Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Brainstorm" aired tonight on WCAI

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Let me explain why this is so validating for me.

The show it airs on is called, "Arts and Ideas Radio." It's produced by Jay Allison.

Who's Jay Allison?

Ever listen to "This I Believe" on NPR on Sundays? That's Jay Allison.

Ever hear of Atlantic Public Media? That's Jay Allison.

Ever hear of WCAI & WNAN? Jay Allison is a founder of both stations.

Ever hear of (the FIRST website to ever win a Pulitzer)? That's Jay Allison.

Ever hear of ? That's Jay Allison.

Ever hear of "Nightline?" The real one, with Ted Koppel? That's Jay Allison.

You cut this guy, he bleeds documentaries and diodes.

He picked out "Brainstorm" from a SLEW of independently produced pieces (by people with far more experience, education, productions, connections and polish than I) over on PRX, where "Brainstorm" is listed.

Jay Allison picked something I produced to air on his show. He picked something I care about deeply, that affects me, personally, to air on his program.

I can't think of better validation, except that Paul Ingles has supported it -- and me -- enough to encourage me to offer it on PRX.

This is the biggest thing that's ever happened to me as a radio producer. It means I'm swimming in the deep end now.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Maybe rejection by NPR is a compliiment?

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This was rejected by NPR because -- well, they chickened.

Could we wangle this for Radio Theatre?

Here's what I wrote in a discussion of the piece:

Larry Massett said, "the rule is nobody listens to a single piece that long." Yeah, well, KUNM has an hour call in show; the lines are always full when time runs out. They broadcast specials on Sunday mornings, and actually prefer 1/2 to 1 hr pieces -- not to fill air, but because our listeners like hearing things in depth. We've run Radio Theatre, one of the LAST venues for original plays, for years and have no intentions of losing it, because it's so appreciated. Every documentary I do for Sunday Specials is an hour: how should I discuss Native American Veterans with PTSD, brain injury or the lives of a single mom and her two developmentally and physically challenged daughters with the intimacy and focus on healing these subjects deserve if I don't allow the listeners time to absorb the content? Maybe commercial radio and, more insidiously, TELEVISION, have so corrupted not the audience attention span, but the MINDSETS of PRODUCERS that the latter can no longer conceive of life as more than a sound bite and an Arbitron rating.

There was a time in my life when I aspired to be "as good as NPR." When it comes to skill, technique, richness of sound and just plain quality of broadcast, that will always be true -- unless NPR finally and totally loses its collective mind.

But I came to community radio through KPFK. Ok, sure, sometimes it's polemic, strident, some might even say paranoid and delusional, at times. It can be technically sloppy. It can be one-sided (but, after the invasion of Iraq, and NPR's "coverage," well, speaking of "sloppy!"). But one thing about KPFK was that it was sincere, usually. I cut my teeth on sincere broadcasting, and that will always resonate with me. NPR's self conscious quirky/cutesy tendencies sometimes make me want to slap Scott Simon with Leanne Hansen or is it the other way around?

I'm a woman. I know the shock & awe of the stirruped nether regions. I also know a good rack (of lamb) when I see one. I also know a little about women's liberation, pansexuality and the deformity of culture through unnatural gender roles.

More men need to speak like this. ALL men, AND women, need to HEAR men speaking like this. If beltway dainty NPR can't listen to this, that says something profound and frightening about NPR. 'course, after eight years of an administration which treated everything honest, sincere and real in the world with contempt, I wonder if I can blame them for their timidity. Maybe things will lighten up for awhile now.

If it were customary in our culture to speak of our bodies and their amusements and frailties with this sort of honesty, we wouldn't live in a world of Seven Deadly Words. If we loved ourselves, nothing about our bodies would be "dirty." Messy, yes, and smelly and often sticky, but not dirty.

They say you're only as sick as your secrets. Imagine: if we could speak openly about our bodies, how many men wouldn't needlessly die of prostate cancer, or women of breast and ovarian cancer, because they were too "ashamed" and afraid to seek treatment?

Isn't it ironic that it is those who've nearly died of disease who often have the most healthy perspective on their bodies?

Yeah, hot flashes, dude. Men THINK they're tough. One hot flash, and that's all over. Try losing a pregnancy. "Women are not afraid to talk about their bodies." Well, most of us don't know what our genitals look like. Too many of us have never experienced orgasm. A lot of us don't know what a clitoris is, and quite a few of us who DO know only know because the culture we live in expects us to cut it off. No, dude, you do NOT know a woman's experience. Buying shoes is not hormonal; it's a symptom of women's feelings of powerlessness. But we do talk with each other, apparently, a lot more often than you dudes do about stuff that's real.

I'm going to leave this page, copy and paste the URL for this show and post it to the KUNM Ideas List, in hopes we might find a way to broadcast this, maybe as Radio Theatre. 'course, people would probably like to get PAID to have this air on our station, and we don't have a budget for either Sunday Specials or Radio Theatre, so it's probably a moot point.

The music was awesome!

Don't stop doing real radio, no matter how many rejections you get. You're good at it