The GPRX Blog: The best of youth-produced radio, curated by our Editorial Board

Youth EB Picks: What is Young People's Oppression from On Blast

July 2, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Milton Guevara

While saying that young people are oppressed by rude adults may be an overstatement, there does seem to be a stigma among some adults that young people are “wild and irrational.”

In What is Young People's Oppression, Tiana shares her experience of being poorly served in a pizza shop. “She appears to be annoyed at the sight of our overstuffed backpacks and book filled arms,” Tiana says, describing a woman at the counter. This is a relatable moment. An elder being rude, probably for little or no reason. This piece is important because it addresses the tensions caused by generation gaps, and offers solutions to those tensions. Namely, using kindness.

Tiana is well spoken and her narration is easy to follow. She uses restaurant sounds during some of the narrative. Much of the story seemed like a personal essay.This piece made me think about whether or not it should considered normal for adults to be rude to young people.

An Ode to Independents Everywhere

June 20, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Barton Girdwood


Photo: Lynn Beavin, Independent Producer in Bloomington, IN

You can hear us from our closets, stuffed between dirty laundry and pillows. From our dorm rooms, when our roommate heads to Anthropology 101. From our parent’s laptops, mixing whatever sound we’ve managed to collect on the freest software we can find. We’re the few. We’re the brave. We’re the independents.

No one understands our idols (“Robert Krulwich? Isn’t he in Harry Potter?”). No one understands our dreams (“Don’t you know Journalism is dying?”). But when we find each other, it’s like meeting your estranged twin for the first time, and they just so happen to be as equally brilliant, devilish, and pure-hearted as you.

I met one of the following producers, John Kreitzburg, through PRX last week. I heard his piece, Ashes, and I sent him a message. *BAM* we’re exchanging essay-length emails about story and production ideas. John’s a 20-year-old college student who won Best Dressed in 2nd grade, and he’s one of the hundreds of us youth who make audio off of a whim.

We take what we see around us—rioting on television, open fields for miles and miles, an interview with the local gas station attendant—and we turn it into something that matters, if not to anyone else, at least to us. And we put it out there. This week for Generation PRX we’re going to honor those independents: those of us who don’t have a local radio group, class, or even a friend who gets why we do this.

Each of the following pieces were produced by individuals and posted to PRX on their personal accounts. Some have been doing this for years; others, this is their first piece:

Find the whole great collection on this playlist.

Youth EB Picks: Judging Graffiti: Art or Vandalism?

June 10, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Kristopher Buttafoco


Lately I have been on the bus, walking around the city and just out and about in general, and all around me I see graffiti. Some of it looks like my pre-school art while other pieces can be a rich narrative spanning across the walls of the neighborhoods it is speaking of. How do you feel about graffiti? How do you feel about artistic expression and criminals? How are the people in a community affected by the graffiti there? All of these questions arise in this piece, Judging Graffiti: Art or Vandalism from KALW. Producer Lupe Hernandez does a great job walking the fine line of this controversial topic while not stepping on anyone's toes.

Whatever side you are on with this subject, if you even have a side, I strongly encourage anyone to check it out. This piece also highlights certain aspects of life in San Francisco usually unseen and gives a raw view of the city and its art/crime from the community perspective.

Youth EB Picks: Space for a Big Sister – Philly Youth Radio

June 5, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Kamna Shastri

Photo: Kamna Shastri

Photo: Kamna Shastri

Recently, I've been ruminating over what it means to be a big sister. Between my younger brother and my younger cousin, there often seems to be a pressure to behave responsibly, to set an example, to engage the younger ones while still somehow maintaining a level-headed calm. Sometimes, that just seems impossible. Thien To’s reflection in ‘Space for a Big Sister’, echoes the challenge that comes with being an older sibling. Her answer to the question of how to stay sane lies in a room that she calls her ‘sanctuary’. However, even this room isn't exempt from trespassers.

With the sanctity of this place being threatened by other family members, To takes a new look at what it means to be an older sister.

The strongest part of this piece is To’s emotive delivery and the way she presents her story with light hearted humor. There are some segments that are hard to understand in terms of delivery. While To provides a good outline of her story and the conflict in it, I still find myself wanting more details. What did she do in this room that she considered her sanctuary?

This would be a great piece suited for programming themed around family, sibling relationships, and perhaps even challenges faced by teenagers.

For me the takeaway of this piece wasn't so much what was said as what wasn't said. “Space for a Big Sister” not only allows insight into how another person deals with their sibling relationships, but also pushed me (as the listener) to reexamine my own role as an older sibling.

Learn more about Philly Youth Radio


Quick, Stylish & Mobile: The New Signal

June 4, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Jones Franzel

SignalScreenShotIt's here! Signal, the Generation PRX newsletter, is now in a format that's just right for reading on the go. Signal is your source for all the latest in the world of youth-produced radio: from opportunities, to tools and tips, to stories we love.

