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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, Inc. (SLB) uses radio and audio to amplify voices of youth—and members of other communities whose stories are often marginalized—to educate, empower, and build community. Our work is based on the principle that all people have the capacity and right to develop their authentic voice and know that their voice matters—that they matter—and that their voice can be used for self-expression, inquiry, and change. SLB incorporates these methods into real world learning opportunities that keep students deeply engaged as they sharpen academic skills (e.g. speaking, active listening, reading, writing); workforce readiness skills (interviewing, working in teams, meeting deadlines, following a process, sifting through data); technical skills (digital storytelling, editing); and life skills (creative expression, critical thinking, confidence, cooperation, respect for others, curiosity).

Results: SLB began operations in 1978 with The Saturday Light Brigade, a weekly public radio program delivering a blend of music, puzzles, interviews, and live performances to a multigenerational audience. Programming grew dramatically between 1990 and 2000, as SLB built a strong, loyal audience and earned 10 local and national awards. During this period, SLB began providing off-air youth workshops in audio technology and self-expression. While successful, using a traditional radio station as the location for these workshops limited the ability to deepen learning experiences. With this objective in mind, SLB formed a 501(c)(3) in 2000 and—with remarkable support from the broadcast industry, foundations, corporations and individual donors—opened a $250,000 studio suite in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (CMP) in 2004. Our flagship radio program now airs on six radio stations and five streaming platforms. We also operate two stand-alone internet radio stations, including Youth Express (featuring original writing and conversation from teens and recipient of several national and international awards) and iQ Kids Radio (featuring music for young children and operated in collaboration with WQED). Capture and Production: i. School workshops. SLB staff members bring digital recorders, microphones, and podcasting tools to schools and welcomes youth to our studios. ii. Oral history collection. SLB trains youth to interview and record stories from adults. Major projects include: (“Crossing Fences,” “From There to Here,” “Brashear Brings You the World,” and “Girl Talk,” in which African American teen girls interview African American professional women from their neighborhood—it is part oral history, and part mentoring); iii. Youth Media Advocacy Program. In collaboration with Carlow University, SLB brings digital media making tools to high school students in Homewood, the Hill District, West End and Northside to strengthen skills in self-advocacy and the creation of persuasive media); and iv. Youth Express Internships. SLB trains teens to use the tools and practices of professional journalism to create articles, commentaries, and documentaries. More than 100 documentaries have been produced to date on topics ranging from gentrification to solar energy to homelessness. Publishing: i. Live Radio. Broadcast live since 1978, The Saturday Light Brigade is the national award-winning weekly public radio show that led to the launch of SLB as a non-profit in 2000. ii. Youth Express. From poetry to talk shows, hip hop to string quartets, the Youth Express service delivers authentic youth voices via a 24/7 internet radio station, app, and on-demand service. iii. Neighborhood Voices. This online archive includes more than 10,000 assets for public download and streaming. iv. Podcasts. SLB produces three weekly podcasts showcasing voices of marginalized communities. SLB has long been recognized for its innovative approach to delivering world-class programming.

Target demographics: children, youth, and other communities whose stories are often marginalized

Direct beneficiaries per year: SLB has long been recognized for its innovative approach to delivering world-class programming. An international jury recently selected the SLB Youth Express program to represent the City of Pittsburgh at the forthcoming Fall 2019 hundrED Education Innovation Summit in Helsinki, Finland.

Geographic areas served: Western Pennsylvania

Programs: school workshops, oral history collection, youth media advocacy program, youth express internships, and both live radio and podcasts to give those marginalized communities a voice.

Community Stories

210 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

SLB is an invaluable community asset for the children and families of Pittsburgh! Their weekly radio show continues the tradition of quality family entertainment that is not only enjoyable by all members of the family, but also educational, information, and engaging. Not just that, SLB's community outreach programs help empower children, youth, teens, and adults by putting the power of media into their hands, letting them tell their own stories, the stories of their communities, and create connections to others. Pittsburgh wouldn't be the same without SLB.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB is one of the great things happening in pittsburgh. They present a level of diversity that is hard to matchTheir show with the pittsburgh savoyards was great. Thank you SLB

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've worked with Larry Berger since the start of SLB at WYEP. Larry has developed community-based programming that empowers young people. There are very few other media-related groups that impact as many kids as Larry and his team. In addition to the live broadcasts, SLB has created an oral history archive of the Pittsburgh region.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

From my early experiences with SLB at "Empty Bowls" to the annual Father-Daughter Valentine's Day Dinner Dances at the Children's Museum, I have been a huge fan. I always look forward to receiving the SLB Weekly Puzzle to share with my family and friends and test my insight.

Romey F.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The staff at SLB conduct insightful interviews with youth, community agency staff, and the people in the greater Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania neighborhoods. They are providing opportunities for children to display and develop their abilities in music and drama and for youth and young adults to learn and apply their radio arts skills as no one else in the area, state, and nation is doing. All of this is done with a keen awareness of the developmental needs of those with whom they interact and with a kindness that seems second nature to them. This program, with its numerous community outreach programs, is a fitting carrying on of the legacy of Pittsburgh favorite neighbor.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a community partner, I have seen SLB radio in schools, in community, in studio, and working with kids ranging from kindergarteners to high schoolers. This is a unique form of communication, and a unique way to giving children voice - with guidance. The fundamental respect and genuine interest that SLB takes and shows its audience and its participants are consistent no matter where they are and what they do. I have worked with 4 different members of the team over the last 5 years, and each and everyone is highly skilled and extremely collaborative.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In addition to all the other great programming others have mentioned, the SLB gives many amazing opportunities to local musicians--reserving quite a few for youth. This year, the Pittsburgh Concert Society Young Artists were featured on the show, and I was lucky enough to have the honor of being one of them. The Saturday Light Brigade not only gave me and other young musicians a chance to get our voices (or instruments) heard, but also the amazing feeling of being on radio for the first time. The staff there was very encouraging and enthusiastic, and I truly felt like being on the show has been one of the highlights of my playing the piano. This was unforgettable!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Saturday Light Brigade used to just be a local treasure, but now we must share them with the rest of the nation. And that's fine with me. The more that know about SLB, the longer they'll be with us! I've been a loyal listener and on-air contributor for almost 20 years and am always impressed by the variety of music, interviews, and community outreach they achieve each week. They never fail to jump-start my brain and I hope I'm able to return the favor in my own small, call-in way.

Donor

Rating: 5

SLB staff and leadership is really effective in working with youth, particularly teens. SLB empowers the youth it works with by providing them with the skills, training and equipment that they need to develop and create compelling audio narratives. SLB is great at amplifying the voice of youth in Pittsburgh.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Saturday Light Brigade is truly a great family radio show, with music and puzzles that are entertaining for adults and children. It is a fantastic local radio show, promoting local organizations, events, and artists. And it is an excellent educational radio show, providing a forum to share information and educating about radio broadcasting.