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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

195 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Rob_60

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB Radio Productions, Inc. does amazing work in the Pittsburgh region. Its radio show, the Saturday Light Brigade has been on the air since the 1970s. I moved to Pittsburgh in 1996, and started listening to SLB that year. Since that time, I married and had children. My wife was also a fan of SLB, and our two children have enjoyed SLB since birth. Both of my children have been able to participate in the on-air show, in different ways. Mr. Berger has graciously allowed my kids, and many others, to get a behind-the-scenes view of how a radio show works. I'm also aware that SLB Radio Productions has projects in addition to the SLB radio show that provide valuable learning experiences to people from all parts of the community - I would be excited for my children to get involved in these opportunities.

Regardless of how I'm doing on any particular Saturday, SLB is always a beacon of hope, peace, and joy, both to and from our community. SLB Radio Productions is one of the best parts of our community.

David379

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB provides a real world performance opportunity for our learning Music students to experience and see the inside of a live studio. David's Music House is so fortunate to be invited to have our students perform there. Thanks for everything you all do for the community SLB !

Larry65

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have been "Brigadeers" since the very beginning, in fact my body awakes every Saturday morning at 6AM no matter how late my Friday night was. If we're home we're listening, and in our own quiet way participating.

I used to listen to Ed & Wendy King's radio show Party Line as a kid, it was a great show, but this is even better. The discussions, the music, the guests, the information, everything about this show exhibits all the Goodness that our great land is capable of. I truly believe that this world is a better place because of this show and those it has affected. So very intelligent, gentle, accepting, educational, well-rounded, eclectic, it truly does have something for everyone and we encourage all of our friends to listen at every chance.

It's perfect for kids, even the youngest, it encourages them to participate and accepts and enjoys all of their participation... and it also is interesting, educational and encouraging for adults, in ways that even kids can appreciate.

I really truly believe it sets the best example for how good radio, and in extension, human communication, can be. Long Live The Saturday Light Brigade!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am particularly impressed with the number of children and youth who are featured by SLB Radio as skillful and talented individuals in our community. It reminds me that "making art" has no age limitations!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Larry Berger and The Saturday Light Brigade are Pittsburgh treasures. Larry's engagement of young people and all that is healthy for heart and soul are the center of his passion for bringing great radio to the Pittsburgh airwaves. His show is both classic and contemporary, and he retains relevancy in the community by his commitment to his audience.

Dennis31

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are few places that take such a personal and professional interest in what you can offer them to keep their programming at its highest levels. I've never had an an uncomfortable moment with this folks and have watched them interview many performers with dignity and respect...they are outstanding.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been working with SLB for 4 or 5 years as an art gallery/music venue owner and musician. I have had many personal experiences with the staff and hosts there. Often I arrive early and have the opportunity to see and hear Larry interact with the children and offer them an expanded opportunity to showcase their knowledge and their talents. The whole staff is very encouraging of the children and their families giving them voice to much wider audience than many children ever get to experience. I have watched the staff work with the children after shows offering creative and expressive ways to engage in art and entertainment projects. Each time I am amazed at the expanded programs SLB provides. Usually when I am there it is to introduce them to a touring act that has come to play at Harmony in the House. These are generally small market Americana and Roots musicians dedicated to their art and craft. The staff is highly accommodating to the artists (and me) and they are offered a long interview, a live showcase of their music, and Larry Berger always knows enough about them to engage in a thoughtful discussion with them. This is all made possible by the timely and considerate rapport the staff offers in booking these shows. I am a big fan and donor to SLB- a gift to us all.

Helen34

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've listened to Saturday Lite Brigade for years and years. I love their music selections and their fun word riddles. But I'm particularly impressed with their commitment to encouraging young people in the arts through their interviews of kid artists and broadcasts of live kid performances. Pittsburgh wouldn't be the same without a weekly dose of Saturday Light Brigade. Keep up the great work.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a listener, participant, and donor to the Saturday Light Brigade for over 15 years. Larry and Rikki and the staff have created a fun and inclusive place to be every Saturday morning. Anyone is welcome to call in, be it a puzzle, a question, or to just talk, but it is not a talk show. It's a community. There really is nothing like it on the air, anywhere else, that I am aware of. Well beyond that, SLB goes out into the community to foster creative projects in schools and community centers, often but not always focusing on youth. At the studio, during the weekly six-hour show, local talent, both adults and children, get to show off on live radio in a welcoming environment. I don't know what else to say about SLB except that everything about it radiates positivity, and we need lots more of that.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

