Tag Archives: pitches

TAL request for pitches

Latest request from TAL. Please note their pitch process in the third graf. Good luck!


Hello This American Life contributors,

Thanks so much for your all responses to our last theme list. Our next list will be sent out soon, and in the meantime, we'd like to get your input on a new theme-in-progress that will air in a couple weeks: "Held Hostage".

The show will include a story about a radio station in Columbia that broadcasts messages from the family members of hostages to their captive loved ones. But we're also looking for stories that deal with less literal hostage situations people trying to escape or cope with whatever in their lives is keeping them captive. We're particularly interested in stories where the hostage situation is humorous or lighthearted. Or where the "hostage" is a thing instead of a person.

A reminder of how this process works: When you send in a story idea, you'll get a generic email letting you know that we've read your pitch. If we think the pitch is right for the show, or if we need more information, you'll hear back from us. But if you don't hear back from us within two weeks from the auto-reply email, it means the story just isn't right for us or for the needs of that particular show. The idea of doing it this way is just to get through pitches and get back to everyone a little more quickly.

Also, for this theme only, please address all your pitches to Ben Calhoun, (ben@thislife.org) and/or Lisa Pollak (lisa@thislife.org).

As always, thanks so much for your pitches. All of us here are very appreciative.

Lisa and Ben

More Acquisition Updates from Liaison’s Desk – Pt. 5 TRANSOM.ORG

And another one – this one is open to everyone, artists, writers, etc.. -Mia



Transom.org acquires pieces for about $300 a pop. We encourage and assist producers in getting their work broadcast after it appears on Transom: on NPR news shows, This American Life, Hearing Voices, and other venues. We also coordinate Transom features with PRX distribution. We sometimes anthologize pieces in The Transom Radio Hour.

We’re looking for great radio — things that are less heard, different angles, new voices, new ways of telling, and any other good pieces that haven’t found another way onto public radio. Editors evaluate material more by what it does than what it is. Some questions they’ll consider:

• On the air, would it keep you by your radio until it’s over? • Is the maker someone of talent who should be encouraged? • Does it push at the boundary of conventional radio in an exciting way? • Will it provoke fruitful discussion online?

Submissions can be stories, essays, home recordings, sound portraits, interviews, found sound, non-fiction pieces, audio art, whatever, as long as it’s good listening. Material may be submitted by anyone, anywhere — by citizens with stories to tell, by radio producers trying new styles, by writers and artists wanting to experiment with radio. As long as it hasn’t already aired nationally, we’ll consider it.

More Acquisition Updates from Liaison’s Desk – Pt. 4 SPLENDID TABLE/STUDIO 360

More updates for radio program acquisitions – thanks to AIRand NPR Liason Paul Ingles! -mia

+++++++++++++++++++++ *The Splendid Table *

*series: *The Splendid Table, starring Lynne Rossetto Kasper, is a show about food — enjoying it, buying it, cooking it — and about eating out, entertaining, health and travel. We’re looking for *produced* field pieces which fit our program. We are always seeking stories about food as a window to a culture; about meals as a memorable part of travel; about food producers (artisans and otherwise), the business of food, and new trends; about food and health; about the behind-the-scenes of restaurants or other food businesses; about festivals, family gatherings, holiday celebrations, and amazing parties — and about people with particular passions about food. Pieces with a quirky point-of-view or a sense of humor are encouraged. Pieces about local restaurants or other food businesses should focus on the exceptional people who run them, or have some other editorial focus which makes the story interesting to our national audience. *compensation:* We will pay $500 for a fully mixed piece that is suitable for air and meets both our editorial and technical standards. We ask for the non-exclusive right to broadcast the piece on radio, and to offer it on the Web (in both”streamed” and/or archival form), both in perpetuity. You would own all rights to the piece other than those granted to us. We ask only that The Splendid Table receive an appropriate credit when the piece, or elements thereof, appears elsewhere. We honor the spirit of the Code published by * AIR*.

