Ira Glass offers insight into radio show at Westobou Festival

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The radio medium is inherently about creating a personal connection to other’s experiences, said Ira Glass, the host of National Public Radio’s This American Life, on Saturday night.

Ira Glass speaks as part of the Westobou Festival. The National Public Radio show airs on more than 500 radio stations.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Ira Glass speaks as part of the Westobou Festival. The National Public Radio show airs on more than 500 radio stations.

“We can bombard ourselves with stories from the moment we get up in the morning ‘til the time we go to bed at night,” Glass said. “How rare it is for a story to take you into someone else’s experience.”

Glass described the structure of his show, which airs on more than 500 radio stations across the country, for a nearly-full audience at Augusta State University’s Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre. “Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass” was the first event at the theatre for the 2011 Westobou Festival.

Several hundred people attended the show to see the face of the voice they hear on the radio show listened to by 1.7 million people on the radio and another 600,000 by podcast every week.

“Wonderful; very insightful,” said Jill Korn, of Augusta. “He’s very inspiring.”

The show provided a more full understanding of the journalism craft and the everyday human experience, Korn said.

Fans waiting before the show shared funny and memorable stories they have heard Glass tell on the radio since it began in 1995.

“I like the oddities of the stories; the characters or whatever shows up,” said Carson Blocker, of Augusta. “You never know what you’re going to get.”

Saturday’s show began with the theatre lights off and Glass on the stage to simulate the “intimacy of radio voice.” Then, he played a sound clip from a CNN show followed by a clip of his show’s reporting on the beginning of the War on Terror from a naval ship.

In the show, the reporter laughed during an interview with the Navy sailor who has the full-time job of stocking the ship’s vending machines.

“Imagine your traditional newsmen ... in this situation,” he said. “We’re supposed to be serious. We’re supposed to know better.

“There’s strict segregation between the funny and the serious in news broadcast,” Glass said.

This American Life consciously strives to add aesthetics, joy and surprise to stories, but tells the very important news simultaneously, he said.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL

The fourth annual Westobou Festival, Augusta’s 10-day celebration of the arts, features big names, collaborations and one-of-a-kind performances. Tickets are available for many performances, and nearly half of the festival’s 50 events are free. Learn more at westoboufestival.com.

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mosovich
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mosovich 10/03/11 - 11:28 am
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Obviously the reporter was

Obviously the reporter was not listening to what Ira was saying.. Actually plaid an CNN introduction that made everything so serious and scary where as his person interviewed the girl who filled the machines and he said it was important for media not to be so serious and scary and to put a personal touch to the story that we could all relate to..

augustaguy17
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augustaguy17 10/26/11 - 08:19 pm
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Yet another rosy story about

Yet another rosy story about public radio. Yawn. The Augusta Chronicle needs to focus on the Augusta State University/Georgia Public Broadcasting "partnership." Augusta State has for years funneled many thousands of dollars down the toilet by “investing” in Georgia Public Broadcasting, with very little return. That includes paying a salary and benefits for an employee to sit in an empty radio studio…doing what??? And why is there so much signal trouble with the radio and television stations? Augusta State has many times gotten low marks for academic performance. Why doesn’t President Bloodworth and the university make academics a priority for once? Why doesn’t the Augusta Chronicle do the real story: the wasteful spending by Augusta State on a failing venture…instead of the usual p.r. crud? It’s your state dollars, folks.

augustaguy17
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augustaguy17 10/26/11 - 08:39 pm
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And how much money did ASU

And how much money did ASU and GPB pay for him to come? Somebody should ask the Barclay agency.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 10/26/11 - 08:58 pm
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Let's see the tickets cost

Let's see the tickets cost more than I could comfortably afford at the time and the show sold out so I'm sure they recouped his fee. Besides that, NPR did not pay his way, the Westabou Group brought him here. Most of the programming is now done with private funds so all of your points are kind of moot. While the University scored by him performing there, the University did not, in fact, pay his fee. As for the signal, I can get the local NPR station most of the way to Columbia, SC and Statesboro, so I don't know what you're talking about. NPR and GPB are not the same thing, so technically GPB is not even part of this conversation, but the nearest dish for our local GPB is in Burke County, so if you, like me, do not have cable, you need an electrically amplified antenna like the one I own, which I got off the internet for if I'm not mistaken $50. I get GPB just fine and live near Pendleton King Park.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 10/26/11 - 08:59 pm
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"Augusta State has many times

