Audio diaries document a decade of life with CF, a chronic, often deadly, genetic disease:
“Radio Diaries: My So-Called Lungs”” (2001 / 21:13) Joe Richman
A classic Radio Diaries: When this program premiered, Laura Rothenberg was 21 years old, or, as she likes to say, she already had her mid-life crisis a couple of years ago, and even then it was a few years late. Laura has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and other organs. People with CF lived an average of 30 years then (now it’s 37). Radio Diaries gave Laura a tape recorder and, for two years, she kept an audio diary of her battle with the disease and her attempts to lead a normal life with lungs than often betray her.
“My So-Called Lungs” was reported by Laura Rothenberg and produced by Joe Richman, for Radio-Diaries-dot-org, with support from the Open Society Institute and Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Deborah George was the Editor. Laura Rothenberg died in March 2003. Her memoir, Breathing For a Living was published a few months later. And Joe Richman had this Laura Rothenberg Remembrance on NPR.
In 2010, there were 1,770 lung transplants performed in the United States — the most ever in a single year. For a person with Cystic Fibrosis, the transplant may extend life by years — or it could lead to continued suffering and rejection of the new organ. This documentary follows two young people struggling with end-stage Cystic Fibrosis, and struggling with a decision about transplant. While most of us are just hitting our stride in our late 20s, Beth Peters and Brian Sercus are medicating, massaging and coaxing their lungs into lasting as long as possible. Producer Catie Talarski documented Beth and Brian for a year to understand what its like to live with this chronic disease.
Shortly after the World Trade Center fell in autumn 2001, it became clear the United States would invade Afghanistan. Producer Scott Carrier decided he ought to go there too. Why? To see for himself: that’s what writers do. Who are these fanatics, these fundamentalists, the Taliban and the like? And what do they want?
For the weekend of 9/11/11, Hearing Voices from NPR presents Prisoner of Zion. Carrier narrates his trip to Afghanistan. With his young guide and translator, Najibulla, they tour the horrors of war.
Years later Naji tells Scott he must leave his homeland — the dangers for a translator have become extreme. Scott gets Najibulla accepted at Utah Valley University. Naji, it turns out, handles the Mormons quite well, while Scott, teaching at the same school, has a hard time with them. At the end Naji is graduating, about to get married, and start a new job; while Scott wonders whether he can stand teaching another year — or if he’ll wind up on the street like Naji.
→ From Afghanistan: A photo-audio-essay by Scott Carrier; with sounds, images, songs and prayers of the Afghan people.
In 2001 I stopped by Stetson’s house, on a beautiful marshland near Jacksonville, Florida. We talked about his 1939-40 recording expedition, accompanied by Zora Neale Hurston, documenting the songs and stories of Florida. That interview and those recordings become the NPR story “The Sound of 1930s Florida Folk Life” (22:00 mp3):
The Klan Unmasked is Stetson’s story of infiltrating and undermining the KKK. He tell it in this next clip, “Nazi-minded Klansmen” (4:26 mp3):
His good friend Woody Guthrie wrote a song about him, “Stetson Kennedy.” lyrics: Woody Gurthrie; music: Billy Bragg & Wilco, from Mermaid Avenue Vol. II (2:40 mp3):
I done spent my last three cents
Mailing my letter to the President
Didn’t make a show, I didn’t make a dent
So I’m swinging over to this independent gent
Writing his name in
Writing his name in
I can’t win out to save my soul
Long as Smathers-Dupont’s got me in the hole
Them war profit boys are squawking and balking
That’s what’s got me out here walking and talking
Knocking on doors and windows
Wake up and run down election morning
And scribble in Stetson Kennedy
I ain’t the world’s best writer, ain’t the world’s best speller
But when I believe in something I’m the loudest yeller
If we fix it so you can’t make no money on war
Well we’ll all forget what we was killing folks for
We’ll find us a peace job equal and free
We’ll dump Smathers-Dupont in a salty sea
Well, this makes Stetson Kennedy the man for me
A short symphony in pistons and rings, made from tractors recorded at the Reidsville, NC Antique Engine Show. All sounds are actual engines; the piece has no instruments or effects. Paul Overton is at: Dude Craft | Every Day is Awesome | PRX.