*Show*: national one-hour show which airs weekly on over 200 public radio stations across the country and is also podcast weekly. *segments:* we are looking for segments that are 3-5 minutes in length. *pitch:* E-mail a brief description of your piece as well as the edited and mixed piece (mp3, audio link, etc) for our review and consideration. We will respond quickly with ayes or no, or with a proposed modification of the piece. If we say yes, we will send you an Agreement right away. *Contact:* Jennifer Russell, Producer jenrussell@americanpublicmedia.org

*Studio 360*

We are still accepting pitches from independents. Our protocol remains the same – a brief (2 paragraph) pitch to Michele Siegel (mtsiegel@wnyc.org) cc me (dkrasnow@wnyc.org). (We hope to revise our Independent Producer Guidelines in the coming month.)

With regard to rates, we took a tip from the new NPR system and decided that levels based on complexity and labor (rather than arbitrary duration brackets) made a great deal more sense – especially for the kind of feature we make. I’d like to note here that the great majority of stories we assign will fall at Levels 2 or 3.

*A Level 1 Story *would typically:

– Start with topic or subject selection provided by Studio 360 – Consist of interview(s) with a single subject, recorded in person or by remote, or short interviews captured in a brief period of time.

*Fee: $350 **(with mixing bonus: $500)*

*A Level 2 Story *would typically:

– Consist primarily of interview(s) with a single subject, recorded on location or in studio – Involve careful subject selection and research – Use sound richly

*Fee: $475 **(with mixing bonus: $625)*

*A Level 3 Story *would typically:

– Involve significant research – Feature multiple interviews in person or by remote – Require reporting on location – Use sound richly

*Fee: $875 **(with mixing bonus: $1025)*

*A Level 4 Story *would typically:

– Involve significant research and expertise in the subject matter – Require out-of-town travel by the reporter – Involve location reporting at multiple sites – Feature multiple interviews – Use sound richly

*Fee: $1000 **(with mixing bonus: $1150)*

New York Public Radio will apply the mixing bonus of $150 when Producer provides a complete and finished mix of the Piece, upon approval of that mix from the Editor.

More Acquisition Updates from Liaison’s Desk

More freelance radio show updates from Paul Ingles. -mia


I’m hearing back from other programs now:


William Troop: Our program is accepting pitches from independents. The pitches can go to our two planning editors: Jennifer.Goren@bbc.co.uk and Aaron.Schachter@bbc.co.uk. We ask that anybody pitching keep in mind that we are an international news program, so pitches need to be on international angles and be newsy to some degree. Standard feature rate is $115 per minute aired. There are also rates for providing web content (pictures, slideshows, etc.) with the caveat there that the quality of the submissions (as assessed by our web team) affects how much we pay for them.


Kathleen McKenna: Due to budget constraints, Here and Now, is not taking pitches from independent producers at this time.


Lester Graham: Yes, we’re accepting pitches from EXPERIENCED independents. Stories must be relevant to the everyday lives of the majority of the audience. We are a national show and stories must have a national perspective. Before pitching, producers should carefully read our Submission Guidelines: http://www.environmentreport.org/about/submissions.php%C2%A0 http://www.environmentreport.org/about/submissions.php

We pay $400 for a 3:50 piece (including lead) and an additional $40 for the same piece cut down to 2:15. We pay $40 for a spot and an additional $20 for a two-way for our daily show.


John Haas: All three Marketplace programs are accepting pitches from independents and John is the pitch contact: jhaas@americanpublicmedia.org. The rates for features generally range between $300 – $600 depending on length and reporting difficulty.

John also shared these helpful notes for pitching to Marketplace:

Celeste Wesson, the senior producer for Marketplace, recently did a great workshop for some station reporters on pitching, and wrote up these suggestions. Thought you’d like seeing what she said.

Pitch workshop notes

What is a pitch? A reporter might say… a summary of the story; a sales pitch

From my POV as a show producer… The written pitch may be the only thing I know about you. So not only does it tell me your story idea, it also tells me how well you write, how you think, what kind of reporter you are. You’re not just selling the story, you are selling yourself as the storyteller.

If you eavesdropped on our pitch meeting, you’d probably hear us turning down pitches for reasons like these: I don’t understand what this story is about. That’s not new. Where’s the Marketplace? Too local. Can s/he write in our style?

