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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

SLB Radio Productions, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Education, Radio, Youth Development

Mission: SLB Radio Productions amplifies youth voice and the voices of those who are otherwise marginalized. We believe in radio and audio because these technologies enable a sense of intimacy, engagement and self-directed imagination that is often lacking in other media, while also promoting opportunities for privacy, equal access, and sharpening of important life skills.

Results: SLB began pursuing its mission in 1978 with creation of The Saturday Light Brigade, a Saturday morning public radio program that blends acoustic music, live performance by youth and adults, participatory puzzles, on-air telephone calls, and interviews with other community-based nonprofits serving youth and families. Founded by Larry Berger as a teenager, The Saturday Light Brigade name grew out of a brainstorming session. The goals of the show were for it to be light-hearted and to provide a sense of belonging as in a brigade. The world of SLB is gentle, inclusive, trusting, and approachable and the show is carried out in a way that promotes belonging and respectful treatment. Through 2000, programming grew substantially as SLB expanded technical and self-expression workshops for children and built a strong, loyal audience. Over this 22-year period, SLB was recognized with 10 local, state, and national awards, and transitioned from an all-volunteer organization to a 501(c)(3) with Mr. Berger becoming the Executive Director. In 2001, SLB entered into an agreement with Children's Museum of Pittsburgh to locate operations within the museum. SLB opened its new $250,000 studio and training complex in 2004. This complex has since emerged as a hub of community and educational activity. Throughout our history, we have emphasized developing and retaining a strong and diverse staff, creating innovative service delivery methods, and seeking powerful collaborations. Our work today focuses on (1) creating and distributing public radio programming, (2) designing and leading project-based learning programs in schools and community centers, (3) oral history collection and dissemination, (4) youth advocacy, and (5) youth journalism and youth radio. SLB has long been recognized for our innovative approach to delivering world-class programming. Our educational programs are designed to promote verbal literacy, active listening, respect of others, empathy, imagination, creative expression, critical thinking, confidence, cooperation, technical curiosity, and engagement skills. Radio is a tremendous equalizer and allows all to participate regardless of physical capability or appearance. Students involved in SLB educational programming also learn about microphones, mixers, digital recording, and other technical/STEM aspects of audio, helping to bridge the digital divide.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Our flagship program, The Saturday Light Brigade radio show, broadcasts each Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to Noon, Reaching approximately 60,000 households each week and a virtually unlimited number of listeners worldwide through slbradio.org and our online streaming affiliates, the show is one of the longest-running public radio programs in the country. Through traditional broadcasts on seven affiliates, covering 15 Pennsylvania counties and portions of Ohio, Arizona, and South Carolina along with online streaming, the talents of Pittsburghers (primarily youth) are shared. Over 10,000 students from approximately 42 schools and community centers engage in radio and audio project based learning programs yearly. Based on the age-old process of people learning from one another, SLB has published over 250 oral histories.

Geographic areas served: Western Pennsylvania

Programs: The Saturday Light Brigade Radio Show; Project Based Audio & Radio Education Programs; Oral History Projects; and Youth Voice & Journalism through projects such as Youth Express, Pittsburgh Youth Media, and Youth Media Advocacy Program (YMAP)

Community Stories

166 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Mike B.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was invited to play original music on SLB and the folks running the program were welcoming and most professional. I had a wonderful experience and appreciate the effort to expand reach of local performing arts with youth audiences in mind.

Jacob K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Saturday Light Brigade truly places the community and the people before all else - never failing to bring a diversity of fun, exciting, and challenging material, and staying true to it's core purpose. It provides avenues for people of all backgrounds, ages, and callings, and is a shining example of the honest spark of creativity that drives us all, and the neighborly kindness and acceptance that makes our world a better place. They do their work and they do it well. Please explore, educate yourselves and support them.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My band Sean Howard Orchestra was a guest on SLB. What a pleasure. The Host Larry kept us focused, and the engineers made us sound fantastic! Hope to be back to follow up on the progress of the band!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Saturday Light Brigade make Saturday morning fun and informative for kids of all ages, including kids like me whose childhood is quite a bit in the rear view mirror.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was invited to speak on the radio at this station this past summer. It was a great experience. The members of the staff were all friendly and made sure I felt welcome.

