Tuesday, May 10, 2011

...And All That Jazz

As some of you may know, I spent the last week on a radio mission to the 41st Annual Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans (talk about taking one for the team). During part of my trip, I was unleashed on the festival with a "Production Krewe" pass and my audio equipment. I talked with hundreds of people, ate at least five times my weight in delicious Jazz Fest food, and, of course, listened to LOTS of music. Over the next few days, I'll be editing and posting some of my material. Here are the first two pieces, with love from New Orleans.

Monday, May 2, 2011


It's no mystery what everyone will be talking about this week. I spent hours following President Obama's speech attempting to corral my thoughts into a tidy narrative - until a friend confessed that for her, everything was coming up questions. That exchange inspired me to produce this tiny, partially formed collection of my partially formed thoughts, and I forced myself not to tie the whole thing into a neat bow.

So, in the spirit of full disclosure: I can't promise you revelations or insight or really anything besides questions, because that's all I've got at the moment. But if you love me like I love you, join me on this meandering ramble through my psyche - besides, it's short. And I suspect I am not alone in this mental state.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dear Hacker

(That's right - I'm doing two-a-days this weekend to make up for my work-related blogful neglet).

As many of you may have already discovered, my email was hacked this week.

Majorly hacked - as in email everyone I know, delete every message in my account and set up a false account in my name. If you've never experienced this firsthand, trust me when I say: it was infuriating.

Actually, don't trust me - listen to this auditory journey through the land of the recently hacked. And just a PSA: friends don't let friends wire money to London. No matter what.

INTRO: Lauren Peterson never saw herself as a victim - until someone broke into her email account. In the days that followed, Lauren struggled to come to grips with the tragedy and find the upside of light identity theft.

In praise of worthy women

Grams and Mom - their phenomenalness is showing...
Someone has written "Sarah Falin is coming" in bright yellow chalk on the sidewalk in front of the state capitol.

I don't know what will happen when she gets here tomorrow, and I haven't decided whether I'll be a part of it when it does. I do know that I've spent the last week at Line Breaks 2011, and I have seen some majorly inspirational and painfully relevant pieces. Tonight's performance of "Birdies" and "Get a Room" inspired me to publish this post in honor of phenomenal women everywhere. It's an audio essay, so I think it pretty much speaks for itself.

Intro: With Sarah Palin en route to Wisconsin, Madisonian Lauren Peterson tries on a different kind of protest.

Follow-up: If you're just dying to find out more about some of the phenomenal women I mentioned, check out their work. And let me know what women YOU think we should be talking about tomorrow instead of you-know-who.

Bonnie Greene's Music Makers
University of Wisconsin - Madison Arts Institute (spearheaded by none other than Norma Saldivar)
Jasmine Mans
Lauren Rutlin

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Well Done, Sister Suffragette

We meet again, my faithful blog readers! I'm riding some serious exhaustion in the wake of the Film Festival (and as I gear up for Line Breaks at my other job), but I needed to get this post out before one of my favorite holidays passes us all by. Like any great radio piece, today's post features equal parts history and shameless pleading.

But first, a disclaimer: Alice Paul is my idol (and I am not alone in this). My unadulterated love and adoration for this feisty suffragist surpasses even my devotion to (gasp) public radio. I have tried, for the sake of brevity, to limit my gushing within this audio piece - but that doesn't mean I'm an objective source for information on the subject. As with my Film Festival reporting, I am brimming with bias - and proud of it. I lose sleep over the crushing realization that I will never have the opportunity to meet the person I most admire (what with her having been born in 1885, I suppose I could hardly expect her to have stuck around waiting for my arrival). I am a card-carrying member of the Alice Paul Institute, and if you knew Alice like I know Alice, you would be too.

Rest assured, while this may be my first Alice Paul piece, it won't be my last. If, like me, learning a tiny bit about Alice has awakened in you an insatiable urge to spend as much time with her as possible, I highly recommend the film Iron Jawed Angels. It's one of my all-time favorite movies, and I'd be delighted to lend it to you, watch it with you, or, if my copy is already on loan, simply recite the entire thing from start to finish for you.

Also, there is (FINALLY) an entire published biography of Alice, with chapters and everything. I can't lend that, since it's on my Kindle, but if you stop by my place I will make you a cup of tea and hover over your shoulder while you read it.

