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...