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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

36 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Jim C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The best part of waking up is SLB in you ears (on Saturdays)!

Jack K.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB Radio is a gem - great respect for our children's developing minds!

April F.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks to SLB Radio Productions for having Lyra on to play 3 original songs!
We love the support SLB gives to young up and coming musicians!
@lovvelyra

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have listened to the Saturday Light Brigade on and off since 1993, it's like hearing a member of the family on the radio. We like the riddles and puzzles. The Birthday Greetings are great , too.

Keith C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

In an age where parents let devices do the parenting, it's nice to see long running endeavors like The Saturday Light Brigade out to capture kids' attention and challenge their minds. This is a fantastic and creative local resource that has truly become a regional treasure.

Janice B.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best way in Pittsburgh to get the weekend started! Fun for all! A hidden treasure!

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB gives a precious opportunity to the young people of our community to be heard, to be applauded, to be inspired. Bravo to Larry, Rikki, and team!

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB Radio Productions does amazing work, and is a great regional asset. SLB unites the community by giving a variety of people the chance to share their voices and their skills with others via radio, and by being a fun place that people can experience together safely.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Slb has been a part of my Saturday Morning for almost 15 years. I enjoy the word games and musical choices. I went down to the studio to hear peter, from peter Paul and Mary. Got to be in the studio when he played. Very inspiring. I often check out pittsburgh events after hearing about them in the am.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLB Radio Productions, Inc., through a partnership with the Heinz Endowments of Pittsburgh and the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies of Johnstown, has been providing training and support to the Foundation's youth philanthropy interns for five years. Through SLB, interns have completed a number of radio documentaries that range in content from highlighting local community development to investigating the issues of our time as they pertain to communities in Western Pennsylvania. Apart from the professional development benefits of this partnership, SLB's mission to educate and inform the next generation of citizens, leaders, and doers has impacted me personally, as well as countless other young people in the Pittsburgh and Johnstown regions. Because of my experiences with Larry and Chanessa at SLB, I have become an increasingly empathetic listener and a more engaged member of my community - both critical components of their programming that are so desperately needed in our nation's communities.

Nathan L.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Larry Berger and the incredible folks at SLB have changed the lives of young people in the Pittsburgh area. I first got envolved with SLB almost 4 years ago the opportunities that they have granted me have opened so many doors for as I went onto college.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is such a wonderful community asset. The radio program they do is unique, high quality, and great for the whole family.

1 Dorrie S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Larry Berger and the staff at SLB are just AWESOME. They not only care about community, they've been become intricate of it, involving our youth, let them have a voice, in the Neighborhood Voices series. SLB also provides a skill set for youth....their isn't enough accolades to describe this wonderful non-profit

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Love listening to this show every week & they bring up lots of interesting things going on in Pittsburgh especially about education

1 Zakariya B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Been listening since I was a kid with my uncle. Now listening in Minneapolis online every Saturday.

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!

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.

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!