Intro: Less than one hundred years ago, women voted for the first time in a national election. Two months ago, Lauren Peterson headed to the polls for a statewide primary - and found her chief election official with plenty of time to chat.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Feeling Festive

I've been thinking a lot lately about bias, especially the political variety. As I listened to Ira Glass discuss allegations of NPR's supposedly liberal leanings, I wondered why one of my favorite storytellers was leaning so heavily on a concept (objective reporting) that by definition couldn't exist. As I do when I need audio advice, I turned to John Biewen. In his foreword to Reality Radio, John celebrates a form of documentary that embraces individual voice and perspective. The producers in Reality Radio not only acknowledge their role in shaping "true" stories, they use it to create innovative pieces and push the boundaries of reporting. And I dig it.

I produced a more news-oriented version of this segment for tonight's "In Our Backyard" on WORT-fm. But after rereading Katie Davis' manifesto, I was inspired to throw objectivity to the winds and tell a story in which I'm an active participant, complete with my very own opinions.

INTRO: Signs of spring are finally emerging after another epic Wisconsin winter. As down parkas become scarce, the food carts reappear on Library Mall, and UW students flee town for the week, thousands of midwesterners will celebrate warmer weather by sitting in the dark. Preparations for the 2011 Wisconsin Film Festival are underway across an otherwise deserted campus. Lauren Peterson caught up with one of the festival’s masterminds at their temporary box office on the second floor of the Memorial Union.

OUTRO: To join festival organizer extraordinaire Allen Ebert and Superwoman Meg Hamel in the countdown to opening night, follow @wifilmfest on Twitter or visit www.wifilmfest.org .

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Elementary Education

My friend Simone gets the weirdest spelling words.

Seriously - week after week, her third grade class is required to define and memorize some of the most bizarre words in the English language. While Simone and I are unclear as to exactly where these words come from, we've abandoned our search for practicality among her vocabulary lists. Instead, we celebrate their innovative fusion of Little House on the Prairie lexicon and select terms from the Watergate Tapes.

I didn't realize how badly I've needed a few minutes of unadulterated silliness until tonight's Spelling Words Extravaganza. Hence, my most recent piece. In the spirit of awkward juxtapositions so heartily embraced by the makers of Simone's English worksheets, I was inspired by my favorite audio piece of all time and the brief, eclectic style of the Third Coast International Audio Festival ShortDocs.

INTRO: For some, education is a global debate involving scholarly theories and reform strategies; for others, it's something a little more...elementary. On a recent Tuesday evening, Lauren Peterson and eight year old Simone A-K attempted to master such third grade vocabulary staples as "beachcomber" and "scratch test."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

One Day Longer, One Day Stronger

Photo by the great Cat Degen
I am tired.

And I'm not talking about the regular, watched too many episodes of West Wing instead of going to bed kind of tired. No, the kind of tired I am is the type of exhaustion that makes your bones ache and your muscles drag and your sister say, "Wow, you look tired."

My whole city is that kind of tired. It's palpable to anyone who happens to be walking down State Street, away from the Capitol Building that we can't get into anyway. The same people whose energy has spurred me on for the last 24 days are walking more slowly, heads down, signs lagging, visibly hurt.

Lucy, Maddy, Anna and me (photo by Jessica Carrier)
The last month has contained some of the most difficult days of my life. I've been disappointed by public figures, flabbergasted at the daily goings on of state politics, and offended by hateful, disparaging comments slung by media outlets and senators about myself, my fellow state employees, my family, my teachers, my schools, and my city. I'm more committed than ever to my cause, but I readily admit that pushing forward has become increasingly difficult.

I was feeling pretty low yesterday when I remembered a piece by Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister I had heard at the Third Coast Festival. Listening to Si Se Puede (which starts about halfway through this episode of Re:Sound) was like a Five-Hour Energy for my mood (only much less disgusting and without the fear of possibly becoming radioactive). I highly recommend it to anyone who's feeling the Governor Walker hangover right now.

...another photo by Jessica Carrier
Our story isn't there yet, because it isn't finished. We don't have a triumphant ending. But even though it's a work in progress, I wanted to give something to my citywide, statewide, cross-country family of protesters. This isn't news, and it doesn't have a perfect story arc. Think of it as a love letter to the hundreds of thousands of people who have stood together for the last several weeks. One day longer, one day stronger!

