I’ve been working under the hood of the Public Radio Player this week to organize our database of programs, stations, and streams. In the process, I’ve come across a number of programs with titles that simply jump off the page. By their names alone, I am willing to count myself among their fans.
Here are some of the great ones:
August 5th, 2010 → 4:48 pm @ rene // Comments Off
Tapping through the Public Radio Player I found myself diving into guilty pleasures — pop culture and celebrities — and being pleasantly surprised with KCRW’s Guest DJ Project. You can find it by going into On Demand, then Categories, then Pop Culture.
Artists, entrepreneurs, chefs, and an array of other cultural icons share who they are through their personal musical tastes. From Tyler Perry to Cillian Murphy to Anthony Bourdain, KCRW gives a unique twist to the idea of celebrity by having them bring and explain five music faves. While these people are public figures, the intimate setting of the KCRW studio brings out deeper stories that make me feel like I’m a fly on the wall in their one-on-one conversation with the host. When Tyler Perry recalls his mother calling him right after she heard a Boyz II Men song, I could tell this wasn’t just another publicity interview. Finding meaning in specific songs is something we all can relate to.
Each guest DJ gets around 10 minutes so each program is short, sweet, and straight to the point. The Guest DJ Project website has playlists, information, and a transcript of each interview.
Rene Dongo is a senior at Emerson College majoring in Film Production. He’s interning at PRX this summer, and he’s always asking to borrow the iPod.
July 30th, 2010 → 10:30 am @ josh // Comments Off
The famed Newport Folk Festival takes place this weekend, and the Public Radio Player is your all-access pass. WFUV, in New York City, and Folk Alley will both be live-streaming from the festival on Saturday and Sunday. This year’s lineup includes Levon Helm, Andrew Bird, The Avett Brothers, The Swell Season, and Blitzen Trapper. The complete performance schedule is posted on the festival’s website, so make your plans for a music-filled weekend. You can find WFUV and Folk Alley in the Live section of the Public Radio Player.
July 14th, 2010 → 3:14 pm @ josh // Comments Off
Radio has the power to stop you in your tracks. But some public radio programs go a step further — they grab you by the ears and don’t let go. You can find a number of programs of this variety under the Documentary category in the Public Radio Player’s On Demand section. Here a few to check out:
Third Coast Podcast — The Third Coast International Audio Festival has long celebrated the art of the audio documentary, and their weekly podcast is a great window into the genre. The program includes segments from their program Re:sound, along with a number of other audio delights collected from near and far.
Hearing Voices — Hearing Voices from NPR is a weekly collection of audio reports connected by a theme. Episodes can take a variety of forms and may include personal stories, sound-portraits, slam poets, docs, dramas, features, and found-sound.
RadioLab – RadioLab is a show for the curious. Recent topics: lucky lobsters, unintended consequences, and face-blindness. Each episode is an audio adventure, to say the least.
Changing World — A sister series of the daily international news program The World. Changing World offers in-depth radio documentaries from the BBC World Service that will enlighten your understanding of global affairs.
This American Life — Just when you think you’ve got This American Life figured out (i.e., David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, and squirrel cops), they manage to astound you with new episodes. Their coverage of the economic crisis – most recently in a collaboration with the investigative non-profit ProPublica – has taken TAL’s journalism to new levels.
American RadioWorks – American RadioWorks is a longtime producer of top-notch radio documentaries and investigative reports. Recent productions have focused on coal and global warming, the war on poverty, and the politics of textbooks in America.
You can find these programs and more in the On Demand section of the Public Radio Player.
July 6th, 2010 → 10:35 am @ josh // Comments Off
The halls of public radio stations have become alarmingly hip over the last few years. Once the domain of non-fiction authors in tweed, the egg-heads are now rubbing shoulders with rockers as public radio has become a sought-after stop for pop musicians on tour. You can find a number of great programs on the Public Radio Player where big name artists and up-and-comers alike play live for public radio audiences. Here are a few to check out:
KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic — MBE has been broadcasting a wonderful collection of tunes to LA listeners for over 30 years. A few times a week, they invite artists to play live in studio. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Dr. Dog, and Broken Bells are among the latest musical acts to appear.
Sound Opinions — This rock ‘n roll talk show isn’t all talk. Weekly guests are known to belt out a song or two. Recent guests include Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders (at thepretenders(dot)com), French popsters Phoenix, and the British electronic trio The XX. (Sound Opinions is distributed by PRX, makers of the Public Radio Player. If you like the show, encourage your local station to carry it.)
Live in Concert from All Songs Considered — Curated by NPR’s All Songs Considered team, this series brings you live concerts from across the country. Check out the latest shows from The New Pornographers, The Kinks, and Hot Chip.
