PRX Review – Generation Next: Child vs Adult

May 1, 2007

 producer: BBC

 Reviewed by: Taki Telonidis for PRX (April 26, 2007)

 “Delightful. That?s the first word that comes to mind after hearing this installment of a BBC series about adolescence. Initially I was doubtful that a 20-minute radio story would be able to bring focus to such a broad topic, but I was pleasantly surprised throughout this piece. It unfolds in a very logical manner, beginning with an engaging introduction, then a series of topics illuminated by the personal experiences of teens (as well as of the reporter, now an adult) plus a sprinkling of experts. The narration is cleverly written and delivered with sparkle and humor. He relates very well to the young people he interviews, and in the course of the story takes us all over the world?from the UK, to Zambia, to America, to India & Bangladesh. Music and sound are used effectively to create a sense of place and pacing. This piece prompts me to ask questions of myself, and to appreciate how much Westerners could learn from other cultures, particularly traditional cultures, who seem to do a better job of preparing their children for adulthood. I could go on, but best to listen for yourself.”

Listen to: Generation Next: Child vs Adult


February 6, 2007

Radio Lab, Show 203: Morality

Producer: WNYC

Review by Chris Chambers for PRX (Jan 21, 2007)

This is excellent radio. It’s thought-provoking, amusing and, most importantly, brilliantly produced. The use of music is perfect and the innovative way the two presenters interact within each feature has the effect of drawing you in futher to the discussion. This is a great example of how quite simple features can become transformed using imaginative production. There was superb editing work in there.
I give five stars as sparingly as Howard Hughes gave interviews but I have no hesitation in recommending this and no doubt all the other Radio Lab programmes too.”

Listen to the program here


February 5, 2007

Say it Plain

Producer: American Public Media, (60:00)

review by John Hingsbergen for PRX (Jan 27, 2007)

“This is an excellently-crafted and moving documentary, ideal for Black History Month. Characteristic of the American Radio Works series, this is a highly-polished production filled with compelling content that demonstrates the power of long-form radio. 

NPR’s Michelle Norris hosts this program featuring excerpts from eloquent speakers such as comedian Dick Gregory, the Rev. Dr. Marting Luther King, Jr, Fannie Lou Hamer of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and Representative Shirley Chisholm. 

I was especially interested in the 1895 recording of educator and presidential advisor Booker T. Washington. 

Whether your listeners lived through events documented in this show, or have merely read about them in history books, they’ll be informed and inspired by the actual voices of these speakers 

I’ve scheduled it for use on WMUB for the second year in a row during Black History Month. I can offer no higher endorsement.”

Listen to the program here


January 26, 2007

Reviewed these two pieces for PRX yesterday and thought you should listen to them.

MARIE’S CRISIS (9:41 minutes)

producer: Kevin T. Allen

” The story of Jim who has been playing piano at the famously infamous Marie’s Crisis for the past 19 years. Trained at an early age by his extremely religious father to embrace music “Soli Deo Glorio” (only for the grace of God), Jim has grown up to form his own, more tolerant, type of church at the local piano bar.”

Listen to the piece here


SIT WITH ME (7:34 minutes)

producer: Salt Institute of Documentary Studies

“Cameron Ledoux’s father is depressed. Because of his illness, his dad can’t work and sleeps at home much of the time. Cameron, age 12, sits down with his dad to address the unspoken.”

Listen to the full piece here

Making Fun and Strange Sounds from Outer Space

January 15, 2007

Making Fun and Strange Sounds from Outer Space

by Irwin Gonshak for The Sound Palette (Jan. 15, 2007)

In the early 1970s, the NYC Board of Education’s radio station WNYE-FM helped to set up In Touch Networks for the blind and handicapped. We won a grant in 1976 from the NYCouncil for the Humanities to do a radio series called, “Liberation for the Handicapped.” I was the writer and producer for the series, and I wrote an essay called “Making Fun” for the press release on the program “Stereotypes” which included original comments from Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Sam Levenson, and Maureen Nolan (handicapped Barnard College student). Here is the essay. But first one aside: I used to walk through the crowded Manhattan streets with the late James R. Jones, Executive Director of In Touch, who was completely blind. When alone, he would walk himself with just his stick to guide him. When he was with me, he’d hold my arm and say, “When I have someone to steer me, I always feel like I’m on vacation.”