HOST: This Wednesday, the state of Wisconsin passed a controversial bill limiting the collective bargaining rights of public employees. Here, labor activists at Thursday's solidarity rally react to the bill's passage, and a Madison union organizer discusses a press release distributed by the Governor Wednesday detailing "Strange but true provisions of collective bargaining."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Votes for Wisconsin

At the Capitol with my dear friend Catherine and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (I vote for her every chance I get!)

For the last several weeks, visitors to downtown Madison haven't been able to walk a block without seeing a sign encouraging Wisconsinites to "RECALL WALKER."

Don't get me wrong - these protests have been home to some great signs. My recent favorite was the man walking his dog and carrying a poster that said "Animals for the ethical treatment of people." I also loved "Scottie: Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious spring by sweet humiliation of your sorry ass" (what can I say, it appealed to the former theatre major in me). And there's the ever-popular "Screw us and we multiply." Clever signs abound.

But every time I see yet another "RECALL WALKER" sign, I fight the urge to stop in my tracks and let out a dramatically anguished howl. That sign makes me angry.

In recent paragraphs, I believe I've established myself as pro-sign. And like the vast majority of my friends, colleagues, and neighbors, I am appalled by Governor Walker and everything he stands for. But the thing is - we voted for him. My state elected Scott Walker with 1,128,887 votes to Democrat Tom Barrett's 1,004,257. 52 % of my ever-so-slightly liberal-leaning, union-loving state voted for a man with an outspoken love affair for all things GOP and a record of using every loophole at his disposal to shirk collective bargaining regulations during his tenure as Milwaukee County Executive. As The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes asks, "Why so surprised about Walker?" The only thing that's astonishing about his actions since taking office as Governor is the speed with which he's accomplished more or less what he promised he would.

Basically, we brought him on ourselves. From my soapbox, a recall just doesn't seem...well...called for. Know what does?


Lots and lots of voting.

So rather than think about the 40 or so protesters I've spoken to who have confessed to sitting out the 2010 gubernatorial election, I'm working on a handful of pieces about one of my favorite subjects:


Lots and lots of voting.

This first piece is taken from an interview I recorded earlier this year with a group of members of the Dane County League of Women Voters. I didn't have my awesome new recording equipment when I spoke with the LWV, so the audio quality isn't fabulous, but the women are. Plus, March is Women's History Month. Kind of perfect, right?

HOST: Last October, amidst the now controversial 2010 Wisconsin gubernatorial race, the Dane County League of Women Voters offered this pep talk to young electors.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do You Hear the People Sing?

I've just returned from the state capitol, where I faced two substantial audio challenges. One, the difficulty of recording in a giant, echo-y space full of yelling people, has been ongoing for the last two weeks. The second issue arose today, while recording a flash mob consisting of hundreds of musicians singing a song from Les Miserables. Not only was I standing in the middle of the same acoustic nightmare that has plagued news media for the last 13 days, but I was fighting back tears and the urge to sniffle. Luckily (or not, depending how you look at it), I had experienced this problem while recording Russ Feingold's concession speech at the former (sniffle) U.S. Senator's "victory" "party" this November. Ten minutes of great audio, ruined by the bodily functions of myself and my fellow campaign interns.

This time, fortunately, I succeeded in keeping my emotions in check (though I dare you to stand in the capitol rotunda, surrounded by hundreds of friends from the arts and music community while they perform an incredibly moving song and not tear up). And to those of you who suggest that burying your feelings is not healthy or productive, I present my new favorite recording as evidence to the contrary.

HOST: At 1:00 p.m. on the 13th day of protests in Madison, Wisconsin, hundreds of singers and instrumentalists suddenly burst into song. The "Les Miserables" Flash Mob was organized in a single day by community arts activists Sarah Marty and Jordan Peterson.

The above version is edited, and includes interviews with Jordan and Sarah. I had to condense the song itself for time and audio quality. Because the amazing singers and instrumentalists deserve their full props, and because I do not want you to miss out on the MAD AWESOME trumpet action that took place this afternoon, I'm also including audio of the full performance below:

And just in case you STILL can't get enough Les Mis Flash Mob, check out this fabulous video by Charles Uphoff:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The test of a true Madison kid...

...is that they can use the word "rotunda" in a sentence.