KEXP Live Performances — Seattle’s KEXP is known for being on the cutting edge of new music and their live performance podcast is a great way to keep pace with the youth of America. Get exposed to new artists like Unbunny, Giant Squid, and Spoonshine.
All these shows can be found in the On Demand section of the Public Radio Player, and be sure to browse through the music section to find more great music programs available to stream on your iPhone.
June 25th, 2010 → 4:14 pm @ josh // Comments Off
The popular blog Boing Boing has a great post that takes you behind the scenes of the public radio show The Sound of Young America. Boing Boing editor Mark Frauenfelder was recently a guest on TSOYA and found himself intrigued by the home recording studio built by host Jesse Thorn. Following the taping, the tables were turned and Thorn found himself being interviewed about how he creates radio outside of a traditional studio environment. It’s a neat look into how TSOYA works and what goes into making a public radio program.
You can find The Sound of Young America (a program Salon.com’s Audiofile once described as “the greatest radio show you’ve never heard“) in the On Demand Section of the Public Radio Player. The Frauenfelder interview is scheduled for next week’s episode.
June 16th, 2010 → 2:48 pm @ josh // Comments Off
Congratulations go out to a number of public radio stations for taking home 2010 National Edward R. Murrow Awards. The prestigious awards are handed out by the Radio Television Digital News Association and recognize excellence in electronic journalism. And the icing on the cake: you can stream all these award-winning stations on the Public Radio Player!
Among the winners:
In addition to the success of these local stations, NPR picked up national awards for Audio Reporting: Hard News, Audio News Documentary, Audio Sports Reporting, and Website.
June 11th, 2010 → 12:47 pm @ josh // Comments Off
It’s been said that football is the real global language. The BBC’s World Have Your Say is taking that saying to heart and setting up shop in Soweto, South Africa to celebrate the start of the World Cup. World Have Your Say plans to place the tournament at the center of its global conversations for the coming weeks and examine the significance of this sporting clash-of-nations. Two of the initial topics from South Africa: a discussion that asks where football fits in the list of mankind’s great inventions and one comparing the importance of South Africa hosting the World Cup with Nelson Mandela’s release.
If you’re not familiar with World Have Your Say, it’s a live talk program that aims to give global perspectives to current affairs by soliciting calls and emails from listeners around the world. The show’s website keeps the conversation going 24 hours a day. Today, they are experimenting with Google Translate to create a multi-language chat board, and fans from around the world are showing their national pride and boasting how their team will win the World Cup.
You can find all the World Cup episodes from World Have Your Say in the On Demand section of the Public Radio Player.
May 26th, 2010 → 1:12 pm @ josh // Comments Off
Let the Public Radio Player kick-start your summer music plans. Open the Player to WDAV 88.9 or South Carolina ETV Radio for live broadcasts from the famed Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. Now in its fourth decade, Spoleto is one of the world’s leading performing arts festivals, bringing top talent to Charleston to celebrate music, theatre, and the visual arts. WDAV and SCETV Radio are teaming up to broadcast live performances and behind-the-scenes discussions each weekday during the fest. The broadcasts begin this Friday, May 28, at 11 am EDT. The Spoleto Festival runs through June 13th. Tune in and enjoy!
May 24th, 2010 → 8:42 am @ josh // Comments Off
It wasn’t long ago that a “mobile website” meant a bare-bones, text-only browsing experience. Today, the mobile web is quite a different place, and many mobile sites are packed with rich multimedia features. Public radio organizations are among those making a splash on the mobile web.
The Public Radio Player is what you call a native app — it’s a piece of software designed specifically for the iPhone. (Android version coming soon!) In contrast, a mobile site is quite simply a website formatted for viewing on a smartphone and can be accessed by any web-enabled phone.
While the universal access of a mobile website is attractive, developing native apps has advantages. Native apps can, for example, harness all the fancy features of a smartphone — the camera, GPS, and the accelerometer, just to name a few. To accommodate the greatest number of streaming audio formats, the Public Radio Player remains better off as a native app. But the mobile web is evolving rapidly and the line between native apps and mobile websites is beginning to blur.
NPR launched their first mobile site in 2007 and has continually upgraded the site (found at m.npr.org) as mobile web standards have improved. The site provides access to the all NPR news stories, and audio from hourly newscasts and a number of NPR produced programs. NPR also provides stations the ability to import local news feeds and audio to create a local presence within the NPR mobile site.
A handful of local stations have established their own mobile sites. Three great examples are WBUR in Boston (the site recognizes mobile browsers at wbur.org), KPBS in San Diego (mobile.kpbs.org), and Minnesota Public Radio (m.mpr.org). These sites focus on providing local and national headlines, and links to on-air schedules and programs. The KPBS and WBUR mobile sites allow you to stream live audio as well (and you can close Safari and the audio plays on while you access other apps!). Hop on your phone and check out these impressive examples of public radio on the mobile web.