"Augusta State has many times gotten low marks for academic performance"

Got any evidence to back up that statement? Because last I heard, it is very highly rated academically.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 10/26/11 - 10:48 pm
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First off, a great percentage

First off, a great percentage of students who begin at ASU take their core classes and then go on to schools like MCG for degrees in nursing, radiology, and therapy. The numbers you posted are skewed. I began my long educational career at Eastern Michigan University, studied advanced Russian at Presidio of Monterey, CA, and also took classes at Monmouth University. Once leaving government service, I attended ASU where I got my science degree. Excellent professors, took part in clubs and honor societies and graduated with a 3.85 all while working full time and taking care of two children.

augustaguy17
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augustaguy17 10/27/11 - 12:07 am
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Whatever.

Whatever.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/27/11 - 07:08 am
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Hey, Cassandra, I'm doing the

Hey, Cassandra, I'm doing the same thing with TV, using indoor rabbit ears to get local channels. I get the big stations, but cannot receive channel 20 (GPB). Since their broadcasting antenna is in north Jefferson County near Deans Bridge, I would have thought I could pick them up, but no luck. What kind of antenna do you have? Do you have to mount it on the roof?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/27/11 - 07:12 am
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Cassandra wrote: Because last

Cassandra wrote:

Because last I heard, it [ASU] is very highly rated academically.

You must have heard that about Arizona State University. Anyway, you cannot trust ratings agencies.

augustaguy17
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augustaguy17 10/27/11 - 05:06 pm
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Little Lamb, You're not

Little Lamb, You're not supposed to be having problems. Georgia Public Broadcasting spent millions of dollars in public money (your money) on their digital transmitters and antennas. The federal government requires digital television to be made accessible to everyone, even low-income folks who cannot afford antennas and such. If you continue to have problems, contact the FCC. GPB will be no help to you.

augustaguy17
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augustaguy17 10/27/11 - 05:21 pm
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From the AJC..."About 80

From the AJC..."About 80 percent of students graduate within six years at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, according to the University System. Less than one-third do so from schools like Augusta State and Clayton State universities." That's been the case for years and reported many times. Enough said. They're NOT graduating. These numbers come from the STATE, which operates ASU.

My comments are about GPB and ASU, and their constant waste of public money. Neither entity is private. NPR is not part of this discussion. NPR itself is not a government agency, although it gets millions of dollars in federal money.

Most of the people I know in Augusta listen to the public radio station in Aiken, South Carolina, because they can't get the signal in Augusta. It's all in the Arbitron ratings, which have borne this out time and time again in writing through sophisticated and scientific surveys. In fact, sometimes the Aiken station has more than double the listeners as Augusta. This is cold hard evidence.

Moving on, why do I have to pay to get a special "amplified" antenna to get my local GPB television station, when my money already funds GPB, a GOVERNMENT agency, with a long history of terrible bureaucracy that's been reported on for years?

Federal government regulations require that digital broadcast television stations, even private ones, be made available to everyone, including low-income folks, without special burdens. Little Lamb's comments are not the first I've heard about trouble getting reception. It's shameful that the one station that's hard to get is operated by a government agency, especially since GPB paid millions of dollars in public money (your money) to set up these transmitters and antennas.

I'm very glad to see my comments are getting so much attention, whether I agree with them or not. These issues so desperately need a critical eye and investigation.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/27/11 - 06:15 pm
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AugustaGuy17, I don't get all

AugustaGuy17, I don't get all the negativity directed at ASU. Everyone knows commuter schools have a different population than others. The students are often adults going part time around their jobs. They take longer to get their degrees or it may not be their goal to get a degree. What's the issue?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 10/27/11 - 10:40 pm
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Augusaguy17 wrote: Little

Augusaguy17 wrote:

Little Lamb, You're not supposed to be having problems. Georgia Public Broadcasting spent millions of dollars in public money (your money) on their digital transmitters and antennas. The federal government requires digital television to be made accessible to everyone, even low-income folks who cannot afford antennas and such. If you continue to have problems, contact the FCC. GPB will be no help to you.

Thank you, Augustaguy. I think you are right. I spent $80 on my digital rabbit ears and I think I should be able to pick up channel 20, since I live in Augusta and the antenna is north of Wrens. I will contact the FCC next week.

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