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KUSP Captures Two Murrow Awards

2014 Edward R. Murrow AwardsToday the Radio Television Digital News Association announced the regional winners of the 2014 Edward R. Murrow Awards. KUSP, I’m happy to say, has two wins this year!

kusp.org earned an award for best broadcast affiliated Web site. The Water Squeeze, our ongoing series explaining Monterey Bay area water planning, was recognized for continuing audio coverage of a major developing issue.

I’m very pleased the judges recognized what’s been achieved by the community volunteers and professional staff who collaborate on kusp.org –and we are grateful for the high-level peer recognition for The Water Squeeze, one of our many reporting initiatives at KUSP and one we’re especially proud of.

The awards highlight the steady growth of KUSP’s efforts to meet the information needs of the Monterey Bay area and keep up with how Monterey Bay area residents get their news.
“The Murrow Awards honor journalism at its finest,” said Mike Cavender, Executive Director of RTDNA. “Local newsrooms serve their communities 365 days a year, and we’re proud to recognize the great work they do.”


Leon Panetta 2014 Lecture Series


KUSP is proud to broadcast the Leon Panetta 2014 Lecture Series.

Click here to watch past  lectures.

The theme this year is ‘Learning the Lessons of History: Is the Past Prologue to the Future?’

The four announced lectures are:

War and Peace — 100 Years Since World War I
Speakers: Nicolas Burns, Michèle Flournoy, James Stavridis

Role of Government — Depressions, Wars, Equality and Poverty
Speakers: Barney Frank, Alan Simpson

Security Versus Freedom — Sedition to Internment to Surveillance
Speakers: Barton Gellman, Michael Morell, Robert Mueller

How Presidents Make Decisions — Leadership, Crisis, Politics and Trust
Speakers: David Axelrod, Erskine Bowles, Andrew Card, Jr., Kenneth Duberstein
More details on the lectures available here.

Echoes of the Big Bang: Cosmologist Anthony Aguirre on the BICEP2 Experiment


From the 7th Avenue Project w/ Robert Pollie. Broadcast on March 23, 2014.

The BICEP2 was built specifically to detect evidence of gravity waves in the cosmic microwave background radiation. And whaddya know – it worked.

The BICEP2 was built specifically to detect evidence of gravity waves in the cosmic microwave background radiation. And whaddya know – it worked.

By Robert Pollie:

Big physics is on a roll. It seems like only yesterday we were applauding the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider. And then this week came word that the BICEP2 microwave telescope at the South Pole had found evidence of gravitational waves from the inflationary epoch – a glimpse of the universe at the time of the Big Bang, or maybe even before. “Holy crap!” was my reaction, but I needed something more for a radio show, so I got in touch with Anthony Aguirre. Cosmic inflation is one of his specialties, and I thought he’d be a great person to explain the new findings. He was. And I stand by my initial assessment: holy crap!

For more background on inflation theory, our 2011 interview with Anthony is an excellent start.

New School Standards Could Encourage Teachers to Take Field Trips

O’Neill sea Odyssey Education coordinator Laura Barnes. Photo: J.D. Hillard

O’Neill sea Odyssey Education coordinator Laura Barnes. Photo: J.D. Hillard

California and most of the other states will switch next school year to a new set of math and English standards called the Common Core. The hope is this change will help U.S. students improve their progress. A ‘Next Generation Science Standard’ is expected to roll out in a couple years.


Temple Grandin Interview w/ Rick Kleffel


Dr. Grandin recently appeared in the area, leading a session at EcoFarm in Asilomar, CA.

Temple Grandin. Photo by Rick Kleffel.

Temple Grandin. Photo by Rick Kleffel.

“Well, I don’t want to get cured.”
—Temple Grandin

Beyond reading ‘The Autistic Brain,’ I knew that there was some sort of preparation I should do before I talked to author Temple Grandin. Watch the HBO movie, I was told. I could have gone to YouTube and looked her up. I decided to meet her first in person, and let the conversation play out as it would.

Temple Grandin is an imposing and intense presence, who immediately asked me if I liked the book, and why. I told her I enjoyed both the science and the scientist-who-loves “science-enough-to-experiment-on-herself aspect” and she wanted to know more. Readers can quickly see why she and I got on so well. Her inquisitive mind on the page carries over into her life, with a passion.


Multi-Instrumentalist and Composer Rick Walker

Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

Broadcast on the 7th Avenue Project, Jan. 19, 2014.

Indomitable musical explorer Rick Walker pauses for a moment to retrace some of the ground he’s traversed in the last 35 years, from his early days as a punk/ska/new wave drummer to a serious student of world percussion traditions to electronica and looping to jazz. We surveyed his career while listening to a lot of musical examples and chatting about such things as:

  • His early involvement in the “world music” movement of the ’80s
  • Playing with the late guitarist Bob Brozman
  • A paternal blessing from Babatunde Olatunji
  • Falling in love with looping
  • Rhythm, repetition and trance
  • Singing and other really scary things

Rick and many of his musical collaborators past and present will be celebrating his work in a special concert Jan 23. More details here.

David Sedaris – How His Book Tours Influenced his Latest Collection



David Sedaris talks with Rick Kleffel about how his book tours influenced his latest collection of essays and short stories – Let Explore Diabetes with Owls.

About the interview, Rick Kleffel wrote:

It will come as no surprise that David Sedaris is easy to talk to. When we sat down to discuss ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls,’ we were both quickly to our comfort zones; being crabby old men complaining about stuff and gawky kids talking about weird things.

Award-Winning Musical Comedy Writers
Do “Lunch”


lunch-vertFrom: 7th Avenue Project w/ Robert Pollie

A musical gets a second life as Cabrillo Stage rolls out a new version of Lunch: A Modern Musical Myth this week. I spoke to two members of the Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Golden Globe-nominated creative team: composer Steve Dorff and book writer Rick Hawkins. They told me why they felt the story of 11th-hour redemption was ripe for revival, and how they updated both script and songs. We also listened to some of the original music, recorded in 1994 with an all-star studio cast including Carol Burnett, Michael Rupert, Laurie Beechman and Davis Gaines. Lunch Reimagined premieres Jan 3 at Cabrillo Stage. More info here.

The 7th Avenue Project: Cognitive Scientist Paul Bloom on the Foundations of Morality



Visit the 7th Avenue Project Website

Robert Pollie spoke with Paul Bloom about the precocious moral awareness of young infants and the ingenious experiments used to demonstrate it. Now Paul has synthesized those findings in a far-reaching exploration of our ethical capacities and limitations.

Topics covered in this interview include:

* Are we born with a sense of right and wrong?

* Gut feelings vs. rational deliberation as a basis for ethical behavior

* Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments and why it still rocks

* The roots of racism

* Mafia morality

* Modern sitcoms and moral uplift

Ted Explores the Power of Mistakes

 Brené Brown researches vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Image: http://on.ted.com/Brown2012

Brené Brown researches vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Image: http://on.ted.com/Brown2012

Brené Brown poses the questions: How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough — that we are worthy of love, belonging and joy? Find her Ted Talk here.

It’s part of this week’s Ted Radio Hour “Making Mistakes.” The episode also explores what doctors could learn by admitting mistakes and whether a mistake in jazz is really a mistake.