Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year - New Number! 1-877-GLOBE-07

Joe Hardtke

I'm very excited to announce a new approach to the way listeners can contact Here on Earth, one that we hope will even the playing field for everyone.

Since the beginning of this show, listeners to our broadcast and live webstream would call a toll-free number, meet our on-air producer and be ushered through to the program. Podcast listeners never really had that same opportunity. Sure, you could send an e-mail, or write to us at the blog, but we never actually could hear your voices. We initially tried to have our podcast listeners call our office, but it was a separate number, it was hard to remember and it wasn't toll-free.

Starting January 2nd, with our first new broadcast of the year, we hope to change all of that. We've set aside a catchy new toll-free number that can be used by everyone - radio listeners, podcast listeners, webstream listeners... Everyone.

Here it is: 1-877-GLOBE-07. That's 1-877-GLOBE-zero-seven. For those inclined not to use words on their phone, it's 1-877-456-2307. Either way you use it, we're calling it the Here on Earth Hotline, and here's how it works.

During the live show, the number will work for all of our live callers. You would call in just like you normally would, talk to our on-air producer and be put through to Jean. But when the show's over, the Hotline will remain open for our podcast listeners to join in the fun. By calling 1-877-GLOBE-07, you'll reach our automatic voicemail system, inviting you to leave your comments on what you just heard, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These voicemails will automatically be sent, as an audio file, to the e-mail inbox of yours truly.

How will we use your messages? If you call after the show, we'll play your comments back during our Here on Earth Mailbag segment, which we hope to do around once a week. But better yet, if you call about upcoming shows, we can have our guests respond to your questions on the air. Just remember to check in here or at hereonearth.org to find out what's coming up.

To our listeners overseas: We understand toll-free numbers sometimes won't work for international calls. I wish we could change that, but it remains out of our hands. However, you can still e-mail us, leave your thoughts here at the blog, or call the non-toll-free number for the Here on Earth Hotline. That's 1-608-890-0269. It's the same line as the 877 number above and it works the same way.

So there you have it... 1-877-GLOBE-07. The Here on Earth Hotline. Anyone can call, anyone can comment, anytime, any time zone. Because we want to hear all of your voices, even you, Here on Earth.

Monday, December 29, 2008

International Gay Rights - Airdate - 12/29/08 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 12/29/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

The Vatican recently emitted a negative response to France’s proposed addition of Gay Rights to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

During the last ten years there has been a growing acceptance of homosexuality - at least in most parts of North America and Europe. Also, in many countries, homosexuality's taboo status seems to be on a path of erosion. There's a lot of public debate - both for, against and in the fuzzy in-between. This is significant.

That brings us to some fundamental questions. In regards to homosexuality, how does the US compare to other nations? Moreover, what are the roots to an apparent global homophobia? Hopefully this coming Wednesday we'll air a show on the global historical context, the current situation around the world, and the transformations societies are experiencing in liberalizing homosexuality.

I would appreciate anyone's input and leads for potential guests, events and articles for this upcoming show. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Touch: Cross-Cultural, Communication and Health

Update - 12/23/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Patrick Peczerski

Today we're airing a program on touch. There's a whole field of science that studies touch called "haptic communication" We started from the premise that touch is healthy (see these studies) and that in general Americans are averse to touch. During today's show Jean will explore with her guests how much people touch in different cultures and how health and communication can be improved through touch and massage.

Below is a funny parody on the man hug. Joe Hardtke made an edited version for the show, and because it's so hilarious we decided to post the full version.

I'm curious to know what your experiences with touch have been. Have you ever committed a touch taboo? How do you respond to touch? Are you very protective of your personal space?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Scent and Smell


Patrick Peczerski

Some show ideas at Here on Earth start with a single topic together with passion.  Ever since I can remember scent and smell as been an integral part of me; memory, food, music, love, people and places for me have always had a strong association with smell.  That has brought me to ponder: what is the role of smell?  More specifically, what is the role of smell in memory, love, food, and even politics?  How is perfume made? 

Dear listeners, I need your assistance in producing this program.  What do you want to know about scent and smell?  What are your favorite aromas?  I look forward to your comments, leads and suggestions. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Women and Shari'a - Airdate - 12/4 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 12/4/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from the Inside Islam archive. Let us know what you think!

Joe Hardtke

I hope you were listening along this afternoon to our latest Inside Islam program, Women and Shari'a. Personally, I found the show enlightening with lots of recurring themes (patriarchy, Islamic social norms) that demand more exploration.

The call volume today was something to behold. Lots of you had an opinion on this subject and I'm sorry we couldn't fit you all in. Here's the next best thing: Please post your thoughts here, or better yet, visit our good friend Kaitlin at the Inside Islam blog. She writes quite a bit on the subject and I know she'd love to have your feedback.