Turning those negatives into positive pitch guidelines:

* The frame or angle is crucial – what’s the import, the context, and the approach * It’s now, it’s news, it’s fresh * It’s about money, business, the economy – or uses those as a lens on how we live * It’s clear why people all over the country would care * It’s written clearly, conversationally, even cleverly – and gets to the point

Here’s a list of things that may inspire your pitch. But by themselves, they aren’t enough:

* A question * An idea * An overview * An issue * An event (especially not a conference) * A character * An anecdote * An unattributed paragraph from a newspaper story

*FROM JARED WEISSBROT: SOUNDPRINT* is always open for documentary pitches — there’s a submission form linked on our website, and part of your proposal evaluation is based on finding the form :). Responses will generally be slow — production meetings are difficult to schedule and front-loaded with a currently-very-busy production pipeline. Pestering me does help you get results, is entirely appropriate, and will not arise my ire. Go ahead and guilt me — I can take it 🙂 jared@soundprint.org

YOUR BEST BET IS TO HAVE SOMETHING FOR US TO LISTEN TO. I cannot stress that enough. As far as pitches are concerned, we are currently in acquisition mode almost exclusively — especially if we haven’t worked with you before from soup-to-nuts. Our time is 25:30. We’ll listen to any length, but if your piece isn’t going to work at around 5/12ths-hour, you will likely have more success elsewhere. We do not run hour-long specials within the series, but we will take pieces that work at 29:00 (minus :30 for music bed and about 3:00 for host lead, credits, backs, and forward promotion). We will gladly work with you on reversioning longer-form pieces that we like. It’s doubtful that we’d work with you on reversioning longer-form pieces that we *don’t* like.

We pay more than the lower rates, and less than the highest rates, per produced minute (we know you gotta eat; but we’re a volume-buyer). We will gladly offer technical assistance, including some mixing&mastering assistance, without affecting your rate. This is for us, too — the flip side is that we often will request technical adjustments.

We have no set topics or themes that will make your piece more or less likely to be acquired. We like good, rich sound, clear and personal writing/storytelling, and stories which can translate/appeal to a national and international audience (along those lines, national and international rights need to be free and clear — if international is a problem, you have to let us know).

Hope this helps!


Paul Ingles Independent Producer / Reporter NPR Liaison to Independent Producers www.paulingles.com 505-255-1219

Acquisitions Update – who is taking what from radio freelancers

This incredibly valuable information for radio freelancers, from Paul Ingles, the NPR Liaison to Independent Producers. Please note that much of the radio information I send on to this group comes from AIR – the Association of Independents in Radio http://airmedia.org/. I have been a member for a long time and it’s an incredibly valuable resource. Please check them out if you’re interested. Best, Mia


At the request of Sue Schardt, I have been trying to contact various show producers to get an update on whether they are actively acquiring content from independents, and update rates paid. Response has been fast from some, slower from others, with no response from several – so far. Here’s what I’ve heard from those who’ve responded:


Ellen Weiss: Fiscal year 2010 looks better but NPR is still chipping away at a deficit so “we are holding the line on expenses – and the close scrutiny and high bar we put into place (on story submissions) remain….and will for the foreseeable future. The current rate system (based on expierence tiers and story enterprise levels) remains the same.”


Eileen Bolinksy: LOE is accepting a limited number of acquisitions from independents. Producers can pitch to me at this email address bolinsky@loe.org. We pay $100/minute, plus previously approved expenses.

*WORD OF MOUTH (New Hampshire Public Radio)*

Avishay Artsy: We are accepting pitches from independents. We take produced features (at $60/minute) and scripted two-way interviews (for $150). The show’s focus is the same: new ideas and trends in science, technology, popular culture, the arts, and other fields. AArtsy@nhpr.org


Leda Hartman: The WVR continues to accept pitches from domestic and overseas reporters. Our pitch meetings take place on Wednesday afternoons, US eastern time. We’re on the lookout for pieces about poverty and justice (broadly defined) that highlight the personal stories of ordinary people, and are rich in scenes and nat sound. We’re especially interested in surprising, out-of-the-box and under-reported stories that tell us something unique about life in the developing world. Our mix is about 80% international stories and 20% domestic. Pitches can be sent to the assignment editor, Leda Hartman, at ledahart@mindspring.com. If you’re pitching for the first time, please include a couple of audio samples of your work.

