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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

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My band Sean Howard Orchestra was a guest on SLB. What a pleasure. The Host Larry kept us focused, and the engineers made us sound fantastic! Hope to be back to follow up on the progress of the band!

Gina Urso M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SLB does amazing work giving Students opportunities to create meaningful media that elevates the collective youth voice.

Mike M.2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I'm a grandfather in my 60s. I have been listening to the Saturday Light brigade for what seems like decades. I remember turning it on when my children were young and after the first week the ask "Can we listen to that radio show we listened to last week?" My grandchildren are of the age to start listen with "pap pap" and the tradition will be carried on.
I honestly don't recall the exact first time I listened in, but I was thrilled to find it online when I did. There's a lot to be said for quality radio programs and I know as I was in radio for 40 years as a DJ, Program Director, General manager and owner with various formats mixed into my career. The Saturday Light Brigade is, year after year, one of the finest programs I have listened to and ranks with "Prairie Home Companion," "What Do you Know," "Wait Don't Tell Me" and others of that ilk when it comes to originality and content. Well done!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SLB Radio Productions, Inc inspired me at the beginning my own journey toward capturing the voices of children and sharing their great stories. I discovered them during a visit to Pittsburgh. Their studio space at the Children's Museum and their partnerships with schools and others in the area was truly inspiring. Their radio station and sound projects, which includes stories and interviews recorded by children, are of the highest quality. When I discovered their mission, I knew my own passion for capturing children's stories was valued and important work. I can't thank you enough SLB Radio Productions, keep on sharing young voices!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Larry Berger and The Saturday Light Brigade are Pittsburgh treasures. Larry's engagement of young people and all that is healthy for heart and soul are the center of his passion for bringing great radio to the Pittsburgh airwaves. His show is both classic and contemporary, and he retains relevancy in the community by his commitment to his audience.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.