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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

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Carol174

Board Member

Rating: 5

SLB radio creates and presents opportunities to young people by teaching young students to create quality, informed broadcast content city wide. I cannot tell you how much content research has been done and presented through SLB sponsorship and mentoring. I recently attended an awards ceremony on films presented by high school students on topics of their choice, all done through SLB and Larry Berger and Ricki Berger's efforts. Every team who made a video was in attendance, with their families, full of pride in what they had created. And the videos, each a short non fiction story, completely researched and credited, were fascinating. It is a tremendous community resource and deserves to win. I am proud to be associated with Saturday Morning Light Brigade.


Carol McCague, Board Member.

Board Member

Rating: 5

SLB is an absolutely awesome organization that encompasses not only the hard-working steel town work ethics of Pittsburgh past, but also the technological know-how that encompasses Pittsburgh's future. The ability to captivate children and families from many backgrounds has been a time-honored tradition of SLB for many years and one that certainly is not easy to achieve. Year after year, SLB manages to out-perform themselves in forging an atmosphere that fosters family togetherness and youthful pride. Great work, everyone!!!!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been listening to the Saturday radio show for over 20 years, and have been involved with SLB Radio at the Board level for almost 2 years. The radio show provides an important outlet for children and adults to securely express their authentic selves to a caring audience, magically wrapped in a blanket of entertainment. And the music! Who else is playing the songs SLB Plays, who else is providing the stage for such varied live performances by kids and adults? The after-school and non-radio activities are even more impressive. In these days of constant texting and ubiquitous online social networking, SLB keeps its focus on oral communication and genuine human interaction.

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

One of the most unique resources in public radio, SLB Radio creates and distributes not only a weekly "acoustic music and family fun" radio program, but some of the most innovative educational resources that I know of. Building on more than 20 years of experience with radio as a creative medium, SLB has focused intensively on creating programs focused on helping teachers excite students of all ages about a wide variety of literacy skills. Their ability to develop and deploy these programs is evidenced by the growing list of foundations and corporations willing to assist with grant financing and in-kind donations, and an enormous cadre of enthusiastic listeners and participants in their programs. Larry Berger's professionalism and that of his staff is unsurpassed in my experience dealing with not-for-profit organizations. Not only can they envision programs, they have superior delivery skills: any program promised by SLB Radio from a remote broadcast to a series of workshops delivered in the classroom is executed in a quality manner. In addition Larry and his staff are always open to new ideas and to improvements in their processes, which encourages volunteers to speak up and to pitch in.

10

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a listener, musician and writer, and fan of the SLB mission, I've had the pleasure of crossing paths with SLB for well over a decade, possibly two! I've interacted with Larry and Rikki as a member of the SLB advisory board and at events in which we've both participated, such as StoryWalk and Empty Bowls, and I am constantly amazed and inspired by their commitment to radio, the arts, and the education of young people throughout the Western Pennsylvania region. I've witnessed kids giggle with delight as they recount a special story to Larry during an on-air interview, adults tap their toes and smile in amusement as their children dance and sing during an SLB concert, and musicians soulfully play and impart song writing secrets as part of a hour long interview and performance. Through the hard work and commitment of Larry and Rikki, SLB has created a synergy with the Pittsburgh Children's Museum. This synergy creates opportunities for adults and children in families, schools and various organizations throughout Western Pennsylvania (and beyond, via the web ) in areas of as diverse as storytelling, writing, radio broadcasting, and live performance. SLB is a unique synthesis of so many things - there's nothing else like it!

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been listening to The Saturday Light Brigade radio program for more than 30 years--almost since the beginning of their broadcasts. During that time I have enjoyed the music that they showcased, played along with a variety of on-air games (the kinds of games that research increasingly identifies as beneficial to our mental health and acuity)and appreciated the strong commitment to our community. I've had my birthday acknowledged each year and sent birthday greetings to friends and family members. I've also shared, in some small part, the grief of losing treasured companions like Trivia Bill, Larry's on-air partner in the early years. I've appreciated the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the many good works done by area volunteers and agencies. In short, Larry, Rikki and SLB have truly created an on-air (and now, on-line) community. They offer the opportunity to participate for those who wish to but also work hard to ensure that those who don't call in still feel included. Their recent emphasis on providing a voice to children and youth is particularly important, I believe, in a world that can feel increasingly fragmented and isolated. And, of course, a world in which excellent communication skills play an ever larger role in personal and professional success. Best of all, SLB offers all of these opportunities for connection and growth within a framework of fun and laughter.

11

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved personally with SLB for about 6 months but have listened to the show previously. This show brings a great opportunity for children and their families to gather around and spend time doing constructive activities. It also helps to facilitate communication as well. In this time of busy schedules and time crunches, it is always nice to know that we can set time aside for a new family tradition.