This is a story of art & love, of madness & beauty, of youth & age & death. It took Bianca Giaever 2 years of listening to 546 tapes of Pulitzer-winning Franz Wright to make. Jay Allison guided her. Listen.
The story of Kempis Songster, who was given a mandatory life sentence without parole for a crime he committed at 15 years old. He is forty-five now, still incarcerated, but recent Supreme Court rulings are giving him a chance at parole. Produced by Samantha Broun and Jay Allison in collaboration with the Frontline Dispatch.
Editor’s Note: This speech was delivered as a “provocation” on the opening night of the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago, November, 2016. (photo by Jay Allison)
I confess I like preaching, but don’t want you to feel preached to, so I claim that these sermons are for me, and they are . . . even when I don’t heed them.
They’re heretical in that they’re the opposite of a lot of advice, but they’re some of the things I tell myself when I stray from what feels most...
*Editor’s Note: This conversation was recorded on October 25, 2016.
Jenna: So let’s start with who are you and what do you do?
Laura: I’m Laura Walker, I’m the President and CEO of New York Public Radio.
Jenna: And how long have you been here?
Laura: Very long. [Laughter] I’ve been here for twenty years.
Jenna: What job did you start out doing here?
Laura: President and CEO. [Laughter] I came when the board had made a deal with Mayor Guiliani to buy the...
The moment I heard about Jim Salestrom, I knew. Not only was this the story I wanted to do for the Transom Traveling Workshop, but I knew in my gut the story was also about me.
I came to the Transom Traveling Workshop with all sorts of notions as to what Good and Bad in audio storytelling means. I’ve been hanging out around these parts for quite a while now. My love affair with, and frankly my need for, this medium as a listener has also opened up something that has grown in me ...
Last fall at the very end of the semester I saw a poster in the hallway of the art school at Virginia Commonwealth University for one of my favorite podcasts, Love and Radio by Nick van der Kolk. It turns out that it wasn’t a poster for the podcast (Do podcasts have posters? They really should!) but rather for a graduate level documentary radio class that van der Kolk was teaching at VCUarts this spring in the Department of Kinetic Imaging. I wished that I was a student again so that I could...
Revisiting Difficult Things
The story of the violent crime my mother survived in the fall of 1994 has never been something I share easily. It’s more something I offer after I’ve really gotten to know someone and feel that there’s something important they need to know about me, about my family.
I’m acutely aware of the impact this crime has had on my mother’s life, on our family’s life, and I’ve always had a sense of its larger consequences. I thought if I could tell the story of both the...
What Miranda July Can Teach (& Remind) Us About Making Media for the Public
Admittedly, I over prepared for this interview. Beyond spending many evenings researching and thinking, I also hijacked every one of my hangouts with friends for months, turning brunches and walks into tactical conversations about July’s work and what makes it so compelling and unique.
Along the way, it became clear that Miranda July’s work shares much in common with public media’s work. Here’s just a short list...
Rob Rosenthal, Lead Instructor
…one of the things I love most about my job as lead instructor [is] I have no idea what’s going to happen. From day-to-day, from workshop to workshop… every class is different. The stories are different. Even the style of storytelling is different…
TSW: Class of Fall 2015
“No Flush, No Fuss” by Devika Bakshi
Follow the good tape. Like a besotted stalker. Like you followed Teju Cole on Twitter. With utter...
A “Code Blue”
You’ve seen it on TV. The line on the heart monitor goes flat. Reassuring beeps are overtaken by the ominous, solid tone of death. Doctors come running, throw electric paddles on the chest and yell, “Clear!” The patient springs back to life — most of the time, at least on TV.
Yet a “code blue” can also be traumatic. A large nurse throws his entire weight onto the chest of a frail ninety-year old, cracking multiple ribs. A doctor tears off the patient’s gown. Each chest...
Black Bach – Lyrics by Billy Dean
Start Now – Lyrics by Billy Dean
Click here to purchase songs
Ben Verdery: My daughter Mitsuko asked me during the holidays if I’d heard her friend Billy Dean’s new music. I hadn’t, but immediately started listening and was captivated by the tone of Billy’s voice and the varied textures she was using in her music. I loved it!
I’ve known Billy since she was eight. I remember her improvising on our little upright piano; I...
We’ve Never Been The Same: A War Story
“Maria, Lena and Me” on PRX
About “Maria, Lena and Me”
Lena in Russia
So here’s the very roundabout way I ended up making my first radio documentary. I’ve worked in television for the last 15 years producing news documentaries mostly for PBS. Before that, I was a graphic designer. Before that, I studied Religion and Computer Science at Oberlin College. And before that, I was a classical pianist at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas. Back then, piano was a huge...
About Southern Flight 242
When I was seven years old, my father died in a commercial plane crash. It’s a fact I grew up knowing and something I never wanted to look into, until now.
After I decided to make a radio story about the crash, I often wondered if it was the best choice as my first big project as a new radio producer. It took far longer than I ever expected, in part because it was so personal. But I realized that if I couldn’t answer tough personal questions, how could I expect...
“Of Kith and Kids” on PRX
About “Of Kith and Kids”
It started with a pledge to my local public radio station… yes!
As a sustaining member of WNYC I receive a New Yorker subscription and read the piece: State Of Play: How Tot Lots Became Places to Build Children’s Brains by Rebecca Mead. The article covers the 2010 opening of a high profile playspace in Manhattan called the Imagination Playground. The writer likened it to something much grittier, darker and, well, European: something called...
“Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent’s Dilemma” on PRX
About Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent’s Dilemma
This project was born in the place where so many good ideas come to life — Woods Hole. I was visiting Jay and the Transom Story Workshop to talk about making radio.
Like good reporters, Jay and Melissa Allison, Viki Merrick, Samantha Broun, Sydney Lewis, and Rob Rosenthal asked me a lot of tough questions. As I answered, I realized the tables had been turned on me, that by...