My friend Lucy does this without batting an eye. And in case you have any lingering doubts about her legitimacy as a Madisonian, she and her sister Maddy spent last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and most of this Monday protesting at the state capitol.

During my stint in the hearing room for Senate Bill 11, I heard the testimony of an articulate young woman from Memorial High School. That was five days ago, and I can't stop thinking about her remarkable poise as she refuted assertions that student presence downtown is the result of teacher instructions. "It kind of offends us," she explained, "when people say we're only here because of our teachers." She went on to describe the myriad impact restrictions on collective bargaining rights would have on her parents, neighbors, friends, and, yes, schools.

It's true - some local and national media have painted Madison's youngest protesters as clueless victims of their unquestioningly liberal city. This is a common refrain among local conservatives (who, despite their complaints, have enjoyed increased political representation in recent years).

Here comes the part where I become increasingly annoyed. I may not be in high school anymore, but at 23 years old, I'm not exactly the crypt keeper. I've never missed an election. If I could meet anyone, alive or dead, it would be Alice Paul. I've seen every episode of The West Wing too many times to admit. The "young people are so politically apathetic" argument has never carried a whole lot of credence in Lauren Land. But it wasn't until this particular testimony that I realized just how soundly it had been demolished in the last week.

I've spoken to more strangers in the past seven days than I have in the rest of my entire life until this point. Overwhelmingly, the most impressive, genuine, well-spoken, great-tape-making of those strangers were high school students (and one middle schooler). As I played back their interviews, I realized how little occasion they have had to share their views publicly. Even in lefty-est of the lefty news sources, we just aren't hearing from them.

Being an unmitigated radio nerd, this realization was accompanied by a FLASH OF RADIO GENIUS (gird your loins, mere mortals). I've always been a little nervous about trying a non-narrated piece, since it basically means you have to be a totally kickass interviewer with mad editing skills and rockstar subjects. Despite all this, I decided to jump off the (radio) cliff...for the children. It seemed like a win-win situation: I get to try my hand at a new kind of piece, and some very deserving people get a chance to tell their story in their own words, without my snarky interjections.

MICHELE NORRIS (I mean, um, talented radio host who shall remain nameless): Students in Madison, Wisconsin returned to school this Tuesday following the introduction of Governor Scott Walker's budget repair bill. In the last week, the state capitol was home to thousands of protesters who objected to restrictions on collective bargaining rights of public employees such as public school teachers. Producer Lauren Peterson discussed tales from the front lines with two very young activists.

MN (I mean...whoever...): Though they are happy to be back in the classroom, Maddy and Lucy Friedman continue to spend as much time as possible on the picket lines - just as soon as they've finished their homework.

Monday, February 21, 2011

And they called it puppy love...

 ...well, I guess they'll never know.

But you will, if you can just hold your horses (apparently today is brought to you by animal metaphors). Before I share another audio piece, I'd like to acknowledge the following:

Yes, there is major civil unrest going down in my hometown at the moment. And yes, I care a whole lot about my local politics, and yes, I spent last night at the state capitol. Rest assured I have not spent five minutes away from my trusty Marantz 661 or its BFF, Rode NTG-2 (BTW, has anyone tried the NTG-3? It looks kind of sparkly and beautiful) in the last week. I'm cooking up some audio from the protests, and I fully intend to slap that up on this blog the second I'm done. That said, this weekend left me emotionally and physically drained, so today's audio tidbit will be SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNRELATED to politics. I don't know about you, but my fellow Madisonians and I could sure use the break.

It is in the spirit of all things fluffy* (*you're about to realize what a bad pun this was) that I offer you a sound postcard from myself and my canine compatriot. Though it was not technically produced within the hallowed halls of CDS, this piece would not have seen the light of day without Katie Davis' Writing For Radio workshop. This time, Katie asked us to show up in Durham with our audio tracks and a rough script (as opposed to Audio Institute I, where we raced our pieces from start to finish in a week). I pitched my topic to her during a pre-workshop phone conference, followed my dog around the house with a microphone for a month, and scraped together an outline.

