Transom: Prostate Diaries

Transom is featuring our “Prostate Diaries” hour. Come join the discusssion: Transom pages- Talk | Show .

Their latest newsletter…

NEW SHOW- A Slight Discomfort: The Prostate Diaries
Date: February 5, 2009
a showcase & workshop for new public radio
February 5, 2008

* NEW SHOW – A Slight Discomfort: The Prostate Diaries *

If this piece were about blood or bones or lungs, it would have aired on NPR. But because it is about the prostate, and includes a talking penis, it presented problems for broadcast. There’s no equal time for body parts.

Barrett Golding of HearingVoices asked us if we at Transom would be interested. Yes. Cancer is cancer and it makes sense to talk about it openly and personally, wherever in the body it occurs. The piece also presents complex challenges of interest to radio producers. It is based on a stage presentation written by the patient himself, Jeff Metcalf, and performed by Paul Kiernan. It was recorded and produced for radio by the estimable Scott Carrier and Larry Massett. They are present on Transom to talk about this work, its style and content.

Drop over any time,

Jay Allison
Atlantic Public Media
Woods Hole, Massachusetts


A play about cancer with a talking penis, my mother-in-law and Death (with beautifully capped teeth) is not the play I wanted to write. And yet here it is doing something important. “A Slight Discomfort” is putting the second leading cause of death for men onstage and bullying it around.
–Jeff Metcalf

I arrived twenty minutes early to find the theater already full, so I went downstairs to the over-flow seating where everybody was watching it on tv, but that was full as well, so I sat in the hallway on the floor and listened. I heard it as a radio play. A story about courage. It scared the hell out of me while making me laugh and then slapped me in the face.
–Scott Carrier

When Scott Carrier told me he had a 90-minute tape of some guy talking about prostate cancer I promised to listen to it right away. Meaning, when hell froze over. Never mind the topic, the trouble was the length. Even if it could be cut to an hour, the rule is nobody listens to a single piece that long.
–Larry Massett

NPR legal had problems with numerous parts, both linguistic and anatomical. Were “Slight Discomfort” aired in the Supreme Court set-aside “safe-harbor” hours (after 10 p.m.), less stations would have less issues. But HV stations air us at all times. My solution was to pull the program from our weekly series, and offer it as a special via PRX, with a “Warning: Sensitive Language” — and just one bleep, over a “bullshit.” I then called the good folks at this site to see if they’d spread the word. So here we are at Transom, public radio’s home for promising but problematic pieces.
–Barrett Golding

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