The WVR pays $450 for a feature under 4 minutes; $650 for a feature 4-6 minutes long; and $750 for a feature more than 6 minutes. We also run shorter, less conventional segments, including reporter’s notebooks ($300); street vendor segments ($250); cooking segments ($250); trackless “in their own words” segments ($200); photos and blogs ($25-$50). After the first piece, we will consider paying travel expenses if the expense estimate is submitted at the time of the pitch.

*AARP PRIME TIME POSTSCRIPT* ** Janelle Haskell: I am definitely still seeking submissions for Prime Time Postscript, the weekly 5-minute feature. Pieces need to be fully produced, between 4:00 and 4:15 in length, have not been broadcast previously *nationally, *and appeal to the 50+ audience (meaning on topics of every variety). We pay $350 for the spot and an extra $50 for fully cleared photos to use on the website. JHaskell@aarp.org

*BBC AMERICANA* ** David Schulman: Not taking many traditional reported pieces from independents as the show draws on the strengths of its host Matt Frei. Are using independents for “enchanced” tape synchs that might involve extra sound gathering. Still, listen to the show and if a story idea that would suit the program’s style comes to mind, pitch away: David.Schulman@bbc.co.uk Rates for a basic tape synch $175 flat fee. Enhanced tape synchs – $225. Buying from PRX (occasionally) at $60 per minute. David suggest keeping your AIR DIRECTORY listing current, because that’s where they go first to look for synch and reporting help where they need it.

These are programs I’m still nudging to hear back from: Studio 360, Latino USA, Splendid Table, Only A Game, Here and Now, Environment Report, Marketplace, The World, Soundprint. If there are other acquirers you are anxious to hear about, let me know and I’ll try to get in touch with them.


Paul Ingles Independent Producer / Reporter NPR Liaison to Independent Producers www.paulingles.com 505-255-1219

REVISED! Snap Judgment’s Call for Stories!!!

Hey folks – this update from Glynn at Snap Judgments: revised (higher!) pay rates. Hooray! -mia


Thanks to everyone for your amazing response to Snap Judgment’s Call for Stories, and suggestions on our rate structure. As promised, we have gone “back to the drawing board” on the rate structure, as reflected in this revised Call for Stories.

As former freelancers, we very much understand the need for sustainable compensation practices, and will endeavor to treat EVERYONE in the Snap Judgment community fairly.

Thanks again,


# **

Snap Judgment, winner of CPB’s Public Radio Talent Quest, launches April 2010, and is putting out a call for stories.

We’re looking for amazing stories. Quick. Distinctive Voice. Bobbing and weaving. Surprising ending. Raw. Urban sensibility. Intimate. Voyeuristic.

The “perfect” long form Snap Judgment story runs six to nine minutes.

Check out Episode ONE (Magic Doors) at SnapJudgment.org . . .

Typically in Snap Judgment pieces, the narrator presents a high stakes choice early on – subtly daring listeners to put themselves in place of the protagonist. Snap Judgment heroes make choices with consequence. As the story unfolds we learn more about both the teller and the environment / context they operate.

We like stories that transport listeners to different worlds. We really like international stories, but equally dig stories that navigate ethnic or social-economic communities outside the scope of traditional media. (For example, we would love a story about a Tongan prince, but would also dig one from the perspective of a sister-wife in north Utah.)

While main characters are allowed to draw lessons from their experience, we leave the “judging” of the story to the audience. We don’t mind if overlapping narratives conflict in their conclusions. (One person could conclude that arranged marriages are evil, another could conclude they are great.)

Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story! We like lies and lying liars. Lies and exaggerations are often more important than some antiseptic recall of the facts. We want character. A snapshot of the person in the moment of their Snap Judgment.

