Public broadcasting is on the chopping block

Posted by on February 13th, 2011 § 0

With the ambitious goal of cutting 100 billion dollars from the federal budget, House Republicans have put out a new spending bill that would not only reduce a number of federal programs substantially, including housing, energy and transportation, but also completely eliminate organizations like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The spending bill, put forward by the Appropriations Committee for consideration on the floor next week, proposes slashing a wide portfolio of domestic programs and foreign aid. It blocks the spending of about $2 billion in unused economic stimulus money and seeks to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the new health care law. The measure also cuts financing directly from the office of the president. (nytimes)

72 percent of CPB’s funds go directly to local stations–this includes over 900 public radio stations and more than 350 local public television stations. Most local stations receive 10-15 percent of their funding from the federal government. This includes the National Minority Consortia (Center for Asian American Media, National Black Programming Consortium, Native American Public Telecommunications, etc.), the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), National Public Radio (NPR), and Public Radio International (PRI).

More than half of all Americans use public media each month, whether through their local radio station, television programming, or online and digital media. Public broadcasting is, by no means, a partisan or underutilized good. Rather, millions of Americans benefit from and contribute to such a thriving and relevant part of our national media.

Take action on this issue by writing to your local representative, or find out more at 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting.

the Moth and RISK!

Posted by on December 16th, 2010 § 0

One of my favorite ways to maximize procrastination is, predictably, listening to podcasts. Of course when you’re at the point in studying for finals where the idea of being intelligent for any longer is absolutely repulsive, storytelling podcasts (is there a more technical term for this?) are a great way to unwind.

While NPR’s StoryCorps is probably the most accurate comparison for the Listening Project, the Moth and RISK! are produced in a totally different form. Both podcasts are recordings of live stories told on-stage without notes.

The Moth StorySLAM, just one of seven ongoing programs, is a weekly open-mic event held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and New York. Many of podcast recordings come from these weekly slams and other gatherings hosted by the Moth.

I’ve only been listening to the Moth for a few months, but from more recent podcasts, some favorites include Andrew Solomon’s the Refugee (a survivor of Khmer Rouge teaches a white dude about curing depression), Mike Birbiglia’s Stranded on a Desert Island (stranded with an ex at a hotel resort), and Sandi Carroll’s I Was a Spy in Chinatown (going undercover to fight knock-off handbags). A free iTunes subscription to the Moth will get you a free podcast each week, although you can stream more podcasts at

Consider the RISK! show the Moth‘s R-rated counterpart, brought to you by creator Kevin Allison and producer Michelle Walson. While it can be just as emotionally touching and hilarious as the Moth, RISK! is more likely to feature strange anecdotes about sex, bodily functions and bawdy behavior. Although their first season features seasoned comedians like Janeane Garofalo, Marc Maron, and Rachel Dratch, the podcasts also feature stories recorded at the stage show in New York and in interviews done in person or by phone. The show invites listeners and members of the public to perform or submit stories online.

RISK! is also free on iTunes, or you can have a listen over at

the Listening Project Alumni Reception

Posted by on December 15th, 2010 § 0

On December 10th, Haverford pulled about the big guns for Thea and the Listening Project–President Steve Emerson, James Weissinger with the Humanities Center, and the fine people at the Dining Center put together an alumni reception where Thea was able to present the concept of the Listening Project, and some samples from the project and her vision moving forward. Here are some photos from the event.

This Week in Radio

Posted by on November 3rd, 2010 § 1

For those of you interested in the other side of the tape recorder, here are a couple of my favorite online resources/communities for learning about radio and production. is a great blend of content and production tips for both the seasoned and radio-curious beginners.  A winner of the Peabody award and sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts, Transom “channels new work and voices to public radio and public media,” making both the technical and creative stuff accessible whether you’ve ever held a tape recorder or not. The site features interviews and posts from radio/media veterans (Robert Krulwich, Corey Flintoff, Deborah Amos) and innovators (Ira Glass, Nancy Updike, Jonathan Goldstein), including questions about how they got started in radio, personal manifestos, and questions from listeners. My favorite feature is the Tools section of the site. Tools editor Jeff Towne does comprehensive reviews of recording gadgets/software across the price and quality spectrum–a great place to start if you’re looking to purchase your own equipment. Transom also releases submitted radio stories through a podcast and special features from guest writers.

Public Radio Exchange is an online community where you can discuss, share and collaborate on radio. Producers and stations upload their content to PRX, where users can stream content for free. In addition to public stations and commercial groups, PRX also includes select college stations, internet stations and amateur podcasters. Generation PRX is a project of PRX dedicated to distributing and promoting youth radio, where young people can upload content for free and receive feedback on their work. Generation PRX collaborates with local stations to produce special programming featuring content produced by young people and submitted through their site (see the latest project here).

Other cool sites:

The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies

Radio Diaries