Thanks again for listening and for contributing here at the Blog Without Borders.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mumbai's 9/11 - Airdate - 12/3 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 12/3/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Here on Earth is planning a program this Wednesday in response to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last week. We're looking for guests, particularly people who can set these events in an international context. Do any of you have suggestions?

Update: Joe Hardtke

I hope you were able to tune in today. We had a great show with Professor Aseema Sinha and writer/blogger Sonia Faleiro. Thanks for all the suggestions. I know we chose to go with different guests due to the last minute nature of the program, but we often do book the people you bring up so keep those ideas coming!

Come to think of it, we had a comment at our Facebook page today mentioning we book Matt Harding of the "Dancing Matt" YouTube videos. He has a new book coming out, in fact. Maria and I plan to pitch the idea to Jean. I don't know if she's seen Matt's fancy footwork yet!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama vs. Osama - Airdate - 11/26/08 - 4 p.m. (EST)

Update - 11/26/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Joe Hardtke

So we put together a terrific show today on Al Qaeda's latest video where Ayman al-Zawahri insults Barack Obama by comparing him unfavorably to slain civil rights leader Malcolm X. It provoked some fascinating analysis and speculation over the past few days, so we decided to ask the question: Does the election of Barack Obama heighten or reduce the possibility of another terrorist attack? How worried should we be?

I was very happy with how the show turned out. We addressed some long-standing questions about American Muslims, their hopes and concerns about President-Elect Obama and his foreign policy position. I only had one regret: I booked Dr. Lewis Baldwin to the show and due to some technical problems with his phone, we weren't able to get him on the air. But all is not lost. After the show, we asked Professor Baldwin if he would like to post some thoughts about Malcolm X and his beliefs in regards to this current debate. He happily agreed.

I expect him to post his reaction to the program sometime in the next week, so please pay a return visit to the Blog and read on!

And to Dr. Baldwin, thanks so much for your patience and kindness. I hope we can have you back on our airwaves someday soon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saving The Coral Reefs - Airdate - 11/25/08 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 11/25/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Joe Hardtke

So my wife and I were digging the dolphins at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium when we ran into something that I hope to share with all of you.

The exhibit was called Wild Reef and it's been around for a few years now. It detailed the work scientists have been doing with fisherman on Apo Island in the Philippines. It seems their reefs were in very bad shape, but by incorporating research with traditional fishing practices, Apo was able to save their reef.

It's been a long process taking a couple of decades, but now researchers are spreading this success to other islands. The key, it seemed, in the exhibit was researchers working with the residents on Apo, not for them, in finding the right practices that saved the reef and the fishermen.

I'm in contact with the Shedd about possibly doing a program. Have you seen the exhibit? Do you know of any other reef researchers?

Update: I've learned through my research that the Shedd's efforts are part of a larger initiative. It's called Project Seahorse and it's attracted the talent of marine biologists worldwide. We're expanding the scope of our program to discuss the project with Shedd Aquarium Director of Fishes George Parsons. I hope to book a couple more international guests to the show. Are you aware of the Project or any of the aquariums involved?

Update: I'm happy to report we've booked two guests from Project Seahorse to the show. Amanda Vincent is the director and co-founder of the organization and Jonathan Anticamara is a PhD candidate who conducted research on fish in the central Philippines. It should be a great show. I hope you can join us. Have you seen the Shedd's exhibit? Have you snorkeled in marine conservation areas? We'd love to hear from you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cuisines of the Axis of Evil - Airdate - 11/21/08 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 11/21/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Maria Putzer

As much as we would have enjoyed having Chris Fair, the author of Cuisines of the Axis of Evil on the show on Friday, she is unable to join as she will be in Iraq until November. Be sure to look for a show with her in early November!

In the mean time, we're working on a show about doughnuts or mushrooms. Any guest suggestions?

Update: Joe Hardtke

So as you may have heard, Chris Fair was able to join us for a lively jaunt through the world's wildest meals. It was so fun, we didn't want it to stop, so we invited Chris here to the blog!

At the end of the show, Chris promised to share the Iranian recipe for Khoresh-e-Fesanjan. Sometime over the weekend, expect Chris to respond to this post with the goods. Enjoy! And thanks, Chris!


Update - 12/2/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Patrick Peczerski

One of our listeners recently sent us an email about a Cistercian Monastery in central Wisconsin that sells ink toner and cartragdes.  

Why are they involved in business you might wonder?  I was unware of this but Roman Catholic Monasteries in America must be self-sufficent.  I also learned that the business is doing so well (sales in the single digit millions) that they're able to donate the majority of their profits to charity.