The more fantastical, the better. Snap Judgment dances on the edge of credulity. Did you see someone fly? Fantastic. Picked up by a UFO? Even better. Got a fictional piece you think would work? Try us.

The Snap Judgment theme is important, but most important is the story. Good stories have decision points. Good characters suck listeners in. The teller should want to share their story. (Or be so compelling in their reluctance, that we identify with them.) Either way, we must be compelled to listen as they illuminate a hidden piece of the world.

We’re currently working through a few basic “themes” – BUT don’t let this limit your imaginings. If you have a good idea, let us know!

1) 5150 (Stories involving people who are a danger to to themselves or and others.) 2) DROP EVERYTHING (people who have abandoned their current lives in search of a new one). 3) LIBRARY TALES (stories in or involving the most innocuous place of all – the local public library . . .) 4) SUPERHEROS (stories of people who use their powers to shake things up . . . hopefully in tights!)

Interested producers should send a pitch, and a quick synopsis of the story. We will read each and every pitch (promise) and let you know whether we would like to move to the next level.

We are interested in both fully edited stories and raw interview tape (that show staff will cut into stories for the radio show and podcast)

Turnaround Times 2 Days – Quick 3 Days – Average 6 Days – Intensive

Junior Level Day Rate – $250 2 days – $500 3 days – $875 6 days – $1500

Mid Level Day Rate – $325 2 days – $650 3 days – $1,188 6 days – $1,950

Senior Level Day Rate – $400 2 days – $800 3 days – $1,400 6 days – $2,400

Write to us: Pitches@SnapJudgment.org

Thanks a million! We can’t WAIT to hear from you . . . SnapJudgment.org

[Un]Observed seeks contributions

Hey folks. One of our own has started a very cool new project and she’s looking for contributors. Details below! -mia


The [Un]Observed, on-line radio magazine, is launching this month. It consists of interviews, more produced radio pieces, and sound pieces in and around art and culture (the culture part makes it a bit more broad). Over the years The [Un]Observed hopes to grow into a hub for interesting and engaging work that both reflects and is produced by the artistically inclined. Currently, The [Un]Observed has several contributors: Ben Adair, Douglas McGray, Aaron Ximm, Kara Oehler, Ann Heppermann, Jason Cady, Jeremiah Moore and Tania Ketenjian.

The [Un]Observed is seeking contributions! The idea for The [Un]Observed is that it be a play space for brilliant producers like you. Somewhere where you can place work that you are excited about, you really enjoyed producing or you love the way they turned out. Or even ones that are off the beaten path for you and you are in the midst of creating.

The piece can be as short as 60 seconds to an hour long, it can have aired before or it can be new, a work in progress, a collection of sounds, recordings of a family dinner, whatever you would like to get out there. The main thing is that the piece be about art or culture, or be artistically produced.

The [Un]Observed can be an archive for you as well where people can come to hear your work, amongst your peers and colleagues from around the world.

The magazine was conceived of by Tania Ketenjian who is seeking to expand the ways we can have access to interesting and engaging radio and sound works.

Currently The [Un]Observed is not in a position to compensate contributors but will do so as the site grows. That said, your contribution is invaluable and so appreciated.

To contribute, please send an e.mail to tania@theunobserved.com with CONTRIBUTION in the subject line.

TAL theme list

For those of you not on the AIR list, here are the upcoming themes for This American Life. -mia


Dear This American Life friends and contributors,

We’ve got a new round of themes-in-progress and we’re coming to you for story pitches, thoughts and suggestions for our upcoming shows.

How this process works: When you send in a story idea to me, I’ll respond with a generic email letting you know that I received your pitch and that I’ve read it. I promise. I read every pitch. (I won’t send you the auto response until I’ve read your pitch so expect a day or two delay sometimes to get that email.) If we think the pitch is right for us, or if we need more information from you, I’ll send you another email asking for more info on the story or letting you know we’d like to commission the story. But if you don’t hear back from us within two weeks, beyond the initial auto-reply email, it means the story just isn’t right for us or for the needs of that particular show. The idea of doing it this way is just to get through pitches and get back to everyone a little more quickly.

