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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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB has been a Saturday morning mainstay in our lives for more than 25 years. We listened with our two sons regularly. Last year our older adult son, a music professional, played guitar as a guest on SLB. A nice connecting of the dots in our lives.

April F.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks to SLB Radio Productions for having Lyra on to play 3 original songs!
We love the support SLB gives to young up and coming musicians!
@lovvelyra

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Saturday Light Brigade has been part of our family for many years. It's a program that kids can listen to. Local musicians come on the show and perform and share stories. SLB radio is a Pittsburgh institution. Pictured are Cherylann Hawk and her daughter, Cheyenne, who performed 'Hey Dogs' on SLB radio show.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have listened to the Saturday Light Brigade on and off since 1993, it's like hearing a member of the family on the radio. We like the riddles and puzzles. The Birthday Greetings are great , too.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am writing this on behalf of my husband who never misses this radio program. He gets up extra early every Saturday to listen and participate in the riddles and other challenging trivia. Even when we go out of town, he takes his laptop along, gets up early and tunes in! He has been a faithful follower for years. We both enjoy the unique music selections! Sometimes we solve puzzles together. He has even gotten our grandkids involved while visiting. Saturday Light Brigade is to Saturdays as church is to Sundays at our house! We are listeners and supporters. Thank you for this amazing production!

Sharon
Apollo, PA

Keith C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

In an age where parents let devices do the parenting, it's nice to see long running endeavors like The Saturday Light Brigade out to capture kids' attention and challenge their minds. This is a fantastic and creative local resource that has truly become a regional treasure.

Susan199

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Through participating in two different SLB events, my teen daughter connected with students that she'd never have met in our conservative suburban area. SLB programming helps shrink our world and gives a comfortable, safe place for kids to explore exciting aspects of their lives and showcase their abilities.

Janice B.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best way in Pittsburgh to get the weekend started! Fun for all! A hidden treasure!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When my husband and I published our local history book, we were invited to be on SLB and had a wonderful time and discussion! We were so grateful for that opportunity! SLB exceeds listener expectations with every show!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB gives a precious opportunity to the young people of our community to be heard, to be applauded, to be inspired. Bravo to Larry, Rikki, and team!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Been listening to Saturday Light Brigade on and off since it started, back in the stone age. It is Pittsburgh's equivalent of Prairie Home Companion - not exactly the same type of show but an institution. Always delightful, an outlet for good live music, and on-air games & quizzes that are fun for children & adults alike. (My daughter, now living in another city, was a fan of SLB when young.)

Over the years I've also had the chance to get to know Larry Berger a bit in person. One extended visit came when he showed me around SLB's present quarters in the Children's Museum & explained some of the community programming that the org has undertaken, in addition to the Saturday morning show. I haven't had direct contact with that but it seems very worthwhile. Being a media person myself - and having worked with Fred Rogers when he was alive - I must say that Larry is one of the truly nice guys in the business. He reminds me of Fred in many ways ... and one could say that in many ways, he has carried on the Mister Rogers tradition.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This radio show is beloved by generations of my family! We love hearing new folk music, interviews, and fun games. They even broadcast a congratulations to me on my wedding day!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SLB is an amazing organization that does great community outreach while putting on an awesome show.

Gary D.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been listening to SLB for about 2 years and am so impressed by the variety and talent that each week is presented to the community. Although the programing is just a few short hours on Saturday, (at least I know of) I cannot imagine all the off air hours it takes to put together the program. THANK YOU, Larry, Ricki, (I hope I spelled it correctly.) and the rest of the staff.

Bruce36

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Saturday Light Brigade is truly a shining star!! The work that Larry and Rikki and their folks do in Western Pennsylvania and beyond reminds us that there is so much good going on in the world, so much of it being contributed by young people! Inspiring to see and hear!!

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Donor

Rating: 5

SLB provides unique opportunities for youth to learn the art of audio. It provides an outlet for writers, musicians, and actors to share their talents. It gives a voice to organizations that might not otherwise be heard. I am not aware of anything that operates quite like SLB.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB Radio Productions does amazing work, and is a great regional asset. SLB unites the community by giving a variety of people the chance to share their voices and their skills with others via radio, and by being a fun place that people can experience together safely.

Mark231

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A family focused organization that enhances and encourages student involvement and musical expression.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is great to have a show in Pittsburgh that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Keep it up Larry!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a family we listened to SLB every Saturday. We listened to the music and participated in the games and puzzles. My son called in answers and was excited when he was correct. It was a fun activity to do as a family. The show helps to promote curiosity and learning. My son enjoyed when his name was announced on air on his birthday.
In addition, my son called in to the show and played the piano on the air. The hosts were patient, kind and encouraging. I worked with the host to arrange my son's scout troop visit to the radio studio and they learned how the equipment works and how the show is produced.
The hosts agreed to be the Master of Cermonies for the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg's Fall Festival and they did a great job. I have had enjoyable conversations with other parents who I discovered also listen every Saturday. We learned new information and discovered new music we enjoyed. Though my son is grown, I still listen to SLB.

Nikki W.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I loved working with SLB for my summer philanthropy internship! It was so much fun visiting them in Pittsburgh and making a radio doc to help bright light to situations in the area.

Amy G.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB radio supported my sons senior project of a bluegrass concert and invited him and his band to perform on the air as part of the project and also to bring awareness to the actual concert. It was an excellent experience for the young musicians of his band and for their families as well. And of course, the concert was a great success.
SLB also regularly promotes our annual bluegrass festival and has been instrumental in its success.