, a good narrative and excellent writing. There is a line at the end to the effect 'If the walls could talk, they would make a toast across generations.' And Sara says it better than I write it.

For PDs, this is one that sounds like a public radio piece. It's solid and interesting in every way and would feel right with any theme about creative people (writers especially) or the "good ole days."


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Review of Pferdzwackur's Tin Man (deleted)

Shows like Tin Man are what I would like to hear on public radio, and the main reason I try to listen to a lot of podcasts; with only a couple of exceptions, public radio doesn't play this kind of stuff.

I hope producers like Matthew can break through that barrier, because it will make radio more relevant and fun. If you are a PD, I beg you to stay relevant and put this series on the air. If nothing else, you'll get callers to see what it is and create a buzz.

I have only heard the first episode, I was so jacked I came back to find more to listen to and to review it. I heard the first episode on the PRX podcast. I am inspired in my own production by the creativity and quality of this first episode, and I hope the ones to follow are as good.

Comment for "The Gas Game: You Can Help Solve Our Energy Crisis!"

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Review of The Gas Game: You Can Help Solve Our Energy Crisis!

A way to save fuel by ... driving more? That's one option Peter covers in "The Gas Game".

Peter is a good talker, he knows the commentary and works it well, jumping right into the piece from the first sentence. He's totalled his car and rents a hybrid to check it out, becoming infatuated with the gauges and fuel efficiency. Then he turns it into a game.

This commentary fits alongside any fuel shortage story and could lighten bad news. There will probably be ample opportunities to use this piece in the coming years.