The ethanol-injected noise of cars, drivers, and fans at the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, an ocean-side street race with top pro race-car drivers from around the globe. One-hundred-and-eighty thousand aficionados gather around a two mile course of Fast & Loud in downtown LB — 186mph avg, 200+ on the straightaways. Co-recorded by Joe Skyward.
The video for The Rev. Peytons Big Damn Bands new song Clap Your Hands was shot in one day in a barn in Indiana. All of the dancers, artists, freaks, weirdos, cowboys, kids, donkeys, bunko steerers, chickens, and regular folks, who are all Hoosiers, all volunteered their time and talent because they believed in the song and the band. The video was directed/produced by the acclaimed music video producer Kevin Custer (Lil Wayne, Soldja Boy, Flogging Molly) who remarked the day of the shoot, it would have cost a fortune to get all of these props back in NYC. To which The Rev. Peyton replied, These arent props they are just crap you find in a barn!
Thruout the hour, we hear excerpts from the tracks “Zhangmu: Crossing A Landslide Area” (2300 meters above sea level), “Palung: A Yak Caravan is Coming (5400m), “Cho Oyo Basecamp: Morning” (5700m), “Jobo Rabzang: A 6666 metre peak in the Cho Oyu Himal”, “Camp 3: Neighbours On Oxygen” (7500m), “Summit: Only slight breeze on the summit at 8201m.” Also this piece “sampled and processed from a cassette of Tibetan music.”
For twenty years, Reverend Robert Shields, of Dayton, Washington, kept a written record of absolutely everything that happened to him, day and night. For four hours each day, Shields holes himself up in the small office in his home, turns on his stereo, and types. His diary, at 35 million words, is believed the world’s longest. A Sound Portraits production, on the CD Holding On: Dreamers, Visionaries, Eccentrics And Other American Heroes (and companion book)
“Nick in SLC: Home School to High School” (1999 / 16:39) Radio Diaries
For RD’s Teenage Diaries project, they gave “tape recorders to young people around the country to report on their own lives. They conduct interviews, keep an audio journal and record the sounds of daily life — usually collecting more than 40 hours of raw tape over the course of a year. Nick Epperson of Salt Lake City began his audio diary when he was 13. The talented singer/cellist music, but has a hard time making friends.
Erica was a private investigator; now she’s a radio producer. The skills overlap: you ask questions, try to figure what happened, and make a report. (None of the interviewees were clients when she recorded them.) Produced by Larry Massett.
A good neighbor goes bad in the producer’s DC block. Dozens of rats are infesting her yard and attacking other houses. Produced for This American Life, “Neighbors,” and part of Katie’s Neighborhood Stories series. End music: Music: “Cheval Noir” Fug, Ready For Us..
“I can break the law because… I am the law.” Sleepless in Tbilisi. A twenty-four hour tour, from Turkish baths to Batumi beaches, through the country of Georgia, in Southwest Asia. High-speed sight-seeing, driven by the accidental tourguide: “a ‘detective,’ or ‘special police,’ or ‘security force.’ It’s not clear. Sometimes he even says ‘KGB,’ though that no longer exists… does it?” Music: “Dachrilis Simgera (Song for Wounded)” Tbilisi Vocal Ensemble, Georgian Folk and Sacred Songs (2002). (Annotated transcript.)
If you build it, they will buy… ‘least when “it” is PRX. The org had a great “Q2 2011: Public Radio Exchange,” with wild-ass growth in pieces and purchases, meaning more stories for stations and semolians for producers:
Q2 2011 is our biggest yet, lead by a record number of pieces purchased by stations, 4,363 (35% growth over Q2 2010). Over the coming weeks we’ll be sending out over $70,000 in royalty checks to producers and stations across the country for this quarter’s activity.
Part 1: A bike trip through Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, into windstorms, between snowbanks, and in the middle of a bison herd. Interviewees: Rick McAdam, Yellowstone Park Ranger; Geyser Gazers at Old Failthful; Kathy Urbigkit of Spin a Yarn, Dubois WY; Wolves in West Yellowstone MT.