Why would I buy from a Monk?  First, I immediatly trust them.  Also, I feel like what they sell will be of good quality.    This brings me to think - what lessons can laic, main-stream businesses learn from this ecclesiastical enterprise?  Can business make big bucks and be good at the same time?  Would you buy from a monk?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bryan Sirchio - "Feeding Haiti"

Update - 11/12/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Joe Hardtke

So if you listened to today's program on Margaret Trost and her work in Haiti, you met singer-songwriter Bryan Sirchio. Bryan wrote the song at the top of the hour, "Staring At My Overflowing Plate," and he joined us by phone near the end of the show. Bryan mentioned he was planning an upcoming trip to the island. Bryan if you see this post, please respond and fill us in. How can we join you on the trip and what do we need to prepare for the experience?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Music of Sesame Street - Airdate - 11/13 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 11/13/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Joe Hardtke

So our friends at Putumayo World Music recently released an awesome compilation of music around the world that was featured on Sesame Street. Check it out...

I think there's a program here with really great questions. How do you write for kids? How do you introduce universal values without coming across as forceful or overbearing? What songs did you grow up singing?

Dan and I are working on this one. Maybe we can book it for next week. I'll keep you posted.

Update: We now have three guests confirmed for this show. Gary Knell is President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, the producers of Sesame Street. Mona Kayhan is the director of Putumayo World Music's children's label. And finally, Javier Williams is the executive producer of Plaza Sesamo, the Mexican version of Sesame Street. Rosita the Muppet, unfortunately, was not available for the program.

Rosita aside, it still should be a great show! Our question for you here at the Blog Without Borders: What songs did you grow up singing? (Maybe this one?) How important was music to your childhood? Post your comments here and we'll read them back on the 13th!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The World and President Obama - Airdate - 11/6 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 11/6/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Joe Hardtke

As you've probably noticed by now, we've postponed a few of our shows this week to devote more time to Barack Obama's victory in Tuesday's election. We were joined by Parker Palmer today who reflected on Obama's background and tomorrow we turn it over to the journalists who covered this election for news agencies abroad.

We've all heard the reports: Parisians were overjoyed, Russians were muted, Kenyans had a national holiday while Iraqis remained skeptical. I quickly booked two wonderful journalists to the program to relay what they've seen. Marc Chavannes reported from Washington for the Dutch paper NRC Handelsblad and Charlayne Hunter-Gault commented on African perspectives for CNN, NPR and others. We hope to book a journalist from the BBC. I'll let you know if that happens tomorrow.

In the meantime, we have a question for you: What do you think will happen to our image abroad during an Obama presidency?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Next Space Race

Dan Rosinsky-Larsson

The stunning photos of the earth released by the India's Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft the other day, combined with China's first space walk just over a month ago are bringing several countries into the realm of seriously advanced scientific research. Is this the next space race?

These programs have being gaining significant controversy in their home countries, not least because of the poverty of their citizens. Is it right to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Space when millions of citizens are going hungry?


Dan Rosinsky-Larsson

Hi, I'm Daniel Rosinsky-Larsson, and I'm a producer for Here on Earth. I've worked for this show off and on for about a year, and I'm most excited by the chance to do programs on topics that just don't get covered elsewhere. We've got a couple exciting ideas for shows coming up that I'll be writing posts on, and I'd be grateful if any of you have suggestions for potential guests or topics we may want to include on the program.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Life in a Jar - Airdate - 10/27 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 10/27/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Maria Putzer

If it had not been for three high school girls in Kansas, we might never have known about the work of Irena Sendler, an unsung heroine of the Holocaust. A Polish Catholic social worker, she saved about 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto. Today on Here on Earth, we'll talk with Sendler's translator Kinga Krzeminska and Megan Felt, a member of the 1999 class that started the Life in a Jar Project. Please call in (1-800-642-1234) from 3 to 4 pm CST to give us your thoughts or leave us a comment here!

Young Muslims and New Media - Airdate - 10/29 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 10/29/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Jean Feraca

While gearing up for this Wednesday’s Inside Islam program: Young Muslims and New Media, I found myself thinking a lot about the question Colin Powell posed to Tom Brokaw on last Sunday’s Meet the Press.

He said he was troubled by some members of the Republican Party who were helping to spread the rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim. “Well, he’s not a Muslim,” Powell said. “He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the right answer is, Well, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in America? Is there something wrong with some seven year old Muslim-American kid believing that he could be president?”

So, that’s the question I’d love to hear your responses to. We’ll read the best ones on the air this Wednesday between 3:00 and 4:00CT during our special broadcast with Reza Aslan and other media analysts.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Love & Travel

Maria Putzer

Answering calls during yesterday's show was fantastic - it was really wonderful to hear all the listener stories about falling in love overseas.

One listener story that you didn't get to hear on the air yesterday was that of a man named Louis. He had called in but unfortunately couldn't stay on the line long enough for us to get him on the show. He's originally from California and his wife is from Wisconsin. When he was traveling in Mexico, his wallet got stolen and he had to find work at a resort to make enough money to get back home. At the resort, he met his future wife who was vacationing there. They hit it off and they've been married for 3 years now.

