Producer: WEOS (58:57)
Is it possible to broadcast an hour long live speech followed by a Q&A session? My instinct would be to say no not really. However, I was fascinated with this piece. I was absorbed from beginning to end. Shimon Peres is a wonderful speaker. Thoughtful, precise and engaging. I was surprised. I’ve always thought of him as lacking charisma and of being the ‘also man’ – even though he’s been around longer than any other Israeli politician and has held practically every important post in the government there. One wonders though, if someone of his sensibilities (as it comes across here anyway)and his stature isn’t able to bring peace to the region, then who can?
This is a programme of two halves. The first half an hour is a speech. His main thrust is that the economy and business are the most important aspects of a society. “Governments have budgets and not money,” he says cynically. Modernising is important and that the current clashes are with those who’re afraid of losing their way of life.
Also, the questions put to him were thoughtful and intelligent. This can sometimes be the trouble with Q&As. Questions can be trite and boring.
There are some very powerful moments especially when he describes as prime minister seeing the first suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem and the chants of traitor directed to him fom his own people.
The only problem with this is that of course it is one sided. Israel comes across as a country that is just defending itself from outside aggression and is reacting to circumstance. Isn’t it a bit more complicated than that!
However, pushing that aside, it’s worth listening to just to hear the views of a man steeped in history.
Radio Lab, Show 203: Morality
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.”
Producer: Riverwalk Jazz
PRX Description: “Born in the Mississippi Delta in the late 1890s, pianist Clarence Williams was Creole and Choctaw Indian. As an adult, he produced and performed on thousands of recordings with artists who became legends ? Bessie Smith, Fats Waller, Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong and more ? but he took credit for composing a long list of jazz standards.
Hosted by David Holt and starring The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and special guests Vernel Bagneris and Topsy Chapman, “Gulf Coast Blues: The Clarence Williams Story” chronicles Williams’ life with all of its contradictions. Was he a prolific composer or just a hustler and occasional song thief? “Gulf Coast Blues” reveals that, like the story of New Orleans itself, Clarence Williams is a study in opposites. ”
Producer: KRCB Voice of Youth
“From the first note of music, to the haunting quote at the end, ‘Dear Skinwalker’ is a magnificent piece of radio. This story is so different, that it’s difficult to describe. As the summary states, it’s a letter from a young Native American woman locked up in a detention center written to a spirit creature called Skinwalker. She talks about her troubles, fantasizes about the future, regrets her past, and muses on the wisdom a long-dead Indian chief. The writing is superb, at moments real and gritty, at others surreal and impressionistic. The story flows like a stream of consciousness–a collage of thoughts, sounds, and music that takes unforeseen turns, yet holds together for the most part; only once during a digression about a high school debate club did I feel lost. To experience this piece is to feel like you’ve penetrated the subconscious of this young woman, seen her dreams, and felt her anguish. Congratulations to KRCB and Voice of Youth”
These two hour theatre plays are broadcast by many US stations. I would have no problem at all recommending them. They are of the highest quality. The problem will be slotting a two hour whole in to your programming. A Saturday or Sunday afternoon slot? Or perhaps a late evening broadcast? I would suggest that it has to be played in its entirety because, with this play anyway, there is an intensity that shouldn’t be broken. I thought I I would listen to an hour one evening and the rest the following evening because I didn’t start listening until late in to the night. Well, a stupid thought. I listened to it in one sitting.
I like enormously the concept of this. Live, in front of an audience. It gives an added depth. I felt as though I was also present which was great because, living in Amsterdam, I can so rarely go to an English speaking play. I preferred the dynamics of a live broadcast compared to most radio plays which I believe can lose so much vitality in a recording studio.
Why do I only give four stars? Certainly not for the quality of the production. However, the play itself – excellent but not Harwood’s greatest. Actually, I feel a bit churlish not giving five stars but……….