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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

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Mike B.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was invited to play original music on SLB and the folks running the program were welcoming and most professional. I had a wonderful experience and appreciate the effort to expand reach of local performing arts with youth audiences in mind.

Lynn B.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Continue to do the great work you all are doing. Many would not have a chance without our Non-profits that make lives much happier.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SLB is an amazing organization that does great community outreach while putting on an awesome show.

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.

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!

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

First, as a listener to this wonderful, family-friendly interactive program. Then, as the community relations person for a small non-profit cultural organization, who has always found in SLB a ready ear (and voice) for our programs and projects.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.