What a sweet story - it sounds almost like a movie or a book to me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Walking Through Beijing

Jean Feraca

Today's program with Daniel Raven-Ellison, the creator of Urban Earth who walks through cities taking photographs every eight steps, reminded me of the unforgettable walk I took way off the beaten track in Beijing a year ago last October. It took me through one of the most poverty-stricken "hutongs" - the Chinese word for a traditional neighborhood. All that separated this hutong from the city proper was a pasteboard facade on the main boulevard that was obviously intended to keep curious passerbys from entering. But we got through anyway and were frankly shocked by the piles of refuse, the ancient crumbling buildings broken up for multiple family use, the occasional filthy wok, and the general pervasive air of malaise and neglect. There was no color at all, and no sound; even the air was a thick grimy gray. And then, suddenly, there was a tiny flash of gold rounding the corner on the back of a bicycle. The man peddling the bike was pulling a goldfish that was sloshing around in a bowl. Water was flipping out of the bowl and it looked like the goldfish might go that way too. It took me a while to realize that the man was trying to make a sale.

I was lucky to get this glimpse of "the real Beijing" before it was all torn down by government officials anxious to save face in preparation for last summer's Olympic Games. What we saw on television was a fabulous spectacle and jaw-dropping futuristic architecture. But what I remember was that man and that goldfish.

Wynton And Me...

Joe Hardtke

Just a non-Here on Earth side note for you...

You may have read my post a couple of weeks back detailing my adventures recording Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in Stevens Point.

Well, I'm happy to report we now have an airdate for the concert: Friday, November 14th at 9 p.m. (Central Time) on our sister stations in Wisconsin Public Radio's News and Classical Network. Wisconsinites can find their local frequency at the bottom of this link and listeners worldwide can live-stream the program here the night of the 14th.

I'm very proud of how the recording turned out and I hope you all enjoy the show.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What Vampires Eat - Airdate - 10/31/08 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 10/31/08: "What Vampires Eat" has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Joe Hardtke

So I'm thinking of putting a odd spin on our Food Friday shows by booking a program on "The Vampire Diet" for October 31st. The traditional vampire is a global topic, with variations on the legend worldwide. These days, of course, American pop culture has introduced the western take on vampires to cinema screens, TVs, books and websites across the continents.

But I want to go further than just an exploration on vampire folklore!

My initial thought is to spoof our typical food show by talking about vampires as if we were to cook for them. Imagine a Here on Earth guest relaying the following: "Romanian counts are always up for a late night snack rich in high-protein human blood but light on the garlic, of course. These days, some American vampires, like those in the book and movie Twilight, are dating humans and finding other nutritional sources."

The first guest to come to mind is anthropologist Neil Whitehead, a good friend of show and enthusiast of all things dark and Gothic. But the ideas are still coming together, so if you know a better way to shape this conversation, or great guests, do let me know!

Update: I'm happy to say we've booked Neil to the show, but I'm working on a second guest. Perhaps Peter Watts, as suggested by Brian in the comments below.

Update: We've just booked Charlaine Harris to the show. You might know Charlaine from her Sookie Stackhouse series of vampire novels which inspired the new HBO series True Blood. Neil and Charlaine: A perfect mix of vamp history and fiction!

Post your questions for Neil and Charlaine right here (or call the Here on Earth Hotline - 608-890-0269) and we'll read them back during the show!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our Fall Pledge Drive

Joe Hardtke

So have you considered contributing to Here on Earth and Wisconsin Public Radio?

We're right in the middle of our fall pledge drive as I type and the halls are buzzing with activity. Here on Earth has done it's part so far, raising a little over two grand. But, personally speaking, I've always been proud of our ability to attract first-time pledges. We've seen wonderful figures in past drives where up to 60% of our pledges were brand new members, many of them from our web visitors. That's a substantial number and it's due to people like you.

With your help, we can prove that on-line listeners are willing to support web-friendly radio and public podcasting with their dollars. Please consider pledging right now and tell 'em you're supporting Here on Earth. I don't care how much you pledge. It can be five dollars. It can be five hundred. I just want to hear from a lot of you. And you can help by becoming a member of Wisconsin Public Radio today.


Friday, October 3, 2008

These Are Busy Days...

Joe Hardtke

It's been a bit quiet at the Blog Without Borders lately. It's not due to laziness, I assure you.

When I'm not producing the sound of Here on Earth, I assist in recording other programs and special features for our parent network, Wisconsin Public Radio. Well, imagine my delight when I learned I was tapped to record Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra when they played the Sentry Theater in Stevens Point. That news came back in August. In the past two weeks I spent nearly every free moment preparing for this huge event.

On Tuesday night, I packed a 28-channel mixing console, scores of microphones and miles of cable into a van and drove two hours north to Stevens Point. On Wednesday, while Jean was talking with the Sugar Creek Morland Project, I was lugging gear backstage at the Sentry and putting together a remote studio. When the curtain went up at 7:30 p.m., my hands were on the faders, working very carefully to capture a terrific performance by Wynton and his band.

