Comments by Hans Anderson

Comment for "All Things Remixed: A Youth Radio Spoof"

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Review of All Things Remixed: A Youth Radio Spoof

If this is Public Radio youth, then I finally have a little confidence that the oft-heard sound of public radio will receive a refresher soon.

In the short term, this piece give your listener's ears a 1:25 break from yet another formula news piece.

This piece following in the FM rock/hh radio morning-DJ trend of making a fake commercial with a specific viewpoint. It's short, so it will fit anywhere, especially if you are aiming for a younger audience. Play it during an ATC break during drive time. I like making and hearing these types of pieces, and would like to a large slice of public radio dedicated to fun along this vein.

Comment for "Pop Vultures #6 : OutKast & More Outkast" (deleted)

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Review of Pop Vultures #6 (deleted)

Pretty slick. Great PR as aimed at a younger demo. If you are a PD looking to hit a younger democraphic, Pop Vultures might be exactly what you should carry. Very informed and full of cultural reference and information. I feel out of touch because I don't know about half of what they were talking about. I'd listen to this every week if it were on my local public station.

Comment for "Gang database report"

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Review of Gang database report

This piece has aired on NPR, so you can feel confident in it's quality. It focuses on the California gang database -- the biggest of it's type in the country -- and how it may be doing as much harm to some innocent youths as it is doing good in putting a stop to gang activity. If you are doing a gang story, or your community is facing these issues, this story will fit (have to chop the lead-in). It will fit best to be Side B to a story where Side A is "Lets build a gang database like California did."

Comment for "Emmylou Harris: In her own words" (deleted)

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Review of Emmylou Harris: In her own words (deleted)

Very professional sounding piece, great audio, with only the interviewee being heard. Very polished and intimate. I think this would work best with the rest of the pieces as a series, but each could be cherry-picked if, say, Emmylou was in town for a concert. They are very well produced and since there is no reporter's voice, it could sound like your station.

Comment for "The Death of the Christmas Chicken" (deleted)

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Review of The Death of the Christmas Chicken (deleted)

Sounds like 'This American Life,' but could be used anytime you have some time, but obviously during the holidays. Timeless -- doesn't have to be this year, could be used for years. It is also fairly rich in sounds, with some old sound of the narrator as a child, singing.

Sweet sounding. I like narrator's voice in this piece. The musical interludes at the front and back were a little too long, but would allow a talk-over to get in and out of the piece.

Comment for "NPR Geeks"

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Review of NPR Geeks

Would work best on TAL when Ira is sick and someone is filling in for him, or as a fundraiser spot. Maybe it could be played at a festival where Ira wins an award or if Ira is in town on a speaking engagement.

Comment for "Hitchhiking Cop Improv" (deleted)

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Review of Hitchhiking Cop Improv (deleted)

I wasn't fond of this piece because the arguing between the two friends turned me off. I didn't find it all that funny, but because humor is subjective, others might. There was good use of stereo sound. I don't know what most PD's would do about the f-bomb, probably beep it. I'd never take out a choice word because it might offend somebody, but I'm not a PD responsible to an audience.

Comment for "The Never-ending Tax Revolt"

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Review of The Never-ending Tax Revolt

A lot of research went into this piece, a lot of sound gathering. It could go with any crazy Californians story, or any look at taxes.

I think the most interesting thing about the piece was the attribution and the reporter's subjective view, which came across in the voicing.

The piece focuses on a myriad of methods for lowering taxes -- the commitment of some grassroots level people to cut taxes at all costs. To me, the piece came across as very subjective. While I think that some producers can steer a piece one way or another through choosing their talking heads or including certain information, this reporter seemed to include all sides fairly, but then subjectively jumped to one side. I'm not sure this is entirely bad. It was interesting, her voicing parts with what sounded like incredulity. To offset, the piece interviewed quite a lot with the opposite opinion from what the reporter had to say.