You are very lucky to have Rob Gray on your team. He is an amazing song writer and musician.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB radio provides amazing opportunities to present talents to listeners nationwide. I've heard violinists, soloists, saxophone trios and the like showcase their best renditions of pieces for all to enjoy. There are fun and mind-stumper trivia questions posted on Facebook. A great Saturday morning spent with Larry Berger, the host and his staff! Tune in once and you'll be hooked for life!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB radio is one of the best things about Pittsburgh. From their start playing great music and family-friendly trivia, they have added community interviews, live youth music segments, and tremendous work in local schools. Always positive, always uplifting of children, always growing in creative new directions. My daughters grew up on this show, and it strengthened us as a family.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I have listened to this radio show since it started, and watch it grow from a small hobby to a well organized and effective educational organization, focused especially on the children of the Pittsburgh region. They go out of their way to help boost other Pittsburgh organizations, and their excellent work in the schools both empowers and educates children.

Carol174

Board Member

Rating: 5

SLB radio creates and presents opportunities to young people by teaching young students to create quality, informed broadcast content city wide. I cannot tell you how much content research has been done and presented through SLB sponsorship and mentoring. I recently attended an awards ceremony on films presented by high school students on topics of their choice, all done through SLB and Larry Berger and Ricki Berger's efforts. Every team who made a video was in attendance, with their families, full of pride in what they had created. And the videos, each a short non fiction story, completely researched and credited, were fascinating. It is a tremendous community resource and deserves to win. I am proud to be associated with Saturday Morning Light Brigade.


Carol McCague, Board Member.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Larry and the entire crew at SLB are an amazing group of people who strive to provide a platform for Pittsburghers young and not so young to showcase their talents, as well as the positive things they have going on in the community. As a staff member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh we have had the honor of featuring a BBBS "Match of the Month" for over 8 years. Having a monthly opportunity for our Bigs and LIttles to share their stories not only provides these individuals a chance to express their individual feelings and experiences - which our matches really enjoy; but also hopefully sparks interest in our program to increase enrollment of potential volunteers and or children.
Having been a guest along side out matches on many of these monthly features I can say without hesitation that Larry does an amazing job of listening to each and every Big and Little and helping them share all the unique things about them with the listening audience. Sometimes he does such a good job that he has had a few Bigs (and the staff on hand) in tears as they might have shared out loud for the first time the impact that being a Big has had on their life...sometimes those emotions sneak up on you and Larry has been the one to ask the question that lets them share those real , often powerful, feelings.
This weekly radio show is a gem and as an agency BBBS of Greater Pittsburgh appreciates their support and as an individual always feel enriched and happier after participating in and listening to the weekly programming!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been listening to SLB's inventive, family-friendly radio show since the mid-80s. When you turn on the show, it's like walking into a house filled with great music, talented neighbors, games that make you think, and friendly folks that like you just fine. I think Larry Berger is a master at setting people at ease and radiating genuine respect and appreciation for every guest and caller. SLB is one more thing that makes me proud of this old steel town.

Board Member

Rating: 5

SLB is an absolutely awesome organization that encompasses not only the hard-working steel town work ethics of Pittsburgh past, but also the technological know-how that encompasses Pittsburgh's future. The ability to captivate children and families from many backgrounds has been a time-honored tradition of SLB for many years and one that certainly is not easy to achieve. Year after year, SLB manages to out-perform themselves in forging an atmosphere that fosters family togetherness and youthful pride. Great work, everyone!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The folks at SLBRADIO never cease to amaze me. Not only do they provide a weekly, six hour trip to a transgenerational collage of music, art, and community activity, they often surprise with delightfully subservsive activities such as developing awareness of social, environmental, and education issues. They foster budding musicians, provide exposure to world class singer-songwriters, and simple entertain.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Enjoy this very family friendly program - interesting challenges for all ages. Airs local talent in the studio. Larry knows how to bring out the best in people in his interviews!! Can't think of another program like it!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter was on the SLB radio show to discuss participating in an art contest at the Gilda's Club. The staff helped her feel comfortable before and during the show. It was a positive experience she will never forget!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Larry of SLB led a group of teachers and writers (of which I was part) in a writing and audio activity this summer. He really excited us about the possibilities for incorporating more audio into the work we do with children! Also, SLB's radio program offers teachers and other organizations a place to send youth who want to share their thoughts and stories with a wider audience. And, of course, I see SLB folks captivating children at just about all the youth-oriented festivals in Pittsburgh.

Cheryl72

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB offers unique programming aimed at children and families, that's also fun for the general public. They have a willingness to try new things, explore new topics and work with anyone who has something interesting and informative to say, if it's appropriate for their audience.

I had the opportunity to collaborate with them in a previous life, and it was a real pleasure. Other cities simply don't have anything like it, and when I've described it to out-of-town friends, they are envious! I only wish more Pittsburghers knew about SLB.