Part 2: Finishing seven hundred miles of miking and mic-ing in Wyoming, riding north on the east side of Yellowstone,. encounting killers, hunters, special forces, and trips to Heaven. Interviewees: Dan Herring, Herring & Sons Taxidermy, Thermopolis WY; Special Forces members Buck Wilkerson (US Army retired) and David Owens (Tech Sergeant, US Air Force) at Honor Our Special Operations Forces Weekend, Memorial Day, Cody WY; Pastor William Hardrick, Kingdom of Heaven Embassy visiting his kids in Riverton WY (photo gallery).
The paving of America as seen from the shoulders and sidewalks of our country’s roads. Musings-in-motion recorded during a 5000 trek from Arizona to Georgia to Maine. “It is becoming illegal to travel this country by foot.” Music by Jeff Arntsen. (A longer version of this story is at Third Coast International Audio Festival.)
Bhutan is a land of prayer flags, Buddhism, and, like everywhere else: poverty, poor health, and domestic violence, Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuk believes her job is to increase the Gross National Happiness. To do that she treks into the most remote corners of the country, meeting people she’d otherwise never see, asking about their lives, helping them with health care issues, and working to end mistreatment of woman. Outer Voices accompanied her into an unmapped corner of the high Himalayas — they are the first foreign journalists invited to accompany a Bhutanese monarch on a trek, and to interview the Queen.
The Queen of Bhutan, Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, with her people (photo: Jack Chance)
Special thanks to Her Majesty Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuk, the staff and clients of RENEW Bhutan, Tshering Uden Penjor, Françoise Pommaret, Ariana Maki, the Royal Body Guard and the Royal Bhutan Army, the Zulikha Nunnery, Hotel Zhi Waling, and the people of Daifam, Zamtari, and Shinka Lauri villages.
RENEW = Respect Educate, Nurture and Empower Women, “an organization dedicated to the empowerment of vulnerable women of our society so that they can emerge as socially and economically independent members of their communities.”
From the British prime minister’s speech to the House of Commons, June 4 1940, preceding the Battle of Britain:
We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
From the benefit CD Path To Zero – A Prayer Cycle I(video below). Proceeds go to Global Zero, an international organization dedicated to nuclear disarmament. Some voices on the album: Sting (on “Atomic Mother”), Robert Downey Jr., Sinead O’Connor, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Jon Anderson of Yes, Angelique Kidjo, and Pakistan’s Rahat Fateh Ali Khan; along with archival tape, including a previously unreleased recording of Jim Morrison, performing a poem on the plight of Native Americans in Los Alamos, New Mexico. (Face: Prayer Cycle | Space: Jonathan Elias.), and J. Robert Oppenheimer, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
The recollections of Hiroshima survivor Kaz Suyeishi, rendered by two young Japanese woman, Kazuka and Kiyo. Alvin Huntsman performed the improvisational music by banging, scraping, and bowing several large sculptures by Gary Bates, including the “Wind Wagon,” a 35-foot multi-stringed banjo-like structure.
24 hours of programming dedicated to international radio creation broadcast simultaneously on radios all over the world.
a way of making people aware of the cultural richness that these radio stations can bring to today’s radiophonic landscape.
This promising Euro project sports a lengthy list of x-pond programs (FB pg). Listen online starting 2011-06-04 00:00:00 UTC+2 (French Time) = 2011-06-03 18:00:00 UTC-4 (Eastern Daylight Time).
Land of 10K Homeless is a Minneapolis music-audio documentary project by Voices of the Streets, “An Artistic Portrayal of Homelessness in Minnesota.” Thier “website of artistic activism provides a space for the disadvantaged to share their stories.” Producer Danny Burke created this mix of the main theme, blended with interviews with individuals staying at a family shelter in Minneapolis.
After leaving the Marines, George Hill became addicted to drugs and alcohol. He soon found himself on the streets of Los Angeles, homeless for 12 years. But the kindness of another homeless man changed everything. Hill is now off the streets, working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and pursuing a computer information systems degree at Cal State University. Recorded in Santa Monica, CA; part of StoryCorps’Griot Initiative.
A portrait of the self-named, Crazy John, who lives on the streets of Austin, Texas. He tells writer Carmen Delzell about his life. Carmen was homeless for a couple of years in the early 1990s. This piece was made after she got on her feet and was living in Austin. Produced by Jay Allison (PRX).