This month: Stories of student debt from Columbia College Chicago, tips on getting studio quality sound without the studio, and playlists to enjoy (and add to!).

Not subscribed? Sign up here to make sure you don't miss the next issue.

This Just In: Top 5 Goodies in Youth-Made Radio

May 29, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Jones Franzel

  1. 2 days left! Submit your teen diaries to Cowbird by by May 31st for a chance to be featured on Radio Diaries and NPR. Or just browse through the gorgeous stories written, recorded and photographed by teens so far.
  2. Flex your chops: Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive from Union Docs and AIR in August and December.
  3. Opening on the GPRX Youth Editorial Board. If you like listening to youth-made radio, giving thoughtful feedback, and getting recognition for these talents – you could be a match! Application and details.
  4. As part of the American Graduate Initiative, stations are looking for stories that address the dropout crisis. Check out the playlist and let us know if you have stories to include.
  5. Bandfu turns your computer keyboard into a musical keyboard.  No promises you won't lose 10 minutes trying to figure out "Chopsticks…" 

IOU: Stories of Student Debt from Columbia College Chicago

May 21, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Jones Franzel

Photo Credit: ~jjjohn~

Photo Credit: ~jjjohn~

Is college worth it? Don't miss this ambitious half-hour program on student debt from those who know, IOU: Stories of Student Debt from Columbia College Chicago. How much do they know? Their class of documentary radio students holds a combined student debt of over $300,000. And that's normal.

IOU takes a wide-ranging look at this generation's most pressing financial problem, from stories about high school students beginning to grasp the reality of $54,000 yearly tuition, to living with debt, to the complexities of borrowing money… from friends.

Youth EB Picks: Mixed Blood Majority from Radio K

May 6, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Kristopher Buttafoco

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 1.29.54 PM

I'm going to start this with no hesitation like the guys in Mixed Blood Majority, from the start of the song "Fine Print" the beat comes on thick with a hypnotic feel to it. Then, the vocals come on aggressively with some groove, really riding these beats well. Next, comes "Hallucination Music" which has the chorus that is still stuck in my head, bringing melody of the woozy chords and the hard chanting with a lot of depth to it. In the interview, these guys seem pretty laid back with their stories of rap records and brunch.

The interviewer asked good questions considering the length of the interview, but I would've liked to hear more about where to hear more of them and who each of the guys are and their role in the group, but this interview definitely covered good ground. Finally, to end the piece with a bang I hear "Still Standing Still," in this song the abundant percussion jumps around my headphones with the heavy piano driving the beat, and the vocals starting with laughter but then quickly jumping in with some strong vocals and my favorite "Still, still, standing, standing still, killing time awaiting on a plane to make a crash landing."

Mixed Blood Majority brings a lot of energy and some depth to it also. Laserbeam's producing is strong and with lots of percussion panning across the sound scape. The two rappers ride the beat with energy, keeping it fresh as the beat pulls you in. Most of all these guys like brunch like me. Keep up the good work Radio K and Mixed Blood Majority.

Youth EB Picks: Have You Ever Been Waiting from Youth Media Project

May 2, 2013 in GPRX Blog by A.D. Quig


This piece from Youth Media Project
is a touching collection of stories. Each one is short and simple, beautifully written, and accompanied by expertly curated music that matches each story's tone. I can picture each of these in my mind perfectly — the kind face of a grandmother, the coastline, little girls flitting about in their tutus, and a lone picture on a wall. The descriptions are not too lengthy, the stories are not too earnest, and the narration holds my attention with perfect footholds for thought in between. The answer to this question is yes — we've all been waiting for something — but maybe not for moments as profound as these.

Of the many multi-voiced, almost vox pop styled pieces I've listened to on this site, this has to be one of my favorites. It's most notable for its global voices (from Tanzania, Canada, United States, and Uganda) that unite under one theme – waiting. Like a condensed "This American Life," it connects disparate tales in a way that immediately conjures memories and emotions. It lingers long after the first listen.

Other producers can learn from many of the timing decisions made in this piece. Each of the four segments last just around a minute, the pauses between them aren't distractingly long, and the music fades are artful. When pieces like these rely almost entirely on copy, it's key that the recording of the narration is the best it can be so the listener can focus on the words, not the audio quality. This piece doesn't necessarily fit perfect into any one type of programming, but it stands very well on it's own.

Chicago Youth Poetry Festival: LTAB

April 23, 2013 in GPRX Blog by Jones Franzel

After the events in Boston in last week, many of us are needing an injection of hope. And while the topics that the young poets in the Louder Than A Bomb Youth Poetry Festival tackle are often painful, the way in which these young people use words will give you hope. Raw talent, passionate delivery, gifted insight. Louder Than A Bomb is exactly that: words more powerful than violence.

Enjoy the whole series from WBEZ on PRX.