Click here to download PDF version of MAKING FUN

In the late 1970s I learned that Scholastic wanted to do an audio series on listening skills for the elementary school grades. Since radio drama is my field, I felt I could easily write a simple radio drama–dealing with the skill: following a sequence of events (just a few characters with a strong story line that goes in a straight line from beginning to end). I wrote “Strange Sounds from Outer Space” which Scholastic accepted and which became the prototype for the series. Incidentally, Hamburger Heaven used to be a fast food chain in Manhattan, which I believe no longer is in business… but still lives on in my radio drama.
Click here to download PDF version of STRANGE SOUNDS FROM OUTER SPACE

Irwin Gonshak can be reached at 

Listen: Shades of Gray

January 4, 2007

from PRX

producer: Jonathan Mitchell

PRX Description: “Pro-choice. Pro-life. Most people have already chosen sides in the ongoing debate, so why revisit the issue? Shades of Gray shares a range of stories told by people young and old who have been directly affected by abortion, instead of the polemics of irreconcilable extremes. It’s a carefully crafted audio mosaic and a stark portrayal of the intensely personal nature of our relationship with abortion. ”

Listen to the full program here

PRX Review: Hospice Chronicles

January 3, 2007

Hospice Chronicles

by Long Haul Productions 59:00

Review by Yolette Garcia 
for PRX (December 20, 2006)

“As our population grays and larger questions about health care and palliative medicine grow, “Hospice Chronicles” attempts to shed light at least on how we face death with community support. The producers, Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister, follow two hospice volunteers–Joe and Betty–as they are trained and placed with clients. Their stories are divergent, but give us glimpses not only of the clients, but especially of Joe and Betty. It takes particular character to spend volunteer time with people who are dying. 

Betty had worked in social services and was her husband’s caregiver, so as a volunteer she had a sense of purpose and clarity. Joe didn’t: all he knew is that he wanted to do good, and was a Buddhist on a journey. The surprising twist is that Betty understands impermanence better than Joe, but Joe has a secret he doesn’t disclose till the end. The sum of this documentary is who actually helps whom. 

The voices are brutally frank, vivid and moving, from Joe and his assigned client, Roger, to Betty and her 97 year-old client Mamie, who shuts down before us. As this documentary shows, human frailty and vulnerability deserve mounds of compassion. After hearing “Hospice Chronicles,” we know that death with dignity starts with the acceptance of life in all of its transmutations.”

Listen to the full program here

Listen: The Beatles in America – 1964 Pt. 1 & 2

January 1, 2007

from PRX

producer: Paul Ingles

PRX Description: “When The Beatles arrived in the United States in February of 1964, no one could have anticipated the tremendous impact the band would have on the development of American popular music and pop culture.

Paul Ingles hosts The Beatles in America — 1964 and takes listeners back to when The Beatles and America first got to know one another. This lively two-hour montage features rarely heard archival audio, concert recordings, and new interviews with fans and reporters who were swept into The Beatles frenzy. ”

Listen to Episode 1 of the program here

Listen to Episode 2 of the program here

Listen: Everything Was Right: The Beatles’ REVOLVER

December 31, 2006

from PRX

producer: Paul Ingles 

PRX Description: “One, two-hour program in which musicians, writers, and Beatle fans explore what made Revolver one of the top rock albums of all time.”

Listen to the full program here 

Note: A quick and easy sign-up is required to listen to all PRX programs for free. It’s worth it.

Listen: 3 James Brown Documentaries

December 29, 2006

from PRX

1. Blues & Beyond #26: James Brown, Bluesman

producer: Johnny Meister

2. In Search of James Brown: An Appreciation

producer: Paul Ingles

3. The Big Payback – A Tribute To James Brown

producer: Peter Bochan

Note: A quick and easy sign-up is required to listen to all PRX programs for free