Producer: Ben Adair (10:30)
Review by John Hingsbergen for PRX(Dec. 17, 2006)
“An enjoyable, somewhat off-beat, feature segment. Based on one long interview with author Ruben Martinez, this piece starts strong with some great natural sound that will draw the listener in. Interviewer/producer Benjamin Adair narrates the story in a relaxed, natural style. He’s “chatting” with the listener rather than “announcing” or “narrating.” A very comfortable, non-self-conscious delivery. I especially like the way the opening narrative fades to make way for Martinez. A clever device that, to be honest, reminded me of the National Lampoon Radio Hour of the 1970’s. Kept me hanging on, wondering, “What’s next?” Adair has used a number of off-beat techniques to keep it interesting, including natural sound frequently woven in behind the interview clips I’d use this as a discussion-starter for a talk show on immigration issues. Would also work well in a magazine with an immigration theme. There’s a reference to “it’s Spring” in the opening narration so users might want to consider whether or not to use it in other seasons.”
prouducer: Joyride Media
PRX Description: “One-hour music intensive radio special details how Bruce Springsteen was inspired by Pete Seeger’s musical legacy while recording his latest album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.”
(A quick sign-up is required to listen to all PRX shows for free_
producer: Jenny Attiyeh
PRX Description: ‘Amartya Sen, the distinguished economist, philosopher, Nobel laureate and Harvard professor, talks with ThoughtCast about “Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny.”
This new book examines the unfortunate connection between violence and our tendency to identify with one key trait — our ethnicity, or religion, for example — to the exclusion of all others. Sen argues that we can combat this tendency by rejecting this narrowly defined, limited sense of identity, and embracing a broader, richer and more complex understanding of ourselves.
Amartya Sen was born in West Bengal, India (now Bangladesh) and teaches economics at Harvard University. He is known in the wider world for his work on the causes of famines. ‘
The Invention of Childhood
presented by Michael Morpurgo for BBC 4 Radio/History
“A major thirty-part narrative history series exploring British childhood and the experience of British children over the last thousand years.”
Dan Brown Speaks
producer: New Hampshire Public Radio
“Brown talks about his famous book, its adaptation to a new film and the controversy surrounding both. In the second part of the show, host Laura Knoy joined him onstage for a few questions of her own.
The event took place at the Music Hall in Portsmouth on Sunday night, April 23rd  and aired the following morning on the Exchange on New Hampshire Public Radio, Monday, April 24th. ”
Ani DiFranco Live from Joe’s Pub
Producers: Rita Houston and Sarah Wardrop (WFUV)
“It’s been over a decade since singer, songwriter, and activist Ani DiFranco toured the coffeehouse circuit, but at Joe’s Pub in New York City, she took to the small stage once again. Hear songs from “Reprieve” and more as host Rita Houston joins one hundred lucky fans for Ani DiFranco, recorded live at Joe’s Pub. ”
This is a BBC 4 Radio series titled ‘Poetry Out Loud’. I’ve always enjoyed listening to authors read their own work. The experience reveals a lot about their relationship with their characters and words. It certainly reveals a lot about the authors themselves. How would Sylvia Plath read Lady Lazarus?
Production Notes: Insomnia and The Long Weekend
by Billy Senese for The Sound Palette (Dec. 11, 2006)
In the beginning…
When producing “Insomnia” and “The Long Weekend”, I began purely from the point of view of a filmmaker. I had never produced anything for radio before, so I really had no other direction but to proceed as though I was making a couple of short films.
I came up with an idea. I wrote some scripts. I cast it, planned it, shot (recorded) it, cut it, produced the sound design, and produced the music.
So what was the difference then?
From a financial standpoint, I didn’t need all that extra crew hanging around. That was kind of nice. I didn’t need a camera or lights – very nice. There were no locations, no set design, no costumes, no makeup – nice, nice, nice, nice. No headaches? Yeah, right. There were still plenty of challenges to be met, especially when it came to the writing and performances.
For instance, in “The Long Weekend”, a married couple is arguing over whether or not they should have a baby. How many unsaid issues in a marriage are communicated simply through body language? How do you show body language in radio? You’re forced to come up with more imaginative solutions (tone, space, a well-placed sigh, silence, music, etc.) What I successfully avoided was using exposition or narration. Albeit, there is nothing wrong with exposition or narration, it’s just not the choice I would’ve made if it were a film script. And that’s the discipline I maintained throughout these plays.
Production Notes -“Insomnia”
The lead actress, Rachael Hofmann, flew in from Washington, DC to record her parts. After she returned home, I discovered that the entire final scene of the piece was missing from the audio source – whoops! It just so happens that the final scene is set entirely over the phone. So I borrowed a friend’s junky 8 bit digital recorder specifically designed to record phone conversations and re-recorded the scene live between my phone in Nashville and hers in DC. The 8 bit natural phone effect was perfect (I could have never duplicated the sound quality I was looking for as well with filters), and the conditions ended up leading to better performances all around. Sometimes you need things to go wrong.
Production Notes – “The Long Weekend”
Creating the monster sounds was by far the hardest challenge to overcome in this piece (I can’t even imagine the difficulties I would have faced with an independent film). Thomas Nola (www.eskimofilms.com) came up with the noises, and I maneuvered them into the piece. We knew we wanted a real monster – not something about which you’d say, “That sounds like a bear” or, “That sounds like this or that.” At the same time, we didn’t want it to be anything silly, alien, or unreal – very difficult to do. After many trials and errors, I believe we pulled it off.
Billy Senese is an independent filmmaker, producer and writer living in Nashville, Tennessee. His feature film debut, “Dark Awakening,” will be released shortly. His work focuses on the darker, hidden aspects of humanity. In the last year he has turned his attention to writing and producing radio dramas.