I've had an aversion to animal stories since my sister and I read the horrifyingly cloying obituary of a celebrity's dog in a magazine that shall remain nameless. We still mock that article, particularly my sister, who chooses the most inappropriate moments to adopt a tragic smile and whisper, "She was always smiling..." But I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway, and here's why:

1. SCOPE - I wanted to work on a piece that was manageable in a weekend at CDS, both in terms of length and subject matter. Katie had asked for 4-minute pieces, and I wanted to come in well under the time limit. Plus, after months of interviewing everyone from hemp farmers to award-winning biophysicists, I desperately needed to write about something I understood. In case I needed another excuse, Katie Davis is kind of a rock star when it comes to personal narrative, and since the class was supposed to focus on writing, it seemed like a perfect opportunity and forum.

2. THIS PIECE - I had recently listened to Katie Mingle's "Frankie," and was impressed with her ability to tell an animal story that was both sweet and hilarious without being overly precious. So I knew it was possible.

3. THE WHINING - When Katie Davis called for our conference, I had to momentarily smother my dog (don't worry, she could TOTALLY breathe, I'm pretty sure, and anyway, it was just for a second). Marly makes the loudest and most varied doggy sounds I have ever heard, and I had already started recording them for my own entertainment. I was excited by the idea of writing a personal essay that really couldn't be complete in written form.

4. MY EYE-ROLLING SISTER - Anna's always going to ridicule me, whether I write a sappy animal story or not, so I figured I might as well write a sappy animal story and go down trying.

What do you think re: animal stories? Always acceptable? Sometimes? Never? Kind of not, but you cry over them anyway, like how everybody knows "The Cutting Edge" is an appallingly bad movie but you still wind up holding your breath when they try the lift in the big competition? Discuss.

Oh, and - this piece has a host intro and outro, because it helps me focus, and that's how it works on the real live radio. I like to imagine Michele Norris reading mine, but I guess that's really a matter of personal preference.

HOST: We've all seen them - maneuvering down a crowded sidewalk, six hounds in tow; playing smug fetch in the park; waiting quietly at the vet's office. They're "dog people," and they make it seem effortless. Three years ago, novice-dog owner Lauren Peterson set out to join their ranks.

HOST: Lauren Peterson lives with her dog, Marlene Dietrich, in Madison, Wisconsin. They recently renewed the lease on their one-bedroom apartment.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The First Pancake

The happiest place on Earth...
Once upon a time, I was an intrepid youngster planning my much-needed return to college after a much-needed year off. I had given three days' notice to my boss, which went over about as well as one might expect. I was scrambling to fill out my course schedule when I thought, hey, once I took a class called Biology and Appreciation of Companion Animals - if that can be a class, I bet there's a class about the new love of my life, RADIO.

Sure enough, there was: Radio and the Art of Sound, Communication Arts 613, also known as MY DESTINY. As if to prove this point, the University of Wisconsin Office of the Registrar had kindly scheduled it during the one open spot in my week. It was basically created with me in mind.

And it was full.

So I played the one card I had resisted playing during the previous years of my undergraduate education: I called my dad, a former Comm Arts grad student at the UW-Madison. He did his thing, which is to say he was charming and well-connected (Dad, if you are reading this, please note that nowhere in that sentence did I define your thing as being "cool" or "hilarious"), and the professor, Michele Hilmes, agreed to let me into a class so far beyond full that I had to sit on the floor on the first day. Sensing I needed more help than she alone could offer, Professor Hilmes told me about the Third Coast Filmless Festival, which was also the release party for our textbook, Reality Radio, which I had read cover-to-cover within a day of its arrival from Amazon. At the end of the festival (also known as 24 hours of straight-up amazing), I hunted down the book's editors, John Biewen and Alexa Dilworth of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. If they were terrified by my fangirl-esque display ("I read! This whole! Book! In a day! And then! I googled! Everyone in it!"), they covered admirably and encouraged me to come visit CDS.

And that's how I came to spend the most magical week of my life in Durham, North Carolina, staying at a halfway house for hipsters, sweating more than I would have though physically possible, and taking classes in audio production. I learned how to turn on my recorder that Monday and had mixed and edited a piece by Saturday. You know that whole thing about how great (radio) journeys begin with a single (radio) step? Totally true. I was so scared to start my first piece that I almost didn't. Which brings us to Important Radio Production Lesson #1:

The difference between a famous radio producer and a really flaky radio fanatic is that a famous radio producer makes radio.

