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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

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Saturday Light Brigade connects the Pittsburgh community in countless ways. It provides a venue for fledgling performers and quality programming for families of young children who can "go there" physically or virtually via their radios, computers, or TV's. It also creates novel educational programs for children in the city of Pittsburgh, especially when kids need extra reasons to care about learning, or to revel in their heritage across generations.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been listening to the Saturday Light Brigade for more that 25 years. As host, Larry Berger brightens Saturday mornings with guests, jokes, games and anecdotes in a wonderfully entertaining mix of local color.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB Radio makes a difference in the lives of children, families and within their community. Mr. Larry Berger is easy to work with in arranging programs that educate and entertain. The children I brought to the station enjoyed their visit, enjoyed being on-air and appreciated to the opportunity to have some hands on training on the equipment. I am grateful that I have had the chance to work with SLB Radio. That they have freely given thirty years or so of their life to help children learn and to bring people and families together is a blessing for this community. Larry's warmth and skill at interacting with children is a gift that I hope he will able to share for years to come.

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB Radio has always been a great supporter of the efforts of the music community to get information out about what is going on around us. They continue to invite local artists to perform live in the studio and have always been easy to work with and very professional. We appreciate all that they have for us in the bluegrass community and for their listeners. They are truly an asset to not the bluegrass community but the entire listening community as well.

10

Donor

Rating: 5

SLB is an outstanding community resource here in Pittsburgh. I've known Larry Berger, the show's producer and voice, for over 25 years, and have enjoyed listening to his varied, family-oriented show. Larry has hosted many open houses where he invites the community to come in to visit with him and the staaff as they produce on-air, live radio. I took our two young children in to see how radio is done about 15 years ago when SLB was originating from the campus of Chatham College (now University). Both kids enjoyed meeting Larry, and having breakfast goodies. I commend SLB and Larry and Rikki Berger for their commitment to excellence in family radio. Bob Kenneweg rdkenneweg@yahoo.com

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a true example of community and people-oriented radio! For more than 25 years, I've listened to this show grow and become more and more community-oriented and motivated in it's drive to explore the achievements of kids and teens in the arts, and to engage families the last few years at the Children's Museum as it's own "exhibit", where families can experience radio and media first hand. Also Larry is a real networker, motivated by his care for kids and families, instead of giving lip service to the term like other radio programs do. Plus the quizzes are great fun for all ages, and Larry has a wonderful, warm way with kids and adults.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB is open and giving. They listen and hear as well as broadcast content - it's truly a two-way street. People of all ages love the programming. I've been interviewed a couple of times for very different reasons, and it's always been a fun and gentle experience designed to make the community a better place. The host (Larry Berger) can be a little amateurish sometimes, but it's part of the charm. He is very earnest and innovative in a "folk radio" way, and I wouldn't change a thing about him. SLB is a treasure.

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have both listened-to and been involved with SLB for over ten years. It is, by all accounts, a remarkable organization. Larry and Rikki Berger have developed a very effective model that mixes entertainment with community action. It is, in my opinion, a very important part of this community.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

It was a great day for me as the Executive Director of a Pittsburgh area youth orchestra and for me personally when I met the wonderful and talented crew of the Saturday Light Brigade. They have provided the opportunity for many young musicians to have the exciting experience of playing live on a radio show. They even worked with me to put a full orchestra performance on the air live from their studios. It was a memorable and spectacular day!

