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Diversifying Radio with Disabled Voices
Apr04

Diversifying Radio with Disabled Voices

  Radio can be a familiar friend, source of knowledge, a marker of time and place. But as a cultural institution, what constitutes a “good voice” in radio reflects and transmits cultural norms and structures. When I started my Community Storytelling Radio Fellowship at Making Contact, I prepared by reading articles from Transom and AIR media about interviewing, storytelling, and production. I felt more intimidated as I read about advice on ‘how to do radio,’ especially since some parts were very physical (e.g., holding a microphone close to a person for a significant length of time). I wondered, “Where do disabled people like me fit in the radio community? Why don’t articles about diversity in radio ever mention people with disabilities?” Al Letson’s 2015 Transom manifesto explores the the default straight white male voice. It resonated with me immediately and I’d also add that the “default human being” on radio is able-bodied as well. Good Voices/Bad Voices By centering the default “good voice” of radio as one that is able-bodied, one that is pleasant, clear, articulate and devoid of any markers of disability, you erase disabled people, rendering them the Other (or in fancy terms the subaltern). Media and cultural studies scholar Dr. Bill Kirkpatrick wrote about the problematic nature of the invisibility of disabled voices and bodies in radio in a 2013 book chapter, “Voices Made for Print: Crip Voices”: … there is no shortage of self-evident reasons why non-disabled voices thoroughly dominate radio, not least of which is the commercial imperative: broadcasters want listeners to stay tuned, therefore they find speakers and speaking styles that audiences are willing to listen to, with voices that listeners can easily understand and find pleasing to the ear. While undoubtedly sensible as a matter of capitalist logic, however, we need to question the aesthetic reasoning at the root of this supposedly listener-centered approach to speaker selection as well as the idea that “pleasing to the ear” is somehow a sufficient explanation for the absence of disabled voices on the radio. We cannot begin to expand the range of permitted voices on radio without simultaneously undermining the ideologies of ability and disability that disqualify those voices in the first place. In the broader discussion of diversity in media, I see parts of myself included as a disabled woman of color. But more often than not disability is not included because many do not regard it as a culture. For radio, this is total bullshit. If you think about it, disabled voices are the missing instruments in this symphony that is public media. Letson stated in his Transom manifesto: Stories are told that...

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Life, Breath, and Toxics: Lethal Negligence of Northeast and South L.A.
Mar16

Life, Breath, and Toxics: Lethal Negligence of Northeast and South L.A.

From Norco, Louisiana to Flint, Michigan to Los Angeles, California – environmental racism is real. On this edition of Making Contact, we look at polluting industries in Northeast and South L.A. We begin with a story by Making Contact’s Community Storytelling Fellow Ivan Rodriguez, followed by an interview with journalist Aura Bogado and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis. Featuring Ivan Maceda Rodriguez, Making Contact Community Storytelling Fellow Aura Bogado, Journalist, Grist Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor Credits Host: Jasmin Lopez Contributing Producer: Ivan Maceda Rodriguez Producer and Fellow’s Co-producer George Lavender Music: Blue Dot Sessions More information: Exide cleanup: Toxic lead removal could be California’s biggest yet The sad, sickening truth about South L.A.’s oil wells Money doesn’t matter: White people breathe cleaner air   This show features a segment from our Community Storytelling Fellowship. Thank You to our generous sponsors   And all of our individual...

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China’s Reproductive Regime: Mei Fong & Barbara Demick on China’s one child policy
Mar02

China’s Reproductive Regime: Mei Fong & Barbara Demick on China’s one child policy

January 2016 marked the end of China’s one child policy—a regime of family planning policies and enforcement that scarred generations of parents and children. On this edition of Making Contact, China correspondent Gady Epstein speaks with Mei Fong, author of One Child:The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment, and Barbara Demick, journalist and former Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times. Featuring: Mei Fong, author of One Child:The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment Barbara Demick, , journalist and former Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times Gady Epstein, China correspondent for The Economist. Credits Host: Monica Lopez Producers: Laura Flynn, Monica Lopez, Andrew Stelzer, Jasmin Lopez Original Content Producers: New America NYC and ChinaFile Special Thanks: Mary Wohlford Foundation for funding our Reproductive Justice beat More information New America NYC Mei Fong, author and...

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These photos show what it’s like to live in a tent city
Jan28

These photos show what it’s like to live in a tent city

This slideshow requires JavaScript. With rising rents around the country and decreased access to housing services, many people are looking for ways to aid the country’s growing homeless population. On this week’s show we look at tent cities that have emerged in Seattle and Portland. Scroll through the photos to get a better idea of life in Seattle’s Nickelsville and Portland’s Dignity Village. Listen to reporter Sara Bernard’s report below and the entire show here. Nicklesville Pushes Seattle Towards Acceptance of Tent Cities Seattle is one of the only cities in the nation to have passed an ordinance formally sanctioning tent cities. Last fall, three new encampments were built on city land, with city permits and city dollars. A lot of that success can be chalked up to Nickelsville, one of Seattle’s formal tent encampments, which has been around since 2008. Reporter Sara Bernard visited Nicklesville, and brings us this report....

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Women Rising 29: Food Sovereignty in indigenous communities
Jan06

Women Rising 29: Food Sovereignty in indigenous communities

  Women Rising radio profiles food sovereignty activists from India, Mexico, and Native American communities. If you are interested in GMOs, TTP, seed saving, herbal medicine, food, trade & activism –then tune in! Featuring: Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya Adelita San Vicente Tello, founder of Semillas de Vida Sage La Pena, Native American, ethno- botanist and food sovereignty activist Kanyon Sayers-Roods, Native American youth educator More information Navdanya fundación semillas de vida The Women’s Herbal Symposium of Northern California I Who are the Teachers Kanyon – Portfolio https://www.organicconsumers.org TPP Fine Print: Biotech Seed Companies Win Again | Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/ What drove a Korean farmer to kill himself in...

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Mutual Support: We do it Together
Nov18

Mutual Support: We do it Together

We hear about systems of mutual support; where peers coping with similar struggles like HIV, mental health issues and surviving prison step into the roles typically filled by licensed specialists. Mutual support can be controversial, especially when it tries to replace professional help. But it can also be immensely rewarding for all parties involved, and can save a ton of money. This show features a special segment by Making Contact Storytelling Fellow Al Sasser. Find out more about the fellowship here. Featuring: Mamokoena Malaka , Malilamo Mafwa. Elizabeth Mabothile, expert patients Lillian Nalwoga, Constant Kasonga, doctors in Lesotho Cameron Clark, Ozell Johnson,  Darryl Ray Poole, fellow inmates at California State Prison at Solano Louis Wright, corrections officer Dr. Erica Fletcher, documentarian Credits Host: Andrew Stelzer Contributing Producer: Al Sasser Special Thanks: The Omnia foundation for partial funding of this program. Hindenburg-our software sponsor for the Community Storytelling Fellowship. And thanks to everyone  who supported our Community Storytelling Fellows Crowdfunding campaign. More information: All of Us or None Expert Patient Program Cutbacks threaten Lesotho’s HIV sufferers Expert patients in Lesotho change lives Erica Fletcher, PhD Icarus Project Asheville Radical Mental Health Collective Options Recovery Services Project Rebound Root and...

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