Blog: Radio Lab Abuses Experts?

No, Radio Loab isn't beating puppies or starving small children. But they are facing some heat from a Columbia University professor who feels he was "abused" by the show's hosts and producers during and after his interview:

...This is an awful episode of an absurdly pretentious program, and the segment in which my words are featured consists of atrocious and deceptive editing of an offensively adversarial pair (!) of interviews in which I felt I was speaking to a brick wall of ignorance in both cases (and was treated *extremely* rudely by both Kramer and Krulwich in the course of the actual interviews).

My worst fears were realized by the actual show as I heard it. My points are chopped up and reassembled to make me sound like I agreed with the tone of the interview questions, which I found utterly appallingly stupid.

I feel downright *abused* by this entire experience. There is no better word....

Aaron Fox
Associate Professor of Music
Columbia University

I've got to give Radio Lab credit. Most shows would put a letter like that (which went on to personally insult the show's hosts and listeners) quickly and quietly into the "irate expert" folder. But in the interest of fairness, Radio Lab posted both the raw and edited audio on their website and frankly, I can't hear how any wrong was done to this man.

Redux: Pass the Remote

Only This American Life's Nancy Updike could transform a potentially dreary topic like hospitals into a richly textured, thought-provoking, and dare I say cheery piece of radio. How did she do it? By zeroing in on the one thing that makes hospital stays bearable: TV.

Americans have a love/hate relationship with television. Some of us write it off as garbage, but there's a good chance that a TV set is hiding in each and every one of our closets. Let's face it: watching TV feels good and what else could you want when you're stuck in a hospital day after day than to feel good?

Updike interviews patients with a wide range of ailments, ages, and background to offer up an audio composite of the magnetic power of television. Their honest, compelling answers are mixed with Updike's superb writing, quirky narration, and enough sugary 50's TV theme songs to make your teeth ache - a surprisingly welcome reaction to a piece about the pain and boredom of hospital life.

Blog: Leave the Subaru at Home

The Subaru Outback is the ubiquitous NPR car. Not only do a substantial number of listeners drive them, but every NPR parking lot is chock full of 'em. Seriously, the Albany, NY station had a total of 7 Subarus in its 10 car lot (including my own). So what would possess a highly skilled NPR contributor to give his up? A little thing called green living.

Doug Fine a master of putting himself in the story - a task that's easy to try, but nearly impossible to do well. His NPR features and audio postcards have taken him from Alaska to New Mexico to the gateway of the final frontier. But his latest project is no afternoon endeavor, it's a lifestyle.

This beautifully shot BoingBoingTV video captures Fine's experiment in off-the-grid living. What's remarkable is that he hasn't shunned, but rather embraced technology as a central part of his new life. Between buying his goats off Craig's List and blasting iTunes through the power of the sun, it's clear that you can be green and have your tech too, as long as you're willing to work for it. Watch as Fine climbs roofs, feeds goats, and has a "solar moment." And keep your eye out for his new book Farewell, My Subaru which will hit book stores tomorrow.

Redux: Moms are Good Stuff

A moving story (without being too sappy!) about a mother's love for her daughter. Do kids still have to make dioramas these days? I remember making one that had a campfire and a teepee.

Redux: Sweeded Radio

Sorry, no audio. Try the permalink.

I'm always impressed with Studio 360's willingness to take risks. Unlike some very popular public radio shows (who shall, ahem, remain nameless) Studio 360 has no formula. New York City is their playground and if a kooky idea sounds like fun, they'll go ahead and give it a try.

This episode, the Studio 360 crew tries their hand at movie making, courtesy of filmmaker Michel Gondry. Gondry's newest endeavor (following the success of his hilarious and thought-provoking film Be Kind Rewind) is a DIY movie set. It's like a choose-your-own-adventure book for film lovers. Hear the Studio 360 team pick their set, practice their lines, and discover how tough filmmaking can be - even for seasoned media professionals.

Redux: Well, Duh.

Sorry, no audio. Try the permalink.

Breaking news: another scientific study tells us things we already know. Of course spending money on other people makes us happy - ever heard of a little thing called Christmas shopping?

Blog: Building a Home Studio, One Closet at a Time

Few independent radio producers can afford the super snazzy sound proof booths you'd see at your typical radio station (think News Radio circa 1996). Instead, we build makeshift booths in our closets and fill them with pillows instead of studio foam. Here's my most recent faux-studio creation.

I can't believe how lucky I got with this sublet. We moved to Asheville, NC without ever having visited and found this 500 square foot "cottage" aka converted garage on Craig's List. Who knew that 75 of the square footage would be closet? It's actually bigger than the kitchen.

Redux: Are You a Nancy Drew or a Harriet the Spy?

I am definitely a Harriet. When I was little, I was obsessed with her. I wanted to *be* her. I would use my grandfather's binoculars to keep track of the neighbors, Harriet-style, all the while keeping notes in my small brown notebook. Because I lived in the suburbs and on a street with a cul de sac, there really wasn't much action, but I documented it, anyway, with flair.

This short piece that aired on Morning Edition talks about the importance of Harriet to children's literature and to children themselves. Finally moving away from the perfectly-pressed-khaki-pants-wearing Nancy Drew, Harriet--in her disheveled appearance and lack of manners--resonated with generations of readers. She was someone who messed up, got herself into plenty of pickles, was smart and a reader, and remained true to herself despite learning what it meant to be well-mannered and a good friend.

As someone who never wore hair bands or tucked in her shirts into her slacks (or even ever said the word, "slacks"), I was forever grateful to have a Harriet in my life.

Redux: Flour, Water, Sugar..... Go!

Another brilliant episode of Seven Second Delay with Ken and Andy, only this time their wives (or, as Andy refers to them, "the old ladies") join them in the studio for a game of Guessipe. The premise is simple. Ken and Andy vs. their "foodie" wives. Listeners call in with a recipe, rattling off one ingredient at a time until either team correctly guesses the recipe. Even with Google at their fingertips, Ken and Andy are no match for their wives--even when Hank and Beth promise not to guess at all to give them a chance. Radio GOLD.

Redux: Where's Spitzer?

Sorry, no audio. Try the permalink.

I downloaded this week's On The Media podcast with great anticipation. What would they made of the Spitzer resignation? I couldn't wait to hear all the twists and turns of how the NYTimes broke the story - and the fact that posting the scoop at 2pm on their website instead of in the next day's paper likely crashed their site, yet another example of how new media is eclipsing print.

The NYTimes scoop was certainly the biggest national story of the week, so why didn't it garner more than a mention on On The Media? Don't get me wrong, hearing Hersh take us through his My Lai investigation was fascinating (honestly - it's a riveting play-by-play of journalistic ingenuity) but the story is 40 years old. What happened to this week's biggest story?