Since getting back to Madison on Thursday morning, I've listened to the concert twice in it's entirety. I must say I'm quite happy with how it turned out. The plan is to air the complete show in the next few weeks. No date has been scheduled yet, but I can tell you it will air through our sister stations on the WPR News and Classical Network. I'll try to give you a heads up when the date is announced.

Back Here on Earth, what a show today, huh? I never, ever could have imagined us doing a show on eating moose. But, hey, that's the magic of this program: To take you places you've never been where people do things you've never experienced.

And to make it all feel more human.

One more thing about today's show: I'm often asked, "Where did you get that piece of sound??" My most common answer these days: YouTube. Without a doubt, it is the pop culture repository. You can find anything on YouTube. Today we aired an excerpt from an old school 1964 Woody Allen routine on moose. As a treat, here's the complete routine, courtesy of my favorite aforementioned video utopia.

See (hear) you next week...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Inside Islam Chat with Mark LeVine

Joe Hardtke

Hey everyone! I'm just writing with an update on the Inside Islam chat with Mark LeVine, author of Heavy Metal Islam.

The chat will begin immediately after the broadcast ends at 5 p.m. (EST). You can join the chatroom at that time by going to the Inside Islam blog and following the instructions posted there tomorrow. Our Inside Islam blogger, Kaitlin, will moderate the chat along with Jean Feraca and maybe the rest of our staff joining in. (Hey, I went through my metal phase just like you.)

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

An Exciting Week...

Joe Hardtke

I hope you've been enjoying our programs this week, because big things are afoot behind the scenes at Here on Earth.

Thursday brings the broadcast debut of our Inside Islam series with a program on Heavy Metal. With it comes some cool little tricks from the Here on Earth interactive playbook. Heavy Metal Islam author Mark LeVine and Heavy Metal In Baghdad director Suroosh Alvi are the guests.

You'll be able to reach them live in all our usual ways: You can call our live number 1-800-642-1234. You can also instant message hereonearthradio at AOL or MSN, send an e-mail or post your thoughts at the Inside Islam blog or here at the Blog Without Borders. You could even leave your message before the show at our Here on Earth hotline.

But what excites me most is what we'll be doing after program. We're planning a post-show chat on-line with Jean and Mark LeVine, who's graciously offered to stay with us after the broadcast ends to talk with all of you. Keep your eyes peeled right here or at hereonearth.org for further details. Dan and I hope to post them for you tomorrow.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Moose! - Airdate - 10/3/08 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Update - 10/03/08: The Moose show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Maria Putzer

After reading this article in the New York Times about Sarah Palin, moose, and Alaska, we've gotten inspired to do a show about moose meat and are looking for guests. Do you know anyone who hunts or eats moose on a regular basis? Have you yourself tried moose? Leave us your suggestions and comments.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Where Do You Find That Sound Clip?

Radio is about sound. A good sound clip is worth a thousand words for a radio program. So for each show, we producers spend a lot of time on the Internet or in video stores hunting for that perfect, short and punchy sound clip.

But sometimes the ideas come easily.

This past Wednesday's show is about a physician's journey to end nuclear madness. When Jean asked me to find some clips, the movie "On the Beach" immediately came to my mind. It's a movie with many of my personal memories.

I was introduced to this movie by a good friend and mentor of mine who was a foreign correspondent in Moscow when the movie came out in 1959 during the Cold War. A post-apocalyptic film about nuclear wars, the movie was banned in Soviet Union then of course, but many high officials in Moscow did watch it as part of their "internal reference information." My friend never forgot how shocked those officials were that the Americans could be so honest about the consequences of nuclear wars.

As a person growing up in a Communist country, I was intrigued by my friend's comments, so checked out the movie myself. The movie did not shock me but made me wonder why Hollywood has been so comfortable making and selling human disaster movies while in China that's almost impossible.

The second thing about the movie is its cast: Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Fred Astaire. I was surprised that Fred Astaire had no dancing at all in the movie but played a serious role. How refreshing. Ava Gardner, Jean told me that her father always fell for Ava. For me, Gregory Peck is always special because I had a chance to meet him in person.

He came to Madison to give a talk in the Memorial Union Theater on Oct. 3, 1996. I was in my second year then studying journalism at UW-Madison. The talk would make a nice article for my Chinese hometown's newspaper so I went to see him. When he walked onto the stage, I could hardly recognize him because, at age 80, he had shrunk quite a bit. But when he opened his mouth, oh, thank goodness, that magnetic voice was still the same.

He entertained the audience for a full hour with fascinating personal stories and reflections. And he answered audience's questions with a great sense of humor and honesty. The most memorable question for me is the one from a man on the balcony. He said that during his 50 years of marriage, Mr. Peck was his only romantic competitor. But he was a generous man, so could Mr. Peck fly a kiss to his wife please? Peck obliged graciously among the laughter of the audience and embarrassment of the man's wife.

