mad in pursuit journal


home-recorded 78Take Three

My best "found sound" and family history treasure: 25 home-recorded 78s my mother's family cut in the 1940s. I keep trying to turn them into radio -- a short piece that would capture their essence: the contrast between completely giddy parties and the terrible sacrifices of war.

Take 1 (Feb 2004)

Posted my first attempt ("Kitty's War") on the Public Radio Exchange (PRX). It got a blistering review from a respected member of the public radio community. (ouch! here) As I listen back on what I'd produced, the bastard was right.

Take 2 (April 2004)

Went to the Association for Independents in Radio (AIR) and got a mentor to help me fix the piece (learning history recorded here). My very experienced mentor from the University of Indiana liked the 6-1/2-minute result ("Kitty Keeps On Singing"). My nemesis from Take 1 swooped in again to take another potshot at it. A couple of North Carolina radio stations picked it up to play around Memorial Day of that year. No nibbles since then.

Take 3 - Part 1 (May 2006)

Dragged Jim to Toronto for the "Radio Without Boundaries" sound art conference. It was a revelation to me that people were doing wild creative things with sound that did not fit the National Public Radio mold. I went to a workshop where I got to play 4 minutes of "Kitty Keeps on Singing" to get feedback from veteran producers Steve Wadhams* and Darren Copeland. I got a pageful of notes.

Take 3 - Part 2 (This Week)

I listened to both versions of my "Kitty" productions. Both have their pluses and minuses. I see that "Kitty Keeps On Singing" is really two stories: (1) my grandmother's early life [now needing some factual correction] and (2) coping with war. My initial impulse was to edit it down, but now (after rereading all my notes) I'm reworking it. Stay tuned.

[I'm trying a new "print" code -- if you try to print out this page and something goes haywire, please let me know.]


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* Steve Wadhams gave us these criteria for a successful radio piece:

Did you go anywhere?

Did you meet anyone interesting?

Did you learn anything?

Did you feel anything?

Were there any surprises?