Seriously. Before my first week at CDS, I had a million ideas that I thought would make "great radio pieces." I had implemented exactly zero. During the early part of that week, I had a million ideas about how to make my assignment into THE BEST THING ANYONE AT CDS HAD EVER HEARD. And I totally froze. Luckily for me, instructor Katie Davis witnessed my existential crisis in time to confiscate my 50th first draft of an increasingly preachy script, Shea Shackelford told me "Sometimes, you just have to get started, even if you don't know what it is yet," and John Biewen encouraged us to write our host intros before doing anything else (I still do this - it's a great way to find your focus).
Lauren & Zenobia, approximately 5 minutes after our deadline.

And, thank God, I wasn't alone. My partner, Zenobia Connor, turned out to be my complete and total soul sister. We passed a draft of our host intro back and forth, crossing out words and bickering over prepositions until we erased gigantic holes through the paper. We worked together, ate meals together, typed together, paced together, wrote together, and we created our first piece together. It isn't perfect, but in the spirit of ripping off the band-aid, I'm putting it out there. I figure if I'm going to start at Square One, I might as well start with our Square One, so here it is:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chapter 1: I Am Obsessed With Radio

My friend Nathan says that adding the word "radio" to anything automatically makes said thing uncool. Waves - cool. Radio waves - not cool. Host - cool. Radio host - not cool. Ham - cool. Ham radio - not cool.

But I'd take radio over ham any day, and not just because I'm a vegetarian. I love, love, love radio, especially that holy grail of nerdiness, public radio (Can you say "Schweaty balls?"). If I could marry radio, I would. If I could BE radio, I would.

On the first day of every semester, my professors in the theatre department at the University of Wisconsin - Madison would warn us sternly that we should only pursue a career in acting if we "couldn't imagine doing anything else." I would watch as my classmates nodded emphatically, tears in their eyes, and described the glorious moment when they first KNEW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they NEEDED to be an actor. And I would think, "Really? Does anyone actually NEED to be an actor?"

And then I discovered radio. The Moment came while listening to Elna Baker's story, "Babies Buying Babies," on This American Life. Suddenly I realized that there were people who actually made the radio I was listening to, that those people learned about all kinds of different things and wrote and listened and told stories and recorded sounds and put it all together, and best of all, that this was an actual JOB that existed - a job I NEEDED TO HAVE. Immediately.

That was three years ago. My illustrious career in public radio has yet to be fully realized, or even mostly realized, or even much more than a very tiny bit realized. Still, I will not be discouraged. Yes, my beloved This American Life has yet to respond to one of my story pitches and doesn't want me as their intern (yet, YET). True, I have tried and failed to follow the advice of seasoned radio professionals who encourage me to "just get a job" at my "local NPR affiliate" as though they're suggesting I pick up a paper route for some extra cash. But I have recently received my first encouraging signs.

One of my beloved teachers at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, John Biewen, says there are dozens of dollars to be made in radio, and I am about to get my hands on a few of them. I recently submitted a pitch to the fabulous storytelling show Snap Judgment, and a few days later, got an email saying they were (gasp) interested. When they called to work out the details of my first paid production assignment, I was so excited I accidentally stabbed myself in the thigh with a toothpick. Then I ran around my apartment making martial arts-type gestures and yelling "YEAH, baby! NATIONAL! PUBLIC! RADIO! Woo!...Wait, is my leg bleeding?"

So now seemed as good a time as any to begin a Giant Project - radio at a breakneck pace. In the next 365 days, I will attempt to produce 100 audio pieces. Starting with my Snap Judgment assignment. And I'm going to tell YOU all about it, in the hope that it will entertain you (in either a "Wow, she's so great and smart and awesome at making radio!" way or a scary train-wreck reality T.V. way, depending on the outcome). In the spirit of full disclosure, I also have a selfish motive. I need to work my face off in order to get my foot in the door of public radio, and I need some kind of encouragement (bonus points for the sword of potential public humiliation dangling over my head) to actually produce these pieces and not procrastinate or wander off as has historically been my way.

Welcome to my radio project. I'm delighted to have you as my reader/scary threatening auditor. If you want to help me in this, the pursuit of my future, you might consider providing suggestions for topics or sending me intimidating grouchy emails if I'm not keeping at this. And, while I appreciate you VERY MUCH, I recognize that true motivation comes from within...or something. As C-Money Dickens puts it in the opening line of David Copperfield:
"Whether I turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station* will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."
(*Station - cool. Radio station - not cool.)