At the reception after the talk, I managed to sit down with Peck and asked him two simple questions. I have forgotten what the questions were, but I always remember how kind he was to take time to talk to a nervous foreign student like me.

That evening has gone by for 12 years. Mr. Peck has passed away for five years. But because of the sound clip, all that old memory rushes back to me. From my meeting with Mr. Peck, to my mentor's comments, to the radio show, life makes interesting connections. It's one nice part of growing older.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Two Days of Music...

Joe Hardtke

Update - 9/10/08: The Prasanna show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive.

Update - 9/11/08: The Nation Beat show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

Back on August 18th, we were joined in the studio by Esty Dinur for a preview of this year's Madison World Music Festival. It was a great show and you can download it in the Here on Earth archive. We promised you on this blog that we would try to line up some of the performers ahead of the festival which happens this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin.

Well, my dear readers, I'm proud to say we've done just that.

On Wednesday's show, the versatile guitarist Prasanna will join us live from the Boston studios of WGBH. He'll play a couple of solo selections and discuss his latest CD Electric Ganesha Land.

Then on Thursday, it's the rich sounds of Nation Beat. They'll actually join us right here in our Madison studios for a stripped down performance.

Plenty of treats for you this week. And to our friends in Wisconsin: Don't forget to check out the festival this weekend. It's free, after all!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Inside Islam Blog is live!

Joe Hardtke

As you may have read at www.hereonarth.org, Here on Earth is producing a series of programs with help from Global Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Social Science Research Council. The series is called Inside Islam. Jean has an in-depth post about the subject at her blog.

It's groundbreaking in that our lead blogger, Kaitlin, is creating a collective of websites and blogs from around the world. Pair that with brainpower from the University, funding assistance from the SSRC and the power of radio with Here on Earth, and you've got an interactive, multimedia experience ready to explore all aspects of the religion and the vibrant culture that surrounds it.

Our first show is titled "Heavy Metal Islam" and it's scheduled to air and web stream Thursday, September 25th at 4 p.m. (EST) with the podcast going out right after the program. We've already confirmed Mark Levine, author of the book with the same name. We're talking to other possible guests as we speak.

This is where you come in. Kaitlin, with help from the University, has created an blog exclusive to the project, also called Inside Islam. Bookmark that site, as we'll be using the blog to start a dialog on the subject and develop your ideas for the radio show.

And don't forget to bookmark us here at the Blog Without Borders, as we'll continue to give you access to the production side of the Inside Islam series. You can leave your ideas here as well. What guests should we book? What music should we feature? Have you seen any documentaries on the subject or read any good books?

Producer Dan Rosinsky-Larsson is leading the production effort for "Heavy Metal Islam" and I'm already producing sound for the show. Promos plugging the Inside Islam blog and series will hit the air today. I can't wait for you to hear them.

Let's start bloggin'...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Man on Wire

Joe Hardtke

Both Jean and I are really jazzed about the documentary film Man on Wire. You may have heard of Philippe Petit, the then-24-year-old Frenchman who walked a high wire between the two World Trade Center towers, the tallest buildings in the world circa 1974. James Marsh's film captures how just ten minutes of daring took months of preparation and led to years of complex emotions for all involved.

I've been put on a mission to book Mr. Petit and Mr. Marsh. I'll keep you posted on my progress right here. It's also my job to prepare the sound for this program, so please let me know if you have any ideas for music that evokes daring, danger and even beauty. Now there's a mix!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Is a single, smoker in NYC beautiful?

I sat in on today's show: Diversity on the Runway. (You can download the mp3 here.) A Dove commercial from a while back came to mind. Here's the video.

Beauty is a huge and complex issue for women but largely misunderstood in the mainstream. This includes men, regardless of sexual orientation (and lifestyle, including metrosexuality) or occupation. Every woman who has grown up watching Sex and the City or reading Seventeen has some sense of the mild panic mainstream beauty causes at some point or another. This usually occurs early in the morning when you're looking in the mirror or getting dressed.

When there's a model who breaks the mold, maybe a smoking New Yorker who mixes designer couture with flee market finds like SATC's Carrie, we get the message. Authentic beauty is best expressed in who you are, a unique style that fits only you. In high school, I thought that was nearly impossible in public. I planned outfits weeks in advance. At 23, it's easier but workplace attire expectations, I'm still not convinced authentic style can be mainstream.

Maybe I'm missing the message. A campaign on thepoint.com is betting that beauty can be authentic and mainstream. With a pledge to buy two magazines, you can support publishing a cover photo without photoshop or airbrushing: Show Our Beauty Campaign.

My question for readers is what is authentic beauty? And can it have mainstream commercial value without ruining the message? Feel free to bring in popular culture references. You know I love them.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Great Story, But It Won't Come to You on Radio

Lisa Bu

People in the radio business often say that it's the guest, not the topic, that makes or breaks a program. A great guest can make any topic interesting, a bad guest can ruin the most interesting topic. It's often true.