11

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Saturday Light Brigade has truly enhanced the quality of life in Southwestern Pennsylvania through its weekly programming of music, guest speakers from area arts, literary, and other non profit groups, and audience participation, which involves all ages. I listened weekly when I lived in Butler and Pittsburgh, PA. Now I am in Wisconsin, and I still listen to SLB via the internet whenever I can. Its program appeal reaches beyond SWPa. I have encouraged them to think about going national.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SLB is an outstanding supporter of community arts, and has a special mission to helping children of the community grow in the arts. There is no grater joy than hearing local children call into the show to encourage other children while the perform.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have listened to SLB for years. The program features great folk and children's music. Also, it involves listeners with interesting games and trivia. It's great programming for progressive families; somehow it seems best enjoyed in the kitchen listening on a table radio.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Saturday Light Brigade radio program and youth programming has built on the compassion and experience of it's founders and staff over three decades to meet the needs of children and families.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Saturday Light Brigade is, first and foremost, run but some of the most caring and intelligent individuals I have had the pleasure to meet in Pittsburgh. They are sweet and smart, and are really talented when it comes to interviewing----anyone from professional adults with professional demanors to 2 year olds too shy to speak (at first). Hearing the show is always a delight, with a focus on the community unlike any other public radio station in the region. I may get news from NPR stations and the like, but I can tell how my community is really functioning when i hear the youth orchestra, a short theatrical preview, short interviews with students about their aspirations, or a talented local band performing in the studio, which happens to be located in the fabulous Children's Museum. Combine the weekly show with the amount of work they put into teaching elementary school students the art of radio and sound recording, and give those students the experience to express themselves on air, and there is no reason not to adore the people behind it all. Much love, SLB.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

This radio program is the best in Pittsburgh and most likely in the whole United States. I found it while on my way to work one Saturday...about 15 years ago, and Ive been hooked ever since! This is a great way for families to connect and spend time with each other! The interviews are great and the music and games are wonderful for all ages! I cant imagine a Saturday without the Saturday Light Brigade

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I coordinator exhibitions at the Society for Contemporary Craft. SLB Radio had me on their morning show to talk about some of the exciting programing we were offering that week with our new exhibition. It is a wonderful thing that the SBL introduces children and their parents to all of Pittsburgh's amazing cultural places and activities!!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Saturday Light Brigade, their radio show, their crew, and their educational programs are an amazing asset for our community that often goes under appreciated. Larry Berger's passion for education, for community building, and for showcasing young talent and family friendly entertainment is phenomenal, and it reveals itself in the quality of all of Saturday Light Brigade's productions. Though I did not have the benefit of growing up with the Saturday Light Brigade as a tradition in my family as I was raised in an area outside of its broadcasting range, I still listen to it regularly as an adult for the unique, uplifting music and the amazing live talent that it features. I also have dozens of friends who grew up listening to SLB as a child and still regularly tune in to get their weekend off to a great start!

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SLB Radio was introduced to us by WIUP FM host Jim Rogers. Jim thought Julia and Alex would be a good fit for entertaining in the youth radio hour. Jeff Baron from SLB contacted us and set everything up. Jeff was extremely helpful with all the details of the performance, from the directions and where to park, to what pickup we would need to put on Julia's violin. Julia and Alex have played for two SLB radio shows, and also for last years Solar Summer Concert Series. The Solar concert was a really fun and a neat learning experience for us and also for the visitors of the Childrens Museum. Each time we had the privilidge of playing for SLB Radio, the staff was very professional and helpful during setup. The rain prevented our playing outside for the Solar Concert, but Jeff and the crew had a "plan B" and they set us up near a big window inside and the show went on. SLB Radio has a great variety of programing and is very family oriented. They give opportunities to all ages and I think that makes it interesting to the museum visitors who are watching the show being done. When Julia and Alex were playing, there were families with small kids watching them play and hopefully being inspired! We really appreciated everyone at SLB and hope to play there again.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

We at Animal Friends are so grateful to the staff at SLB. They welcome our non-profit onto the air to introduce adoptable pets and news from our animal shelter. We are able to reach families who can provide loving, lifelong homes to animals that deserve a second chance. We can also deliver news to families about our camps and classes and other opportunities for kids to come learn at Animal Friends. SLB is a great resource to our community and we are grateful for the relationship.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Saturday Light Brigade has greatly assisted Pittsburgh International Children's Theater in the promotion of the family series by scheduling on-air interviews with cast and creative staff on the Saturday morning program.