A Channel from Brain to Heart.

Earlier this week all of we had the wonderful experience of reading this email:

“Here I am, trying, during my workday, to NOT think about remix radio, but I’m hooked. Somewhere I read an article referring to the programming as “driveway moments” and I thought that meant, perhaps, that everyone was sitting in their cars in their driveways, as I do, with the radio on after work because they couldn’t interrupt their PRX listening and go home. The stories and voices you bring to your listeners are inspiring, enlightening, touching, and so full of truth, or I guess I mean honesty. I am a bundle of resonance. I plan to retire next June and now I think I know what I want to do when I grow up. Love you guys. Thanks for opening a new channel between my brain and my heart.”


We were like whoa. Opening a new channel between the brain and the heart? That is the nicest things anyone has ever said to us! But it’s hardly us programmers who deserve these kudos. It’s the incredible talent we showcase on Remix. Whether it’s one of New Hampshire Public Radio’s expert hosts interviewing an NPR music critic unknown details of John Lennon’s life, or producer Jason Samilski creating a new kind of poetic landscape with his own voice, thoughts, and original banjo and accordian music — good radio does, somehow, put our brains in touch with our hearts.

Hear two new pieces, remixed in just last week:

And WALE, a radio poem supported by original music, produced by new PRX producer, Jason Samilski. Jason is a Toronto-based writer and sound producer who works in radio plays, music, and short stories. Listen:

Wale image

Bath image by Emanuela Franchini, Desert image by Jason Samilski.

One Hello World: The album

One Hello World is the kind of audio project for which Remix was built. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love playing great public radio stories (old and new) and giving them the attention they deserve, but there’s something special about finding something completely new, that was never meant for public radio, and putting it on the air.

If you’re a regular listener to Remix, you’ve heard One Hello World, but in case you don’t know, the project invites regular people from all over the country to call 316-247-0421 and share their intimate thoughts and experiences. One Hello World then composes a soundtrack to the voicemail and posts it on a tumblr for the world to hear. It’s a true open line of communication that is supportive in an extremely creative and inventive way. The musical score works to amplify the caller’s personal perspective and present it in a forum that is free from judgment. I find the whole project quite remarkable.

Recently, the One Hello World maestro has revealed himself and he’s releasing the best of OHW as an album. He’s funding it through Kickstarter. Here’s his pitch:

Plus, One Hello World just sent me the entire catalog of songs! Stay tuned for new tracks on Remix.

Final Sale: An Audio Slideshow

For two months in 2006, Samantha Broun and Neal Menschel would show up at Winthrop Sherwin’s general store in West Groton, MA: Sam with a microphone and Neal with a camera. Together, they created an audio slideshow profiling Sherwin in anticipation of his retirement — after 70 years at the Sherwin Brothers’ Clover Farm Store. As of today, you can hear Sam’s audio on REMIX Radio. But I hate to sever Sam’s sound from Neal’s photography. Click below to enjoy their audio slideshow, from Transom.org:

Final Sale is 6:30 long, and requires Flash Player

REMIXing PopTech

PopTech is a network of world changing innovators and every year a bunch of them cloister together in Camden, Maine and give talks, exchange ideas, and solve the world’s problems. Then they’ll most likely get back home and crash into the wall of anti-innovation that surrounds us all, but for these few days in Camden (and in your home- they live stream all the talks!) it will feel like anything is possible. That feeling is infectious, intoxicating, and quite fun to listen to.

We play a few of the great PopTech audio programs from conferences past on the stream, but this year REMIX is actually going to be there. Our own world changing innovator Benjamen Walker (he of Too Much Information) is going to the talks, roaming the halls, and bringing back stories and snippets from the 2010 conference. Keep checking back here and tune in for updates.

In the meantime, here’s a talk that I really dig by public radio’s Kurt Andersen (Hands off, book people. He’s ours!):

PopTech’s Video feed

Why we do what we do

PRXer Matt MacDonald turned me on to the RSA Animate video series a couple weeks ago, and man alive, are they awesome. This episode tackles an issue that confounds a lot of people in the public radio profession: why do we work so hard on something that (usually) offers so little financial gain? It turns out, independent producers aren’t freaks when it comes to this disassociation of higher brain tasks and monetary gain. We’re normal! At least in that sense. Indies are freaky in plenty of other ways. Come to Chicago in October and we’ll prove it.

Oh, oh: I uploaded a great new piece today (well several, but this one deserves to be listened to separately when other ambient noise is at a minimum). It’s called Secrets and Noise by Amy Conger. The piece gets progressively louder “as more and more noises and voices come in to muffle the speaker who only wants to tell you a little something.” I really dig it, but fear some of its greatness could be lost if you heard it on the car stereo, zooming down the highway. Take the time now, dear listener.

Goofing around with Michele Norris

Years ago I worked for the fine folks at the Third Coast International Audio Festival, and I made all the audio stuff for them. I produced shows, specials and promos. Well, the other day I found this REJECTED promo I made for an event called “Meet the Makers” that happened back in 2007. Michele Norris from NPR was the host of the event, but she was busy making ATC everyday, so she never had time to record the copy, so I was forced to make a promo without her. I made this:

This promo was very popular around the offices of WBEZ, but alas, it didn’t make it on the air. Why? STICKS IN THE MUD! Years have passed, so I thought it was safe to enjoy it publicly.

Book Odds REMIX: a preview

This past weekend, REMIX Radio from PRX and the Third Coast International Audio Festival presented a REMIX/ShortDoc extreme challenge. For this year’s ShortDoc, the band The Books have selected eight sample sounds from their library of musical bits for anyone and everyone to use in their own radio story. That contest is going on right now and the winner will present their ShortDoc at the opening session of the Third Coast Conference in October. Check here for full details. You should definitely check it out, create a story and enter. But at Megapolis this past weekend, we wanted to try something a little more extreme. Unlike the general Third Coast challenge (in which producers are required to select only two sounds to work with) the Megapolis Book Odds REMIXers used ALL EIGHT sounds, plus the patented “PRX chime” (and any other sound they wish) and pulled it all together into a one-minute composition in 30 minutes! Cool sounds + super talented audio artists + 30 minutes  + flop sweat = awesome. I’m posting them all this week (both here and on the satellite), but here’s a preview of one of the entries by Kara Oehler and Benjamen Walker:

Megapolis! Audio Art! Hurray!

n57854967097_1569The Megapolis Festival is an annual, weekend-long celebration of the craft of DIY audio creation. Artists, documentarians, musicians, and fans come together to share secrets on producing and presenting cool and challenging audio works online, on-air, and on the stage. This year, the fun will take place May 14-16 in Baltimore, MD. Oh, I’m excited. Your’s truly is leading a REMIX workshop, plus TMI’s Benjamen Walker is going to be there, and a panoply of truly intimidating audio artists and storytellers. Well, their work is intimidating, they are quite nice and physically they tend to be weak in the upper body.

Here’s the promo for the event featuring a catchy little ditty from one of the greats, Gregory Whitehead:

So, you coming?


Last month, the Association of Independents in Radio asked me to talk about REMIX and what it might mean to independent radio artists. I give a shout out to some of our featured artists, including Nate Dimeo (Memory Palace), Queena Kim and Tanya Jo Miller (CyberFrequencies), and Carl Scott (Time Capsule). It’s pretty targeted to the indie community (there are some acronyms that are definitely inside baseball), but I thought you’d might want to hear it.