Like always, these themes are shows we’re actively pursuing right now but we’re always on the lookout for new stories or ideas. So if you’ve got a story that you think would work especially well for us but doesn’t fit a specific theme listed below, please send it along anyway.

Thanks so much for your pitches. All of us here are very appreciative.

Best, Julie (julie@thislife.org)

CONTENTS UNKNOWN: Stories about guessing, fantasizing and projecting. For this show, we’re sort of running the gamut from the literal to the metaphorical. A literal “contents unknown” story is one we’re planning about people who bid blind on abandoned storage units up for auction. Most of the bidders have a pretty good idea what they’re doing (if you see any hint of a Christmas ornament in the unit, RUN AWAY) but aside from small clues, it’s a lot of guesswork and luck. A more metaphorical take on the theme is a story about a guy who completely loses his memory and essentially allows all of the people around him (family, friends, doctors, bureaucrats) to write his identity for him. We’re now looking for more stories about entering into something where all you really know are the faint outlines of the thing. Maybe entering into a relationship – either romantic or professional – where you really don’t know what you’re getting into? Or someone trying to trust something they’re not sure is true? Stories that head down the more literal route would be great, too. Maybe trying to track down the ingredients to something? Or facing a huge archive without knowing what’s inside? This show is coming up soon and, honestly, we’re feeling a little desperate so if you’ve got something that might be wedged into a “contents unknown” kind of theme, please send it our way.

PARENT TRAP: When a woman is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she writes a series of letters to her 16 year old daughter, to be delivered after her death on the daughter’s successive birthdays. From the time she is 17 until she turns 29, the daughter gets a letter in the mail – sent by her father, via FedEx – each year. The letters are beautiful, filled with encouragement and affirmations of love. They are also filled with plenty of upbeat words about the Mormon Church and moral advice. Moral advice that, over the years, starts to feel increasingly chafing to the daughter who is moving further away, socially, politically and spiritually, from the Church and her mother’s views. The daughter begins to feel like she is receiving letters written for a girl she no longer is but who her dead mother wishes her to be. For this show, we’re looking for stories about how – with the best of intentions – parents and children can sort of manipulate each other into positions they’re not sure they want to be in. We’d love funny stories for this show – maybe an actual “parent trap” type story of setting parents up or the parents setting the kids up. Maybe a story about a parent organization or event? A parent trying to do the right thing and doing exactly the wrong thing? Stories about feeling trapped in a family situation would work well, too.

HEROES: A woman in Las Vegas has spent the last few years in a battle with her daughter’s elementary school about a number of different issues – a prominent one being campus security. So when she and another mom find a first grader wandering alone alongside a road near the school one day, they are outraged. They pick up the boy and call the school district saying they’re returning the boy but have also called the local media to document the egregious lack of security at the school. The moms show up with the boy for the drop-off and are promptly arrested and charged with kidnapping. It’s the climax to the story where both the moms and the school have been gunning for each other for years, the battle increasingly fueled with the idea of doing “what’s best for the children.” We have another story about a guy trying to single-handedly save the integrity of Wikipedia entries from his friend who is purposely planting false information on the site. Other stories that’d be great for this show could include stories about unsung heroes – people who maybe don’t believe their actions were heroic despite evidence to the contrary? Or people who shun the spotlight? Or can’t escape their hero status? Maybe a story about someone who thinks he is a hero but everyone else thinks he’s a pain in the ass?

THE ISLAND: We’d like for all the stories in this show to be held together by a place, instead of an idea. So all the stories have to take place on an island. That’s it. Just an island. But a real island, not a “no man is an island”/”every man is an island” kind of thing. We’re working on one story with the Planet Money team about the economic histories of Jamaica and Barbados and how a fairly small, benign monetary move had very large consequences for those countries. Another story is about an attempt to repatriate lab chimps to an uninhabited island in Senegal. So stories that take place in the United States might be good for this show – Long Island? Rock Island? Hawaii? We were working on a story about Guantanamo that looks like it’ll probably fall through so any stories about Gitmo would work great for this show, too. Ideally, the island would be somewhat of a character in the story or at least the geography would play a part in the how’s and why’s of the story. Maybe a story about being stranded on an island? Opening a business on an island? Fantasizing about an island?

