Hearing Voices from NPR®
022 Mushroom Cloud: Tales of the Atomic Age
Host: Larry Massett of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2012-08-01 (Originally: 2008-07-30)
Documents of our changing perceptions of weapons of mass destruction:
Bomber pilots and bombing victims, and and Colonel Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay in “Enola Alone” by Antenna Theater, mixed by Earwax.
Political speeches and popular songs chart our changing attitudes towards weapons of mass destruction in the “Atomic Age.” Residents recall the Nevada and Utah nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s in their “Downwinder Diaries,” produced by Claes Andreasson.
Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti has “Wild Dreams of a New Beginning,” an excerpt from “One of These days (or Nights)” produced for radio by Erik Bauersfeld (Bay Area Radio Drama), with sound design by Jim McKee (Earwax), and original music by Wieslaw Pogorzelski.
Americans across the country answer Scott Carrier‘s question: “What Are You Afraid Of?”
The story of the Big Bang, with a beat, “Page One” by Lemon Jelly.
And selections from “Atomic Platters: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security” compiled by CONELRAD.com (including Slim Galliard’s “Atomic Cocktail” (1945), versions of “Jesus Hits Like an Atom Bomb” by Lowell Blanchard & The Valley Trio (1949) and by The Pilgrim Travelers, and 1950-60s Civil Defense public service announcements.
Hannibal, Missouri, birthplace of Mark Twain; a day on a tugboat; St. Louis showboats; and changing the course of mighty rivers. We spend the whole hour on this 1984 downstream trip through the history and mystery of the Big Muddy, with Larry Massett and Scott Carrier.
The places we live and the people who live there; a desert, a city, two small towns, and another country:
Scott Carrier has a cultural history of the Great Salt Lake’s “West Desert,” a land of polygymists, bombing ranges, and toxic waste incinerators. There’s chlorine gas in the air, anthrax stored underground, and people who call the place home.
Sarah Vowell‘s childhood move from rural Oklahoma to small-town Montana was, for her, a change from the middle ages to a modern metropolis.
Lang Elliot soaks up the sounds of “Sora Dawn” — “a pothole marsh at dawn with bittern, wrens, rails, and more (Prairie Spring).
Dr. Rex Cocroft, of the University of Missouri, attaches a phonograph needle to a blade of grass, plugged it into a tape recorder, to go “acoustic prospecting” for little-known suburban lawn sounds like “Leafhoppers,” rarely hard by humans.
Immigrants walk around the corner of a restaurant named Pollo Feliz (Happy Chicken) on Sasabe downtown. Charcoal roasted chicken is offered as main dish to people also known as “pollos”, on an area where deaths related to heat exposure are frequent among immigrants.
A boy drives a Ford Expedition on the streets of the border town of Sasabe, Sonora. Polleros in the town make as much as 6500 dollars per day smuggling people into the United States, resulting in a town where the tops of the houses are crowned with satellite TV dishes and kids are seen driving brand new Ford F-150s and SUVs.
Putting bars over the bed of an old pick-up in Las Ladrilleras, on Sasabe outskirts. The fee for the final ride from this place to the gates for crossing costs 20 dollars, and polleros (people smugglers) try to maximize the capacity of their vehicles.
From Las Ladrilleras to East Sasabe.
Three mothers and their children make a stop before crossing the desert. They are part of a group of 27 immigrants departing from East Sasabe on June 5th this year to Arizona.
With their destination at sight, a group of 27 people leave East Sasabe. The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refugee and Arivaca, AZ are on the American side.
A group of ten immigrants who succeeded on crossing the border illegally (one out of frame) use pay phones to call their relatives in the United States at the Greyhound bus station in Tucson before boarding their bus to Phoenix and Los Angeles. To avoid detection the pollero advise them: “Don’t make a big group. Spread.”
Reporter Scott Carrier recovers from the effects of hot weather on his body while doing a story on illegal immigration for NPR show Day to Day. Scott reported from Sasabe, Sonora and Arivaca AZ.
Rabbi Samuel Cohon of Too Jewish Radio, presents stories of survivors, for Holocaust Remembrance Day:
In “Descended from the Holocaust” Dr. Alan Berkenwald records his trip with his parents to the Holocaust Museum — it was first time they talked openly about their experience in the concentration camps; this audio diary is of Jay Allison’s Life Stories.
“Yom Hashoah 1994” is Shoah services in Billings MT and Cleveland OH, survivor interviews, and the story of the Billings communities united “Not in Our Town” response that stopped a series of anti-Jewish crimes. The Rhino Records documentary project “Voices of the Shoah: Remembrances of the Holocaust” is drawn from interviews with 180 survivors.
Also survivors sing Hebrew, for the first time in years, in a live May 1945 BBC report by Patrick Gordon Walker from the just liberated “Belsen Concentration Camp.”
Radio stories about radio, then stories about radio stories:
“Dueling XMTRs! #3: VOIRI vs. the World” (2003 / 1:01 excerpt) ShortWaveMusic
These “Dueling Transmitters” are an atmospheric found-sound un-manipulated mix of Spanish ham-radio operators, slow Morse code, data squalls, and the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran. From the Shortwavemusic blog post “The Effects of Radiation.”
An FM radio station in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, is called Urbana. It’s hip, bilingual, plays music from all over the world, and is famous in Uruguay for its 30-second sound portraits featuring the voices of famous people mixed over avante-garde music.