This week I'm really excited about the story of Paolo Soleri, an Italian architect who built an extraordinary eco-city in the Arizona desert in the 1970s. But he was too ahead of his time and struggled for the past 30 years to make all his visionary plans into reality. Finally the world caught up with him and now recognizes his genius and vision. You can see him offering sage advice in Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary The 11th Hour.

Since Soleri is popular on the lecture circuit, he could be a good radio guest. So my fellow producer, Dan, and I set out to find him for a possible radio interview. Yes, he's still in Arizona at age 89. Oh, no, he has a very heavy foreign accent and is not up to conduct a full hour live interview. So we ran into a classic problem for radio producers: a great topic but unsuitable guest. Reluctantly, we decided to drop the topic. What a pity!

Thanks to this blog, at least I can tell you about this great man. His life story is inspiring for all of us even though you may never hear it on radio. Now you may also understand a little better why that great topic you emailed us has never become a radio show.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Jewel of Medina

Joe Hardtke

Have you heard of Sherry Jones? She's the former Montana newspaper reporter who was inspired by 9/11 to write The Jewel of Medina, her novel about the prophet Muhammed and his feminist leanings. Then the troubles began.

This has become a very controversial topic, but it's tailor-made for a show like Here on Earth. I hear her publisher is trying to keep her out of the press, but I'm going to see if she's willing to talk to us, if only for part of the show. Any thoughts?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Joe In The Studio

Ever wondered what it looks like on my side of the studio glass? Ever wanted to see my pretty face? Well, check out this pic sent to me via Facebook from former producer Patrick Peczerski.

You can tell it's winter. I'm rocking my 10-below beard.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bless the Garlic - Air date - 9/5/08 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Lisa Bu

Update - 9/5/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

I just booked Melissa Clark, a food writer for the New York Times, to talk about garlic on Friday, Sept 5. She wrote a very entertaining article about her family's love for garlic which was in every meal including breakfast and evening snack. Her father even tried to make garlic ice cream!

I love garlic as well, both as food and as a "weapon" to get rid of bad energy in my environment, an old Chinese belief. Taped to my computer monitor is a long dry garlic stalk given to me by a colleague. I'm positive that it has protected me from getting sick in the office where Joe had been coughing for weeks. My confidence about garlic comes from my childhood in China. During the flu season in spring, my mother would order me and my brother to eat a few raw garlic cloves soaked in rice vinegar before every dinner. Yuk!

But cooked garlic is yummy. In Hunan Province, you can find garlic cloves in every kitchen and in almost every dish: vegetable, meats, fish, etc. As my mother did, I always chop garlic cloves just before cooking to preserve their potency. One day last year I prepared a huge meal for a party and chopped a ton of garlic. The next day I could still smell garlic on my fingers. It struck me that I had become my mother because that's the exact same aroma that my mother's hands had smelled of when I was growing up. I knew she had done a lot of cooking for the family, but the garlic smell on my fingers finally made me truly realize how much she had cooked. Thanks, mom!

Do you love garlic or hate it? Have you heard any great tales about garlic and its medicinal or spiritual power? Leave your stories in comments, or better yet, in our hotline (608-890-0269). I would love to incorporate them into the show on Sept 5. You may even hear yourself telling your story on air.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reception in the Sahara? Amazing.

Maria Putzer

I'm sitting in the call booth right now listening to the show and waiting for your calls. This guest is awesome and his trip sounds completely crazy - getting stuck in a mine field, being able to get cell phone reception in the Sahara, deflating tires in order to get through sand? Wow. Also, any story that begins with "So I'm going through the Sahara..." is automatically very cool.

It makes me want to go buy a beat up old car and go driving in the desert. I think that feeling will wear off by the time I get home.

Give us a call at 1-800-642-1234 - we want to hear your crazy road trip stories too!

My Mercedes Is Not For Sale

Joe Hardtke

Update - 8/20/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

So today's show features the very cool Dutchman Jeroen Van Bergeijk (check out his blog), who drove a beat up Mercedes across the Sahara to sell it on the used car market in Ouagadougou. Just a crazy tale. I hope you can join us live at 4 p.m. (EST). As always, you can stream us live at www.hereonarth.org, or check out the podcast after the show and post your thoughts here. We'll read them back on a future show.

It begs the question: Any wild road trip stories?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Madison World Music Festival

Joe Hardtke

Our program on the Madison World Music Festival was terrific. Our substitute host, Lori Skelton, seemed right at home and the music was flowing throughout the show. I hope you liked it as much as I did. Of course, being a musician, I'm biased. I simply love putting music shows together. Any comments? You can download the MP3 here.

Books books books!

