In the last several months, I’ve started working at America Abroad, it’s a documentary program on public radio, hosted by Ray Suarez and a few other very talented people, and I’m the main producer.
What’s a radio producer do, exactly?
Well, I recruit reporters in places like Australia or Mexico or elsewhere, who actually go out and do the reporting, work with them and our editor to figure out what the story should sound like once they’ve done some interviews, I actually put the reports together in a rough form, I research issues and guests, and script interviews. I work with our web team to find interesting content that’ll fit the theme of the show. I try to make sure every last detail is right. And then I send it off to stations, which air the show once a month. It’s a hell of a job, and I learn a lot. I kind of have to if I want to keep up.
I’ve also been lucky enough to work again with my friend Bill to launch a new band. We’re calling it The Originators, and we sound a bit like this:
A while ago, my fiancee and I had a hot sauce party. We provided food and drinks, our guests brought a non Tabasco hot sauce, and everyone had a great time burning their mouths with capsaicin.
Then a couple of years later our friends decided to have a cookout and do the same. We showed up and tried out a bunch of hot sauces, and a conversation with a new acquaintance managed to get me into McSweeney’s (I’m the dude having a conversation with the author at the end of the first entry), an Internet humor publication I highly recommend. Just another oddly-appropriate-to-living-in-Washington story.
I’m starting work in earnest on a project I began gathering sound for a long while ago. I’m recording the stories of people’s recurring dreams and then using sounds to illustrate that dream, completely ignoring the visual aspect (after all, aren’t your eyes usually closed anyhow?).
A friend of mine recently asked me whether I thought dreams were trying to tell you something, or the brain babbling to itself. I’m not sure it’s either, I prefer to think that it’s our subconscious trying to put together the nonsense we live through, day-in, day-out, giving you a way to safely-though not always comfortably-act out things you couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t do.
This particular piece was originally produced for the DC Listening Lounge, which I’ve mentioned in the past, and it features my friend Selina, as well as Metro escalators, frying onions, and a bunch more stuff. Hope you enjoy.
Part of my work with the PublicMediaCorps involved finding ways to solve the problem of the “Digital Divide,” where people with low income are left behind in computing, information access, and other technology. But there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that in communities of color, people not only match, but outpace white folks in using mobile broadband. You can read more about it in my latest piece on DCentric.org.
DCentric is a blog dealing with questions of race and class in Washington. I don’t often delve into the arena of opinion, but after a lot of debate took place on my facebook page over asking the question “Where are you from?”, I decided I wanted to weigh in. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but I get into the complications of being a person of mixed race, a Latino, and questions of identity and foreign-ness. I hope you enjoy.
I recently launched a website at DCMic.com. Over the past few weeks, I interviewed DC-area musicians who will be featured on a new podcast, which will be launching sometime in December, just in time for you to hang out over Christmas break, if you get one, and listen. I’m really excited-not only is the music eclectic but the interviewees are pretty diverse and really interesting people.
You’ll hear music and see pictures and videos at the website, like the one above. The podcast will be available on iTunes as well as streaming on the site. I’m making an effort to include DJs in addition to traditional musicians because I think a good DJ can be useful as a curator who can tell a story through music. And if I’m super lucky and the podcast gets turned into a radio show, there are a whole lot more surprises on the way…
I recently helped with this report from PRI’s The World by acting as a translator for musician Trini Lovo. There’s a large Salvadoran population in the D.C. area and it was fun to learn from Trini about chanchona music. It’s kind of a variation on cumbia (which originated in Colombia). Below, you can hear a sample of Trini’s band, Los Hermanos Lovo. They’re featured on a Smithsonian Folkways recording if you want to buy the whole album.