I think a few technical issues could be smoothed out, with better mixing of the backgrounds of the heads with the reporter in the studio, and better identification, too... maybe. Twice she introduced two people and they alternated back and forth and it became a little confusing. I sort of liked that method, though. I'm torn. The two speakers had similar opinions, so confusion wouldn't hurt too much. Maybe if it were obviously two different people, a male and female, an older voice and a younger, etc. Interesting technique, though. I'll give it stars for trying that, at least. If they had polar opposite opinions, it would backfire.

Comment for "That Democracy Show"

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Review of That Democracy Show

This is a long enough program that they should put it on CD's and market it at rallies and through Greenpeace or organizations like that. But, if you do have the time for it, it's a three hour, well-produced piece that you can drop right into the middle of your time slot (probably need to edit a few bumps), or play it one hour per night for a few nights (what to do about the live callin... just skip it, man the phones again?). Civics class teachers could use it, too.

For now, I've only had time to listen to segment 1. I'm impressed that they've aimed an intelligent politic show at teens.

It's amazing how differently I think now that I'm in my early 30's. Probably I sounded just like most of the young interviewees on the show when I was their age. A dozen or so years later I have think how innocent and (I'm sorry) naive most of them sound. This can be good and bad. They are naive because they are young, and sometimes inexperience can be just what is needed. Maybe there will be a shakeup in the status quo. One interviewee said people should be allowed to have shirts with a phrase as long as the phrase wasn't too outlandish. Well, that's sort of the problem. Whose deciding if it's outlandish?

I find it interesting that teens forever feel that adults don't know where they are coming from, but they think they know everything about being an adult. One of those two groups has been in the other's shoes once. I guess I'm sounding old now.

Then, the pissed-off Staten Island Radio Rookies girl came on and was very angry, which was good. At least there was a young voice, though I tended not to totally agree with her anger, I think that someone needs to be angry. My daughter probably will be a lot like her.

Comment for "What it Takes to be a Good Citizen"

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Review of What it Takes to be a Good Citizen

Two women who want to be like each other, but aren't. One is an uber mom, the other an uber political volunteer. Each could spend a little more time doing what the other does, diversify.

One doesn't do politics, the other doesn't do PTA or school plays. Both, the show closes, you would like as neighbors.

This piece transcends politics, it's a good mindset piece and could fit in a variety of settings... soccer moms, busy American lives. I was listening to Fresh Air interview from 1999 today and the subject (Andre Dubus III) read from a book he wrote part of it was how Americans were like little kids, forever looking for the next distraction, unable to sit back, relax and think "wow, look at what I have, and how blessed I am." I see that in this piece, and I see the irony that the uber mom trusts that someone else will take care of that political stuff. It seems implied that this is a bad thing to trust, but in the next frame, there is the political volunteer doing just that, going overboard in politics and bailing the rest of us out, being worthy of our trust, as long as we are on the same side of the fence.

Comment for "The Power of One"

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Review of The Power of One

Alaska has always sounded interesting to me. Geo Beach pushes this further... Guvner Bushrat, political nepotism, losing to marijuana... An excellent, wide ranging commentary for those looking for commentaries, especially and obviously involving politics and the question "Whose Democracy is it, Anyway?"


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Review of People Who Work (deleted)

Very sound rich and informational. "What's it like to hang off a truck at thirty miles per hour?" That's the kind of question I want answered. I think it would be fun -- or maybe only interesting -- to do just about any job for a day. The next best thing would be to hear about those jobs. In fact, I have been considering trying to produce series focusing on people's jobs like this. I don't know that I could pull it off this well, though.

I think this series would be great for any show. I'd like to see a national series like this. Something that is on every week at a certain time, a consistent parade of props to people who work all sorts of jobs.

Comment for "Meaning of Life Show: Episode 1 - Music"

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Review of Meaning of Life Show: Episode 1 - Music

This show was well done. I like the sweet voice of the female host, Fiona, and the theme is excellent. I think the whole thing or some parts would fit a lot of shows and formats, anything to do with music.