Maria Putzer

One of the best things about being a Here on Earth producer is the incredible amount of books we get to review. Some of my favorites include:

Back in Time: Echoes of a Vanished America in the Heart of France - Kent Cowgill
Our show with Kent in January 2008

This is a wonderful, difficult to describe book that chronicles the author's travels through France shortly after the 2004 election. If you want to understand the French, this book is a good place to start. After reading it, it made me want to go to France more than I already do - quite a feat, considering that I've wanted to go to France at the age of 12. It's a bit difficult to find online, as it's published by a French company, but here it is on the Barnes and Noble website:
Back in Time, Kent Cowgill, Book

The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS - Elizabeth Pisani
Our show with Elizabeth in July 2008

Elizabeth Pisani has a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm for her topic, something that clearly comes through in her book. This is, by far, the most readable book about AIDS that I have ever read and her arguments are simple, clear, and make a heck of a lot of sense. Period. She also has a blog at www.wisdom of whores.com where she dishes on sex, drugs, and AIDS. Here's a link to the book on Amazon.com:
The Wisdom of Whores, Elizabeth Pisani, Book

Girls of Riyadh (بنات الرياض binaat al-riyadh) - Rajaa Alsanea
We're working on getting Rajaa on the show - look for her either later this week or in early September!

Girls of Riyadh began as a weekly e-mail after Friday prayers to the members of an e-mail group. These e-mails tell the stories of four female university students - their love lives, their studies and jobs, their rebellions against the strictness of Saudi society. When it was published in Arabic in 2005, it was the source of controversy for many and revelation for many more. Some have described as Sex and the City, but set in Riyadh. I think that description is true - it's a very quick and juicy read and I bet you'll find more similarities than differences with the girls. (It probably helps that I'm a female university student as well...)
Here's the book on Amazon.com:
Girls of Riyadh, Rajaa Alsanea, Book

Diversity on the Runway - Airdate - 9/2/08 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Joe Hardtke

Update - 9/2/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

This program is looking very strong right now. Marketing consultant Jerri DeVard has said she wants to join us. Maria has another guest she's working on. Once we get some open dates from her we'll schedule this show for air.

Depending on everyone's calendar, maybe we'll bump this show ahead and air it in place of the Olympic Wrap-Up show, which seems to be struggling right now.

Did the Olympics Change Your Mind about China? - Airdate - 8/27/08 - 4 p.m. (ET)

Joe Hardtke

Update - 8/27/08: This show has aired. You can download the MP3 from our archive. Let us know what you think!

I'm still trying to find good guests for the Beijing Olympic Wrap-Up program. We've contacted some great sources at The New York Times and The London Times. No luck. I have a call out to the BBC and I'm hoping to hear back from their sports blogger this morning.

Here on Earth's Blogging Queen, Kaitlin, referred me to the sports writers at www.gawker.com. I don't usually read their posts. Any thoughts?

Lisa Bu has a Beijing contact, Susan Brownell. She appeared on our program Will The Olympics Change China? Perhaps we can convince her to join us at 4 a.m. Beijing time.

If you know any journalists with a strong perspective on the Beijing games, please drop me a note.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A tale from the on-air production booth

Lisa Bu

On-air producing is hectic: answering and forwarding callers to the studio, checking listener emails, checking instant messages on 2 accounts, communicating with host and engineer via computers, listening to the interview -- all at the same time! But the stressful job has its reward: each on-air producer has a sizable collection of moving, hilarious, or weird stories involving callers.

Here's one in my collection: A phone line flashed. I picked up the phone and asked the caller his name. He said "wrong number." I told him that the number he just dialed is Wisconsin Public Radio's number. No problem. Goodbye. One minute later, he called again. I started to get impatient because I needed to keep phone lines open for REAL callers. So I quickly pointed out that he's still talking to WPR and hung up. But he was insistent and called yet again. This time, after some confusing exchange with him, I finally figured out that he WAS trying to reach us and "Ron Number" (not wrong number) is actually his name! It turned out that he is a professor at the university. Guess which department? Mathematics. How perfect.

Friday, August 15, 2008

OK. Champaign gone... Now it's off to work.

With the sound for today's show, "Know Your Deli Man," almost complete, I turn my attention to a wrap-up program on the Olympics. We've scheduled it for next Thursday, but I'm currently struggling to get guests together. There's something about getting up at 4 a.m. in Beijing that conflicts with most people's schedules. I can't blame them.

We've got calls out to bloggers and sports writers from The New York Times and the BBC. Sadly, Simon Barnes from The Times in London couldn't make the program. Does anyone know of any great sports writers who can recap the inspirational stories while being critical of this Olympiad's shortcomings? Whose work are you reading?

Maria and I are working on a program about Vogue Italia's latest issue featuring only models of color. Jerri DeVard has expressed interest in being on the show. We're just trying to nail down a date.

It's a busy office this morning.

...and we're off!

It's my honor to officially christen Here on Earth's Blog Without...

(Ding) Ahem...

The Blog Without...

(Ding) Uh...


...can someone get me another bottle of champaign?

That's more like it! Welcome everyone to Here on Earth's Blog Without Borders. Let's talk radio...