Boulder MT 9-year-old, Brigid Reedy, may be young, but she can yodel with the best of ’em. Mountain West Voices, a new series by producer Clay Scott, presents a radio portrait of this pre-teen musical tour-de-force, “The Yodeler” (5:00 mp3):
From One Thing: The producers spent a year talking to refugees living in USA about why they had to leave their country, how they got here, and what “One Thing” they brought with that reminds them of home. In this first of several stories from the series, the Sher Ali family, a mother and nine children, was the first Afghan family to be resettled in Amarillo, Texas in 2000. They fled the Taliban in the middle of the night with only the clothes they wore. Their one thing was a photo of their father. (Produced for Weekend America w/ photo gallery.)
The stories of Burmese refugees, the Karen people, recorded in the camps on the Thailand-Burma border, and in their new American homes. Thru it all their music preserves their culture. Part of The Mountain Music Project.
The One Thing for the Augustin family was their home movies. Their religious beliefs forced them out of Iraq: Mom Nujood is a Chaldean Christian and Dad Abdullahad is a Latin Catholic. The Augustins left a comfortable life in Baghdad for Jordan, where limited opportunities siphoned much of their savings. They arrived in Detroit, where son Arkan takes pre-med courses at the local community college, while working part-time at a grocery store. (Produced for Weekend America: From Iraq to Detroit.)
Starting with the fall of Saigon in April 1975, refugees from Vietnam awaited approval to move to the US and other countries. By 1979, there were almost 62,000 Vietnamese in refugee camps, with more than 140,000 people displaced from Cambodia and Laos. Portland, Oregon, was one of the medium-sized US cities that dealt with the relatively sudden influx of every major ethnic group (Vietnamese, Lao, Hmong, Mein and Cambodian) from Southeast Asia. More than 25 former refugees were interviewed for radio piece, and movie below.
Ellen Rocco, GM of North Country public Radio, has this memorial to the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP), a recently defunded .gov agency, that helped buy gear used to bring you your local pubradio:
The folks who run the PTFP are people you will never read about in the news or see on television. Bill Cooperman and his team are the kind of federal employees who belie all the nasty stereotypes we hear about “bureaucrats.” They are helpful, they want to see stations succeed, and they understand when unforeseen circumstances force changes in timelines (e.g., bad weather keeps us from installing a new facility as planned).
—Ellen, Rocco, “Alphabet soup, public radio and gratitude.”
Excellent essay on “The Power of Voice” by Siobhan McHugh. She shares a devastating tape-recording of Jan Graham, an Australian woman who reported the Vietnam War:
She wept as she told of finding the mutilated body of her lover, a Green Beret on surveillance with the US army. I offered to stop the tape, but she wanted to be purged of all the memories, and the worst was yet to come. Have a listen to the three minutes of tape here. It’s barely been edited, apart from where I shortened some of the pauses, as her grief was just unbearable:”
A quest for amnesia victims — it happens a lot more in movies, books and TV shows than real life. An attempt to find someone who has really had amnesia, to give someone amnesia, and to get it. Aired on This American Life “Get Over It!” and “The Friendly Man.”
A sonic journey documenting one woman’s loss of reality and descent into mental breakdown; a first-person account, with the voices of her friends who witnessed her collapse. Available as an audiobook: “Breakdown and Back.”
Want an interview w/ Jay Thunderbolt, At-Home Strip Club Manager? Well, bring money. If you can’t, bring booze. But not beer: Jay drinks Tequila. And he’ll drink the whole bottle with you in a couple hours, while unleashing The Wisdom of Jay Thunderbolt.
His face looks like that b/c he was shot in the head and left for dead — at 11yo. How much is a dance? “$10 with the g-string on; $20 with it off. No licking, sticking, biting or slapping.”
The piece is a Love + Radio podcast (28min) with some wonderful moments. Jay’s “Things I do know…” is pure poetry, as is the original music score by Brendan Baker — love that “Doberman” mix near the top.
Interviews with Merry Pranksters Mountain Girl (Carolyn Garcia) and Hardly Visible (George Walker); mixed with audio from the Prankster archives and other 60s esoterica. Produced for PRI Weekend America. (Above photo: courtesy of Zane Kesey.)