Today the 2012 World Science Festival kicks off in venues across New York City. Two memories that jump out at me from past events are Bobby McFerrin’s demonstration of the universality of the pentatonic scale and string theorist Jim Gates’ story about encountering “God” on an Icelandic mountaintop.
Making quality public radio and illustrating a guest’s point can be a tricky. Take, for instance, the poem going into the midpoint break of our interview with Sarah Kay. The clip is excerpted from Ms. Kay’s June 2010 performance of “Tshotsholoza” at the Acumen Fund’s *spark! event in New York City.
Which piece of music would you choose to complement Wendell Berry reading his poems?
Hear Russell talk about the meaning and influence of music in her writing.
Picking actualities and music elements is no small task, and we take it seriously. Here's our approach.
This presidential election feels like it’s moving at gastropod’s pace. As subtle as a leviathan, this large body exerts an irresistable gravitational force on everything around it. We keep talking about it here in the office, but we’re also wondering how much politics we can all handle, and trying to balance relevance against saturation.
We’re trying to give voice to some interesting people during this election season, but next week, we’ll back off the political stuff and re-air our show on autism. Following that, a show on leadership, religion, gender, and race with the dynamic preacher Vashti McKenzie. It’s about her but also very much about the issue of biography in this election cycle.
Then comes the weekend prior to the election. What to do…
We will be airing a repeat that week, and the question came up: relevance or saturation? Can we provide a non-political alternative, or should we offer something useful for the occasion? We decided that we couldn’t well ignore the reality of the situation — gravitational pull.
We asked for your song recommendations, and you delivered scores of them.
Just settling on a good program title can spur quite a bit of debate during our editorial sessions, with more considerations than you might expect.
Krista interviewed Nasr in early August with the intention of broadcasting it quickly. But sometimes it takes the perspective of a person inside a tradition to help us see things differently.
These are just some ideas we’ll be researching this summer:
- The ethics of international aid, the moral impulse behind it, and the relationship between wealthy and poor countries as a matter of policy
- Music… The “music show” idea just won’t die, but we just can’t seem to find a way to pin down such a broad topic
- The spiritual scene in China right now as its economy soars and it hosts the Olympics
- Gay marriage, as Kate posted earlier
- The relationship between humans and animals, the bonds that exist there
- The ups and downs of the faith angle in the U.S. presidential campaign/marathon/extended director’s cut of Lord of the Rings
We’re digging up some great names and speakers, but don’t be shy about suggesting someone.
Our senior editor traces the atypical path of developing and producing this program and its Web elements.
With fewer travel commitments in the coming months, we’ll have more time to set up interviews and produce programs. So, we’re currently pursuing a number of interesting voices, recording interviews, and producing shows with interviews we’ve recently completed. Which all means that in the coming weeks and months, you may be hearing shows on:
- the resurgence of Humanism
- the state of the Catholic Church
- the ethics of international law and the torture issue
- the sustainability of languages
- a biographical program on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
- a round-table discussion with several prominent Evangelical Christians on how their political engagement has changed since the last election
A lot can change during the production process, but we are working on getting these shows on the air and on the Web. Just a little sneak peek at what’s cooking.