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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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I don't like running early on Saturday mornings but often do to run with friends. What helps get me out of bed is listening to SLB. I love the puzzles and really love the music they play which includes folk songs not heard on any other station. They also always end up teaching me something about history.

Joy T.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter was just talking the other day about her two seperate experiences w slb and how empowering each is. It's been years tbh I'm surprised she remembered but she brought it up from nowhere. I wish I had recorded it. It was great. My response was similar as my own experiences being on slb have been very memorable and it is one of the unique treasures that will always make Pittsburgh special. Thanx slb! Love joy

Casey D.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This amazing family and community centered radio program has been a Pittsburgh staple for decades! A hot cup of tea and the Saturday Light Brigade are the way I start my weekend!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB host their annual New Years Eve Countdown to Noon for children and the Children's Museum. I have taken my grandson for the last four years. This is an awesome event for the children and the parents. It allows children to acknowledge and celebrate the incoming New Year with their family and friends. The event is always pack to the gills with children and families. They get to make their own noise makers and other fun activities, before going into the garage for the countdown to 12 noon, to live music and a live broadcast with Larry Berger and the SLB crew!!

Linda M.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB is a great non-profit radio station. its good clean entertainment . We've been listening for so many years its hard to believe. My granddaughter was born in 1993 and we were listening then and I think even before. Its a great feel good radio station. Love it

Laura324

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My grandson and I spent many hours travelling to Saturday morning youth football games. I would turn on SLB and we would solve the puzzles and laugh at the sillier songs like "mom is not a napkin". One Saturday he got the answer to a puzzle, called in and got to hear himself on the radio! I love SLB!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been listening to SLB for the last 34 years. I live in the pgh area. With Mr. Roger's gone there is precious little left that uplifts children and their self-worth the way SLB does.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This nonprofit is the reason I got to see a Theremin for the first time.

I had no idea what it would look like- and was amazed when I finally saw it.
I also got to see someone play a saw, and see a whole brass band fit their huge sound into this nonprofit's tiny studio.

I spent a lot of Saturdays watching this nonprofit work, from the stairs outside their window.
I listened to a lot of their stories, and took a lot of their advice.

This nonprofit taught me about sound, and how to make it for others. When I was working at the nonprofit next door, they were always running out to fix my contraptions, so that I could make even more sound after their shows, for the people that hung around.
(I think they probably helped replace a lot of microphones, too, because of me. :))

This nonprofit introduced to me to a thousand new things. Thousands of new people, and millions upon millions of sounds.
I moved away, but knowing this nonprofit, and its people, was a highlight of my life.
And of course, thanks to radio- I can still feel like I am sitting outside their studio, on the stairs; watching them craft a wonder current of real, live, sounds.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

With decades of experience connecting communities, Saturday Light Brigade has become one of the most essential resources for learning of cultural, arts, and regionally historical opportunities in the Pittsburgh area. Presenting the information in an educational and entertaining way, Larry and Ricki Berger and the rest of the crew open up new worlds each and every Saturday morning in a way that feels like you're part of a greater family. We are so lucky to have Saturday Light Brigade here.

Gina Urso M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SLB does amazing work giving Students opportunities to create meaningful media that elevates the collective youth voice.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Slb has been a part of my Saturday Morning for almost 15 years. I enjoy the word games and musical choices. I went down to the studio to hear peter, from peter Paul and Mary. Got to be in the studio when he played. Very inspiring. I often check out pittsburgh events after hearing about them in the am.

Mike M.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I'm a grandfather in my 60s. I have been listening to the Saturday Light brigade for what seems like decades. I remember turning it on when my children were young and after the first week the ask "Can we listen to that radio show we listened to last week?" My grandchildren are of the age to start listen with "pap pap" and the tradition will be carried on.
I honestly don't recall the exact first time I listened in, but I was thrilled to find it online when I did. There's a lot to be said for quality radio programs and I know as I was in radio for 40 years as a DJ, Program Director, General manager and owner with various formats mixed into my career. The Saturday Light Brigade is, year after year, one of the finest programs I have listened to and ranks with "Prairie Home Companion," "What Do you Know," "Wait Don't Tell Me" and others of that ilk when it comes to originality and content. Well done!

Brannon L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Larry and his crew do a wonderful job to help promote youth arts in the Pgh area!!! I had a group of my young guitar students to play on Sat Ligt Brigade and they had a wonderful time- One of the best kids/arts non-profits in the city- Thanks Larry!

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB Radio Productions, Inc., through a partnership with the Heinz Endowments of Pittsburgh and the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies of Johnstown, has been providing training and support to the Foundation's youth philanthropy interns for five years. Through SLB, interns have completed a number of radio documentaries that range in content from highlighting local community development to investigating the issues of our time as they pertain to communities in Western Pennsylvania. Apart from the professional development benefits of this partnership, SLB's mission to educate and inform the next generation of citizens, leaders, and doers has impacted me personally, as well as countless other young people in the Pittsburgh and Johnstown regions. Because of my experiences with Larry and Chanessa at SLB, I have become an increasingly empathetic listener and a more engaged member of my community - both critical components of their programming that are so desperately needed in our nation's communities.

Mike M.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A jewel of community radio! SLB has produced quality programming for nearly four decades, notably providing local youth a chance to display their talent to the Tri-State area. Larry Berger is to be commended for his decades-long commitment to SLB!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Have you listened to this show on Saturday mornings? Really, it's a joy, and enjoyable for all ages, and is community-focused and gentle and smart and caring.

Carol L.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

People talk about specific music being the soundtrack of their lives. Saturday Light Brigade is that for me. The sound track of my Saturdays every week for more years than I can keep count of.

Nathan L.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Larry Berger and the incredible folks at SLB have changed the lives of young people in the Pittsburgh area. I first got envolved with SLB almost 4 years ago the opportunities that they have granted me have opened so many doors for as I went onto college.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB cares about young voices, ideas and talents. The radio show is an asset to the Pittsburgh community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is such a wonderful community asset. The radio program they do is unique, high quality, and great for the whole family.

Advisor

Rating: 5

"DANCE FOR CANCER"
Hello! My name is Campey McKee. I'm putting together my first charity event and being that this is my first one, that makes me new to this. I'm writing this because I would love to have whatever help possible for the biggest outcome possible. All proceeds for this event will be donated to St Judes Children's Research Hospital. Please reach out to me as soon as possible if you would like to help. My email is CampeyMckee@gmail.com