One question was something like 'do you think you could enjoy life without music' and the answer was no. I agree with the answer. No, you couldn't enjoy life without it, it's essential. I think a section presenting a theory on what life might be like without music would have been great, too, but this piece wasn't missing anything.

I've heard stories that homesteaders used to buy songbirds to have on the lonely homestead just for the sounds. Otherwise, there was nothing to hear besides the occasional gust of wind, certainly no music besides that made by the homesteader and the sounds of their work. The husband and kids were working on the field, there was no creek nearby, few if any farm animals. The silence sometimes maddened them. Imagine that problem in our noise-polluted world, often maddening for the opposite reason. The mice section of this piece was interesting. The Heavy Metal Mice didn't do well. Gained weight, didn't like each other. Was it because it was in a minor key often found in HM, or was it the loudness?

I don't know if a lot of the popular songs I heard in the background have are licensed, that might need to addressed, too.

I surfed to Scott's web site and found that he produces personal multi-media biographies, which is an awesome idea. I just had to say that. Imagine the great-grandkids having a DVD to watch to learn about their grandparents (better buy a spare DVD player to save for them, too, in 10 years they'll be obsolete, of course).

Comment for "Porkchop"

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Review of Porkchop

I think it's unfortunate that I had to choose "experimental, offbeat and esoteric" to place this piece because I wish stuff like this was much more common, and that more people would get it. Chelsea has done a few like this that I like a lot. I also find this amusing. If you use it, don't introduce it, just play the sucker and then don't say anything but "Produced by Chelsea Merz" and leave it be. Those that get it will love you for it, those that don't aren't gonna like it no matter what your explanation will be. More people will get it than won't.

Comment for "An Interview with Joe Barbera"

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Review of An Interview with Joe Barbera

I love behind-the-scenes pieces. They are some of the most interesting things, and I've been a big enough fan of the cartoons that I can associate some of the stuff that was talked about.

This piece works very well because of the access to not only Barbera, but to all the footage of the cartoons, so it wasn't just a dry interview. It's much different, but it reminds me of those behind-the-scenes DVD extras at how they made Star Wars or The Matrix. Now that I think about it, it might be even better to hear those, than see them, as I did.

This piece could air at Babera's death -- I hope that's a long way off, but it is inevitable. Otherwise, it's just a fun interview, and it could go anywhere you want to inject a little lightness, a little fun.

Comment for "A Guy Named Joe Bevilacqua"

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Review of A Guy Named Joe Bevilacqua

Good story, with a little twist and a lot of interesting story. It's fairly conventional a safe bet for any station looking at perhaps a lighter side of name mixups or identity theft (hard to find a "lite" side to that, though).

Comment for "Fresh Pond Trees"

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Review of Fresh Pond Trees

Not my cup of tea, but I know that some people would like to hear it. I think it would work best as a Sound Portrait. The sound quality is excellent, but I think some of that may be lost if the listener is in the car.

For me personally, I don't think I'd want to hear a lot of pieces like this, but it's hard to tell by hearing just one. I think part of the joy of listening would be being there, surrounded by the trees, hearing a creek off to the left, seeing the patches of bright green undergrowth where the early day sun has snuck through, smelling the smells of the forest. In my car, I probably miss many of the nuances of the creeking, and maybe I don't hear any of the other background sounds. I'm originally from Montana, perhaps I'm spoiled.

Comment for "First Menstruation Stories"

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Review of First Menstruation Stories

As a man, I'm not sure I should have listened to it. But, I'm going to have my 13 year old daughter listen to it. Personally, I don't know if I'd want to hear this during, say, ME or TAL. Sorry, it's just me. I'm not offended or anything.

I do think it would help young girls during a scary time. Youth Radio (like the WMPG show) is obviously perfect for it, but also as some sort of chruch or school talk about bodies and getting older. This sort of intimate storytelling would be good. A video wouldn't be able to convey the information, be intimate, but not freak people out.

Misery loves company, and some of these first time stories sound like they fit that bill. An uncle shopping with you, running races, out-of-the-country. I'd almost give my daughter a computer for her bedroom just so she could listen to Blunt Radio on the internet on her own time.

