Shows I produced for Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane
On this page, I’m collecting some of my better contributions to WHYY’s Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane, the daily interview show on Philadelphia’s NPR station. These are shows that I conceived and executed, and which stood out for some of the reasons noted below.
Long a fan of Jake’s, I pursued him and convinced him to come and my boss to host him for our first-ever concert before a live audience in WHYY’s new performance space/studio. Jake had just released his new album, “Peace Love Ukulele,” and performed selections from the album as well as classics of his repertoire, like his now iconic version of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” This was one of the most popular programs Radio Times has ever presented, judging by audience feedback, and the interview was as revealing as the music was transcendent. My job as producer this day included selecting, editing, mixing and cuing the pre-recorded clips we listened to; greeting the in-studio audience of WHYY members as well as Jake and his crew; coordinating the assignments of Radio Times and WHYY production and engineering staff; social media promoting the show; and preparing the host with research to guide her interview.
Another wildly popular show with our audience, this show brought Tufts political scientist DANIEL DREZNER into the studio to discuss his book, “Theories of International Politics AND ZOMBIES!!!” I’ve been following Drezner’s work on the Foreign Policy website for a while, and when I learned that this gifted writer and communicator had a book coming out elaborating on his popular essay in Foreign Policy Magazine, I jumped at the chance to book him. I also scoured through zombie films to find just the right clips to play; Drezner complimented me on the selection before our show, saying he had independently selected some of the same clips for a slideshow he was giving. A very fun hour, heavily produced and revealing of both pop culture and political science.
I followed the work and writing of Drezner, the zombie guy, after our show. And I noticed that he engaged online with another great commentator about foreign policy, ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, former policy planning chief in the Obama State Department and now a Princeton professor and columnist at The Atlantic, about whether, and how, digital and networked media have changed the nature of international politics. The two of them went back and forth on Twitter and in their respective writings, but it wasn’t until my invitation, and our show, that they debated each other in real time. Slaughter argued that networked and social media have changed the game of international politics, granting unprecedented powers and access to the otherwise powerless. Drezner argued that despite the media and academic attention that digital media have received in coverage of events like the Arab Spring, they have not upended the status quo in terms of power and influence, which remain concentrated in the great powers. A great, lively debate ensued, and I’m proud to have thought of it, booked it and hosted it.
Booking Emmanuel Jal was another example of me following an artist’s career and cyberstalking them until I could get them on our show. I communicated with contacts for the South Sudanese former child soldier and “Lost Boy” for more than a year, and eventually convinced him to come to Philadelphia just for our show. The result, with his irreplaceable, unrepeatable biography sharing time with his amazing, inspiring music, was a great hour of Radio Times. And when his cell phone rang in the middle of the live interview (!), it turned into a great, revealing moment.
After subjecting my boss to what seemed like a nonstop barrage of heavy, depressing show topics (female genital mutilation, torture and corruption that week alone), I wanted to give her an easy, fun show to usher in the weekend. With Valentine’s Day coming up, and knowing my boss loves movies, I conjured up a show that surveyed the greatest love stories in Hollywood history. I booked film historian Jeanine Basinger,chair of the Film Studies Department at Wesleyan University and founder and curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives, plus a short segment with Peter Stromberg, professor of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa, and author of “Caught in Play: How Entertainment Works on You.” More than that, I scoured through Hollywood history, our guest’s recommendations, staff favorites and suggestions we received via social media for movie clips to play and discuss. The result was a really entertaining show.
Building on the success of our Valentine’s Day “romance on film” show, we invited Jeanine Basinger back on to discuss “mothers in the movies.” Again, I plumbed everything from online Top 10 lists to Jeanine’s suggestions to our Facebook fans’ favorites to come up with a diverse, entertaining and illuminating cross-section of memorable depictions of motherhood in the movies.
Father’s Day films
Celebrating secretaries in culture and film
Debating what kind of music to play for your kids
Sea Level Rise
Ethical shopping: Does it make a difference?
Doctors of the Arab Spring
Occupy Philadelphia, on the verge of a crackdown
The cutting edge in architecture and community design
Joe Henry, musician and producer
Leymah Gbowie, Liberian peace hero and Nobel Peace Prize winner
Fighting homophobia in American sports
Birds and birding in the Delaware Valley
The Peace Corps turns 50
Love Lessons from Abu Ghraib