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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

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.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have been working with SLB Radio for about a decade. Every time our organization is interviewed or plays a live broadcast, the SLB staff goes above and beyond to ensure a positive experience for our artists. Many of our performers are from out of town and are only here for a few weeks out of the year for our performances - but the highlight of their trip to Pittsburgh is often getting to play on SLB's show because of the exposure and friendliness of people they meet when they go. We look forward to working with SLB every chance we get. Their programming not only benefits arts organizations like ours, but families, children, and communities across the state. Thanks, SLB.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with SLB is always positive. Larry Berger and his staff are so easy to work with. I've had the pleasure of working with them several times with our after school program students, and our summer volunteer high school students. They're all very professional, friendly and able to make the students feel very comfortable. I've seen them bring to life an otherwise, quite and shy student. They're the BEST!

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB has been wonderful whenever I have needed them. Last year, at very short notice, they interviewed me on air for an event we were promoting through our non-profit organization. Also, they have contacted me periodically when they want referrals of artists to have on their show. Their programs are of the highest quality and we are so fortunate to have SLB in Pittsburgh!

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

It's always a great pleasure to be asked on the Saturday Light Brigade as musical guest. My name is Slim Forsythe and with my band, the Parklane Drifters, I have been performing in the Pittsburgh---Southwestern Pennsylvania area over the last five years. We do my original songs as well as an extensive body of classic/traditional Country and Folk music. The Saturday Light Brigade is the perfect forum for our work. I also commend Larry Berger and his staff for their outreach projects in the community, particularly the many ways they encourage creativity in young people.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have performed on the Saturday Light Brigade many times, as have several of my students. I find this to be an appropriate and exciting outlet for their talent. I promote the Saturday Light Brigade in all of my K-4 music classrooms. I cannot say enough great things about the Saturday Light Brigade.

3 cool-beans-music

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I write and record children's music. Programs like SLB listen to, sample, and then play music like mine to children. SLB, through producer Larry Berger, give a broader audience to my material, that would otherwise be governed by commercial entities who have a financial agenda.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The folks at SLB Radio are simply among the friendliest, sincerest, most competent media personnel I have worked with in the Pittsburgh area. Larry Berger is gentle, insightful, witty, knowledgable in many genres of music, and a well prepared expert at interviewing his guests. The quality of my performances on SLB have been unmatched in similar venues as a result of Jeff Baron's fine engineering. I really can't say enough about the respect I have for these folks and their family freindly program.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SLB is a great community resource and a local treasure. This show is the natural successor to Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. A true treasure.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB has been a fantastic supporter of the arts revitalization/artist relocation program here in Oil City, PA. I sent them a press release and the result was that they not only featured us in a live interview, but they have kept in touch and tracked our growth over the years. This kind of exposure for a small, struggling arts program with next to no funding for marketing is invaluable -- plus, the interview experience is so much fun! Larry and the whole operation are friendly, funny, and down-to-earth, and they draw the best listeners! I can't say enough good about this program!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB Radio is an exemplary organization. They move well beyond the airwaves and participate actively in the community. I work for a community service provider the SLB Radio team has been critical in collaborations, partnerships and with promoting our reading activities. They provide a wonderful abundance of entertainment for children and families but beyond that they give back an immeasurable amount. The SLB Radio group created a wonderful audio tribute to the history of the Northside and participated in other projects that have gone well beyond their scope of work. The leadership this institution demonstrates in an excellent example to other non-profit institutions on how to be creative and integral to the communities they serve.