Comment for "Family Vacation"

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Review of Family Vacation

Anywhere, put it anywhere. I just reviewed a piece on hotels (Behind the Scenes: Housekeeping). Put this one right before it, during the vacation months. First cars, then the hotel.

Most everyone in the west, where the roads are long and people are cars are many, will have a trip story like this.

Comment for "Housekeeping: Behind the Scenes"

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Review of Housekeeping: Behind the Scenes

Only disturbing because I don't want to know so much about how unclean hotels are! Deaths?! I'm gonna buy an RV.

The Gideon Bible thing is pretty interesting.

Overall, I love pieces like this. I want to do a regular series of people's jobs that I want to sound just like this. You know what -- everyone has an interesting job. The most interesting ones are the ones I don't know much about. This piece takes it down a very nice avenue, to where the employee talks not only about her job, but about how things work and of what to be careful.

Where can this fit? Well, anytime 20/20 airs one of those Dirty Hotel shows would work. Or, at the beginning of a vacation season. Best of all, some show should do a regular "At Work" series and air pieces like this once-per-week.

Comment for "The Starting Five"

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Review of The Starting Five

Excellent piece, well produced, well written, appropriate music. It would fit anywhere, especially when talking about sports, basketball or the older generation. I especially liked the quote about the way they shot the ball and if you shot a jump shot you'd find yourself on the bench next to the coach.

I do like the piece, and obviously all of those who have a hand in it are excellent at what they do. I have a question, though: Should a story be told only by it's content, or does a producer still have room to play with it when the story is known? I'd like to hear a neoteric storytelling version of "The Starting Five".

Comment for "Chess Gals"

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Review of Chess Gals

This is a really interesting piece. Given the typical PR audience, this will fit on just about any station, especially stations affiliated with universities.

So, why do few women stick with chess? Because women talk so much, while men don't? There has got be a better answer. Or, maybe that is the answer, so why look for another? Still, I was looking for at least one alternative hypothesis, but no others emerged.

I think just about everyone can relate to chess. Many of us relate to it, and thus this piece, from a family member who taught the game with glee because they found someone willing to play.

Comment for "Giantman"

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Review of Giantman

Giantman reminds me of another TAL "the good ole college days" story. It was about how some answering machine message about a guys Mom ranting about the student and the Little Mermaid.

There is something about college that allows for these fast-as-wildfire events, like a flash-mob. A college is basically an introverted community. Every college student should have a story like this. I'm trying to remember mine.

I like this experimental style, but I think this story would work great read in front of a audience, too.

Comment for "Homeschooling Dance Party"

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Review of Homeschooling Dance Party

My wife and I are planning to home school our 4-year-old. Not positive, but leaning toward it. We have two older children who are basically A students in 4th & 8th grade. We don't really have anything to avoid, nothing we truly hate, but, it's something we want to do.

"We all turn out alright" is a good theme in this piece. I've thought that about adults, too. Sure, some are bad, some are good, some work at the DMV. But, with all the different ways you can raise a kid, basically all of them work okay. I'm just as well-adjusted -- good or bad -- as most of my friends. One was raised in Pittsburgh, one in Bogota, one in Paris, one in Mexico, one in Reno, etc. We all turned out.

So, is home schooling better than regular school? I know both of my kids excel in certain areas they really care about, but just get by in those that they don't. They still are taught the same things as everyone else, everyone who has a different interest or ability. There are good points. How do you know if you'll like math if you don't try math? What about science? School is good for that. But, once you find out what you like, if you do, school is a horrible waste of time. There should be a balance.

Gosh, this is a review! I liked it, I did. Would I have wrote all that other stuff if I didn't? I went back and chose "Thoughtful" for my first Tone, because it made me think again. Interviewee Josh didn't seemed programmed either for or against anything, and that's the kid I want. Someone who is free, and can and will make up his own mind.

