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Audio Portfolio


Public Radio Programs:

 
Jim Metzner Poppa Letter
Poppa’s Letter

Poppa (14:25)

Poppa was broadcast on All Things Considered on Father’s Day, 1988. It’s a portrait of my grandfather, Isodore Silverman, who lived with my family when I was growing up. Right out of high school, I interviewed Poppa on my tape recorder – a hand-me-down reel-to-reel Sony. Those tapes languished in a cigar box almost twenty years, until I used them to create this portrait, mixed together with interviews from my family. The end of the program is a song about Poppa that features a haunting violin solo by Scarlet Rivera – the violinist heard on Bob Dylan’s song “Hurricane.” Poppa generated a great deal of listener mail – “driveway moments”, and received several broadcasting honors.


Passover Dreams (11:05)

We subtitled this program “The Seder at the End of the Universe”, and you’ll get a clue why from this excerpt – the first eleven minutes of Passover Dreams. What a treat to work with Theo Bikel, who’s records I used to listen to as a kid. Listen for the voice of academy award winner Melissa Leo playing Aunt Sonya.

The sounds of the opening banter are real – a rare recording of the Metzner clan in Pesach mode, minus such questions as “Why is this microphone in the horseradish?”

Click here to find out more about Passover Dreams.


Songs My Mother Sang to Me (7:46)

Mother's Day
Mother’s Day, 2006

Songs My Mother Sang to Me was broadcast on All Things Considered on Mother’s Day, 2006. It’s a “Person-in-the-Street” interview with a twist – people were asked to remember and then sing the song their mother used to sing to them. Of course many people had no desire to sing a song to a stranger, but I was surprised how many were quite willing. It was the power of the memory, I think, and the impulse to share it. This was a fun program to produce!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jim on Great Gull Island.  Recording the sounds of a chick.  That rather intimidating looking zeppelin has a stereo microphone in it.
Jim on Great Gull Island.

NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday – Compilation (7:55)

From 1995 to 2002, I was the “ambassador to the natural world” on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, blending sounds I recorded in field with commentary.

Jim on Great Gull Island. Recording the sounds of a chick. That rather intimidating looking zeppelin has a stereo microphone in it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fez, a Journey in Sound (12:20)

The Blue Gate is the main entrance to Fez

Fez, a Journey in Sound, first aired on Public Radio International’s the Savvy Traveler – a spinoff of Marketplace. Fez was part of a trilogy of programs I produced on Morocco. It’s been featured many times in Chicago’s Third Coast Festival. There are some great sounds in the program, including a roof-top perspective of the afternoon call to prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Syndicated Programs


 

 


You’re Hearing America – Umpires (2:03)

 

Umpires, featuring field recordings by Robert Parish, was a look at one of the shadow realms of baseball.We rarely pay attention to umpires except to vent our anger at a bad call. It turns out that they rely heavily on the sound of their call to get their message across – and respect from the players.


You’re Hearing America – Shoeshine

Shoeshine, with field recordings by Bob Lewis, showcases the rhythms and style of a vanishing art form.

Click here to find out more about You’re Hearing America.

 


 

Sounds of Science: Koko (2:06)

 


Koko and trainer
Patterson and Koko

Koko was for a time the world’s most famous gorilla. Taught by Penny Patterson to sign, Koko exhibited personality and a sense of humor. This program is an insight into the relationship between humans and our fellow primates.


Click here to find out more about Sounds of Science.


Sounds of Science: Tibetan Chant

Gyuto Monks
The Gyuto Monks

Tibetan Chant features renowned philosopher Huston Smith, featured on Bill Moyers “The Wisdom of Faith” program. Smith was the first westerner to record and describe multi-tonal chant as practiced by Tibetan monks.
Click here to find out more about Sounds of Science.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pulse of the Planet: Whale Rescue (2:03)

Whale Rescue was one of those moments where I happened to be in the right place at the right time, namely in Cape Cod, where I heard a radio newscast about some beached whales. There is an ad hoc volunteer army of rescuers on the Cape who converge on such occasions, and I joined them to help out, and in the process – record this program.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pulse of the Planet: Birdsong – Like Music (2000)

With birder/illustrator David Sibley.
With birder/illustrator David Sibley.

Birdsong – Like Music features the late, great Louis Baptista, revealing the relationship Beethoven and birdsong!

 

 

 

 


 

Pulse of the Planet: Cajun Mardis Gras – Song (2:04)

Masked, filming Cajun Mardi Gras
Masked, filming Cajun Mardi Gras

Cajun Mardi Gras- Song is part of suite of programs, something we do often on Pulse when we have such a rich subject. It tells the story of the rural Mardi Gras, a very different kind of event than the more famous New Orleans variety, with echoes of medieval mummery.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Pulse of the Planet: Science Diaries Compilation (10:12)

Science Diarist PJ Fleisher exploring an ice cave. Credit: PJ Fleisher.
Science Diarist PJ Fleisher exploring an ice cave. Credit: PJ Fleisher.

Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries (2005 – 2008) offered an insider’s look at the workings of science. We trained scientists in the field to record their own audio diaries. It enabled us to record some magical moments that would not have been possible otherwise. People still ask me how we were able to record the up-close sounds of biologist Steve Sillett repelling down from the canopy of a giant redwood tree! This is a montage of some favorite Science Diary moments.

Click here to find out more about Pulse of the Planet .


International Programs Compilation (2:46)

In Japan with storyteller Nekohachi Edoya and his daughter
In Japan with storyteller Nekohachi Edoya and his daughter

Versions of Sounds of Science and Pulse of the Planet have appeared in Japanese (client: FM Tokyo), German (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) and in Spanish (Hispanic Radio Network). This recording gives a sampling.