PERMANENT RECORD: A few months ago we were working on a really great, small story. A guy sent us a letter telling us about this time his father went to inter the guy’s mother’s ashes at a Veteran’s Cemetery in Illinois. Because both the father and the mother were vets, it was the father’s understanding that the interment would be free. But when he shows up at the cemetery, he’s told there is a $14.95 processing fee for the ashes. The father gets totally pissed, sees this as penny-pinching and a total betrayal of the U.S. government and, in his anger, dumps the ashes in the parking lot, goes home and tells his shocked kids what he did. Over the years – until his own death – the father is embarrassed by the story whenever the kids bring it up and accuses them of always “focusing on the bad things.” So it’s kind of a funny story of spazzing out, right? And the son tells the story beautifully. But when we call the Veteran’s Cemetery to fact-check the story, it turns out it’s not true. They DON’T charge a processing fee and, in fact, they double-check and say the mother’s ashes actually ARE interred at the cemetery – right next to the father’s ashes. We call back the son and ask what’s up. He’s shocked. He SWEARS this is the story his father told and his brother and sisters back him up on it. None of them can figure out why their dad would tell them this crazy story if it weren’t true. And all they can figure out is that their dad, in his later years, began to have a horrible memory. And maybe he was just messing with them the first time he told them and then, after that, forgot the story, forgot that it wasn’t true, relied on the kids’ version and then it just became fact. SoooooŠwe’re looking for more stories where something that maybe isn’t true becomes the permanent record. We’re working on a story about a an exonerated prisoner who keeps getting falsely accused of other crimes but that story may fall through so we’re open to more stories about trying to free yourself from an official “record.” Stories that might work well: maybe stories about trying to get free from a notorious reputation or past deed? Or trying to set the record straight? Or trying to change an identity?


TRUE URBAN LEGENDS: The thing that’s remarkable about this story is that you’ve already heard this story: a really normal guy who attends a very conservative evangelical college also leads a secret life on weekends, flying to places like Las Vegas and the San Fernando Valley, to star in hardcore gay porn films where he is known as “power bottom” Vincent De Salvo. The thing that I love about this story is that it’s true. Because I swear I’ve heard this exact story from my college roommate’s friend-from-high school’s sister. So what we want to try and do now is a whole show where the really remarkable part of the story is that, while the story conforms to the narrative structure and has all the editorial qualities of an urban legend, it’s actually true. We’re also thinking about doing something about the “monster fish” that showed up in a puddle behind a Dunkin’ Donuts in Baltimore a few years back (a popular story among the D.C./Baltimore set but, remarkably, little known to the rest of the country). We’ve got our eye on a story about organ trafficking, too. We’d love any other story you can think of that either traces the origins of an urban legend in a surprising way or lays out in a classic ‘urban-legend’ kind of way. A story about someone who created an urban legend, or maybe believes they are at the heart of an urban legend, would be great, too. And finally: we’re thinking we may just do a small part of the show where people admit the urban legends they believed for far too long. If you’ve got one of these stories about your own naïve beliefs, will you let us know?

MILLION DOLLAR IDEA: A few months ago our staff got to talking about our get-rich-quick schemes. It turns out Ira’s Million Dollar Idea is to domesticate foxes – he claims it’s easier and faster than you’d think. And then you’d have a really, really smart dog. A really smart, really crafty, really sneaky dog. Which sounds like a bad idea to me but I’d like to hear more of the argument before I truly pass judgment. Anyway, it got us to thinking that we’d love to do a whole show about various Million Dollar Ideas. The stories could be about unorthodox approaches to making money. Or, maybe, unorthodox approaches to solving a problem and going at it in a really big way. If someone is in the middle of enacting their Million Dollar Idea, that’d be great. Or stories about past successes that seemed incredibly unlikely at the time of inception. So-crazy-it-just-might-work stories would work well in this show, too.