Comment for "Who Is Harvey Pekar?" (deleted)

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Review of Who Is Harvey Pekar? (deleted)

Liked it. Where would this fit? Well, WKSU, for one. It's good enough to listen to in general. I like these sorts of stories, along Kevin Kling, or Tom Bodett. Instead of Alaska or Minnesota, it's Cleveland. Interesting. Any of these stories would fit on a TAL-like show, but maybe not TAL itself. I'm a public radio guy, but I don't really like classical music (okay, I don't like it at all, though I've tried. When you try to like music, if it doesn't sweep you away, you will fail. I failed.) Instead of Evening Edition plodding into another classical music show, it should go into a show that has lots of stories like this.

This can probably be classified as a soft-feature, but pieces like this give you such different perspective than your average "hard" story that they end up telling me more than another piece about this or that we are doing wrong in society or life.

Comment for "Two-Minute Danger Theater 06: The Voice "Death Stalks at Midnight" Ch 6"

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Review of Two-Minute Danger Theater 06: The Voice "Death Stalks at Midnight" Ch 6

I really like these, I think the writing is funny and it's produced to fit the writing (same person?)

I would like to hear this series on my local radio station. Problem is, it doesn't fit the "public radio sound," which I understand is liked and desired by many, if not most, of the people who currently listen to public radio. I'm not one of those. I'm a "public" though, and I'd like to hear these on my station.

Most of the stuff sounds the same every day, too polished and too slow. Mix it up!

I'm betting that if you have some reason to aim a radio show at people under 34, this would be a good bump segment. Even better, use it as a funding drive segment, and call the producer for an interview, too. You could play these during the funding drive in hopes of getting some pledges from the 34 & under crowd (which, would include me).

Does anyone produce content specifically tailored to funding drives? If so, this would fit in there.

Comment for "The Ears Have It! [excerpt]"

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Review of The Ears Have It! [excerpt]

I love it that all of us audio folks push the Theater of the Mind, the convenience of audio, the fact that, if you turn the sound down on a movie, you can't readily figure out what's going on, but you leave the sound on, and close your eyes, and you catch 90% of it.

Play this piece during a funding drive, I think it would be an enjoyable short piece and would give the local hosts something to talk about right afterwards.

Comment for "An Anatomy of Humanity"

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Review of An Anatomy of Humanity

I remember watching the events unfold on television -- I had no radio in the hotel room my family was crammed into while our new home was being fumigated -- and saw two firefighters emerge from the dust of the collapsing first tower, turn to each other and hug, right there on camera, not even realizing they were on camera. I cried when the first building began to fall, and I cried when I saw these two burly men crying and hugging, knowing they'd come _this close_.

That's the feeling I get from this piece. I like to hear new formats, but sometimes a good, straight-forward commentary hits home just as well. This piece reminds me a lot of that day in the hotel room, when we woke up and saw the events. There was a lot of shock, much more grief, but some relief and, for some who made it out alive, joy.

This piece should be played any time they are talking about Sept 11, but I'd like to hear it in mid-spring, when you aren't expecting it. It will ring louder then, when separated from the rest.

Comment for "Thanksgiving story"

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Review of Thanksgiving story

I liked Andrew's story, it gave me a new perspective for Thanksgiving. I have certainly never thought "Great, my father is alive and gets to leave the army in our home country and join us in another country!" This piece could have been a lot more emotional but I'm glad it wasn't. It's hard to listen to tough story after tough story.

So, this piece fits on every radio near a Thanksgivings table. When they do a show that includes "Alice's Restaurant" and an easy going perspective like this, I'll be listening. Toss in a David Sedaris commentary and highlights from a football telecast, too.

Comment for "Letter from the Dead"

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Review of Letter from the Dead

I'm trying to do at least one review everyday, or PRX won't really be very useful (if stations don't get opinions on what works).

I'm finding out as I'm reviewing these pieces that almost all are really good in the existing boundaries of public radio. This one would be great on any public radio show, toss it in the middle of Morning Edition. Maybe it could be expanded a bit to spend a little more time on Indian culture and their dead. That could lend a unique perspective to the topic... a eulogy about how death is handled in India. Cool.