Jim C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The best part of waking up is SLB in you ears (on Saturdays)!

Alexis B.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB does great work and are wonderful people to work with! I collaborated with them as part of the Heinz Endowments Youth Philanthropy Internship program, and it was one of the best things I've created in my life.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Fantastic radio show with folk music, interviews and local performers as well as segments that promote wholesome community events.

Donald29

Donor

Rating: 5

Saturday Light Brigade has been a part of our Saturday morning for years. Although we don't have children of our own, as teachers we find a deep appreciation for what SLB represents to families throughout the area. This program treats children with great respect and showcases their many talents. It represents a wholesome and fun activity time that encourages everyone to think and share. We believe that SLB demonstrates what a powerful media radio can be.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Saturday Light Brigade brings high quality to children and families. It always treats children with respect and highlights talents.

Tom B.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB Radio host Larry Berger is the one Pittsburgher who I revere as much as Mr. Rogers. He interacts with young folks that well, but he is also very deep, insightful and knowledgeable of music ranging from classical to folk to rock-n-roll, which makes SLB one of my favorite radio programs, a must listen for all ages.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I’ve been listening to SLB for at least 20 years. It was fun on Sat mornings with my kids, and it’s still great now. And the educational programs teaching all kinds of skills (research, organization, interviewing, public speaking, etc etc etc) are invaluable in today’s society.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My four year old wakes up looking for the show and asked when Saturday is coming. He loves going to the live feeds.

Scott R.1

Donor

Rating: 5

SLB radio has been part of our lives for 30 years. We love the games, the family atmosphere, the interviews, the music, the community, everything about the show. I've lived all over the country and there is nothing else like this show.

Donor

Rating: 5

SLB Radio is an incredible community asset. Their work to help young people use their voice, tell their story, and learn from others is unparalleled. Thank you to the entire SLB team for their work throughout the region.

Previous Stories
4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB Radio Productions is a true community partner and community champion. They are a voice for big and small; a resource for people of all ages. Through their amazing strategic growth, they have been able to maintain the personal touch. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with them to serve young people in our community.....and grateful for their programming which I listen to and enjoy very much!

Ben O.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Saturday Light Brigade is a community-oriented radio broadcast. It works on the principle of family programming. Often that sounds cloying, but not so with SLB. Larry Berger believes that it's possible to engage listeners of all ages. For example, he creates puzzles that can be equally enjoyed by young and old alike. SLB has been a consistent voice for community engagement for decades.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An outstanding, longtime show that promotes local musicians and youth and increases the listeners knowledge of many genres of music. Larry Berger is also an excellent interviewer.

Randy B O.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB has added so much to my family for many years. Saturday would not be Saturday without them

Jack K.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB Radio is a gem - great respect for our children's developing minds!

Lynn B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Continue to do the great work you all are doing. Many would not have a chance without our Non-profits that make lives much happier.

Alexandra.Sorce

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB has been a great experience in my young professional career. As a segment of The Heinz Endowments Summer Youth Philanthropy internship program, I had the fortune of working with Larry and the gang at SLB two summers in a row. At their studio, I learned the importance of creating unbiased, balanced radio pieces, and what exactly that process entails. I learned the skills of editing, interviewing, and critical thinking; skills that are often taken for granted as a millennial, but crucial to learn. I was able to experience just how cool radio is, something that I formerly saw as a dying art. I built a sense of awareness, and an urge to learn more about of the voices in Pittsburgh in the process of researching for each radio piece. My experiences at SLB have also indirectly better prepared me for college by strengthening my group work skills, ability to talk with strangers, and general media editing skills. I cannot speak more highly about this nonprofit, and truly recommend everyone, adults and children alike, to become involved with radio via SLB.