Best of Forum 2012: Michael Krasny and Staff Pick Favorite Shows

On the Forum radio show, we’re constantly analyzing our performance. After each day’s show we gather and discuss what worked, what didn’t, and what listener feedback we received.

As an end-of-the-year exercise, we decided to take some time to look back in a less critical way, recalling shows that we’re especially proud of or left an impression on us.

Here are the team’s picks…

Michael Krasny, Host

“I was affected by the show we did under the rubric of “In My Experience” on incarceration. A compelling story was told by one of the guests about the struggles he had faced as an African American with a prison record.  What struck me was his willingness to accept responsibility for the bar brawl that got him sent away to be incarcerated and the pain and hurt he felt over the assumptions others made about him being a criminal, even a thief or a pedophile, simply because he had been incarcerated.”

 

“I felt a good deal of impact with the series we did from Castlemont High School on the dropout crisis — realizing in a singular and unique way the kinds of challenges many of these impressive young people face simply trying to stay in school and complete their high school education.”

 

“Finally — let me throw in an hour we did on Shakespeare and why his work continues to matter across cultures, which was  great fun and especially meaningful to a one-time would-be Elizabethan scholar.”

 

And one from 2011…

“We did a show on Alzheimer’s that included Douglas Rosenberg, who had pledged millions of dollars to Alzheimer’s research, specifically to the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. He challenged others listening to pledge.

Someone high up at Bechtel heard the broadcast and pledged a million dollars. It revealed to me the kind of extraordinary and unexpected impact that radio can have.”

 

Dave Iverson, Friday Host

“I was raised Catholic and how you contend with church teachings you find challenging has personal resonance for me. But beyond that, it did what I hope a good interview does. I think I asked what needed to be asked and I think the Archbishop did his best to answer. It was a tough but fair, interview. And interestingly, the Archbishop felt the same way.”

 

Dan Zoll, Senior Producer

“There were a lot of memorable shows in 2012, many on critical social and political issues, but my pick is a lighter one that I had a blast working on. With its exhibit “San Francisco and the Movies,” the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society gave us a good excuse to look at the city’s role  in cinema history. How often do you get to play a clip of  Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in Dark Passage and then talk about  the Moderne-style Malloch Building on Montgomery Street, which served  as the location for Bacall’s apartment?

The three guests were excellent, as I knew they would be, but what surprised me was the level of listener knowledge and interest. We received a flood of calls and emails and more than 75 online comments, recalling films ranging  from the famous Bullitt car chase featuring Steve McQueen to less well  known films like Wayne Wang’s “Chan is Missing.”

 

Irene Noguchi, Producer

“I was going to pick “Radio Ambulante” or Glynn Washington from “Snap Judgment” as my favorite for 2012, and then we did Friday’s show looking at how violence can impact a community. No offense to my previous choices (I heart you, Radio Ambulante!), but I liked this show for its very real, truthful voices.

We often talk about issues from an outsider’s perspective, with experts who are well-informed but sometimes distanced from what people are going through on the ground. But Friday, we heard from people in the thick of it: a young woman who talked about hearing gunshots in her neighborhood, and another woman who lost two sons to shootings.  They were so fired up and passionate about their community, and the show got really intense. I’m glad we heard from them.  It’s these voices that take issues and crystallize them into reality… and keep me riveted to the radio.”

 

 Judy Campbell, Producer

In setting up this show I had many long conversations with a lot of people about their personal experiences in prison and about their crimes and their lives. As a producer or reporter we sometimes get the opportunity to hear stories like this, complicated and nuanced, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes funny. But to fit them into a story or a program, we usually need to boil them down to the issues that help illustrate a point or argue for a policy change. In this show we heard four people with very different experiences who were willing to share intensely personal parts of their lives at length.

They were remarkably candid and well-spoken and  I think the show gave a rare  glimpse into the life experiences of people we often talk about but don’t regularly hear from.

 

Amanda Stupi, Engagement Producer

“I love shows with clear takeaways — calls to action that people can actually implement. One show that changed my behavior was the show with Beth Terry about reducing one’s plastic footprint. Her passion and pragmatic tips have stayed with me — I’ve begun using reusuable sandwich wraps, saying no to drinking straws and asking myself, “Do I really need to buy this?”

Also, as Forum’s engagement producer, I find myself experimenting with new ways to involve our audience and testing just how much my coworkers will reveal about themselves online. I couldn’t believe it when the other producers and guest host Scott Shafer collected the plastic they used for an entire day, bringing it in for me to photograph. That’s dedication!”

 

If you’re a Forum listener, we’re curious what program from 2012 stuck with you.  Tell us in the comments below.

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Author

Amanda Stupi

Amanda Stupi is an interactive producer for KQED News. She grew up in Northern California, where her mother would woo her inside on warm summer nights with promises of The Monkees and CHIPS. Stupi is fascinated with the intersection between popular culture and the fine arts. Her idea of artistic perfection includes The Beastie Boys' Check Your Head, Joni Mitchell's Blue, Bull Durham, several episodes of Cheers, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and most of Wallace Stevens' poetry. Stupi's life goals include watching every episode of Law and Order, finishing a screenplay and thanking her mom in an Oscar acceptance speech.

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