KCRW's Independent Producer Project
In a groundbreaking new initiative, KCRW has set out to support and cultivate the independent voices of public radio whose work tells the stories that have made our medium unique and compelling.
By creating a special fund, KCRW can take chances on new ways of doing what public radio has always done best -- tell the stories that matter and move us.
Our goal is for this work to be experienced across the entire public radio system. The IPP has already commissioned pieces that have been heard on national shows, All Things Considered, This American Life, and The Story.
The first realization of the IPP is UnFictional, a new weekly show on KCRW that highlights captivating true tales -- from the tragic to the humorous, from the dark to the wickedly funny. Some notable stories include one man's search for his father, who left him when he was a young child. Another features a radio DJ, who develops an intimate relationship with her audience -- inmates from the local prison.
Strangers is the second new element of IPP. At a time when we're more connected than ever, we still find ourselves surrounded by strangers. This weekly show looks at how lives are altered and moved by unfamiliar encounters. From a father and son who become strangers through schizophrenia to a woman who found herself traveling thousands of miles from home only to find safety and comfort in a Tibetan village.
More and more listeners consume content on their own time and often without a radio -- Strangers is the first KCRW production to debut for national distribution primarily via podcast and mobile listening. Pieces from Strangers will air on Unfictional, but the initial relationship with the audience will be built online through an audio podcast.
UnFictional, produced and hosted by veteran radio producer Bob Carlson, features captivating stories of real life told by writers and performers with a talent for tales that suck you in and stick in your head like a memory. Radio stories that are funny, sad, sincere and sometimes dark; surprising stories of hometowns, family secrets, reckless driving, sex, drugs and salesmanship. The program is a showplace for documentaries created by the most talented producers and storytellers from Los Angeles and around the country.
Strangers is a new storytelling series from Peabody-award winning producer Lea Thau. Since the beginning of time, strangers and strange places have given rise to our wildest dreams and our deepest fears -- and to the greatest stories on earth. These days, as we fly around the world, or the Internet, we come into contact with a hundredfold more strangers than our grandparents did. This series is the about the strangers we meet, the strangers we sometimes become, and the "strangeness" we might overcome when we find ways to connect in the modern world.
When public radio veteran Alex Chadwick needed a place to develop a long-form radio piece that defied simple categories, he brought it to KCRW and the Independent Producer Project first. The result was The Descent -- at once a breaking news story and a tone poem on the nature of captivity -- built around Chadwick's white-water river journey with convicted environmental activist, Tim DeChristopher. UnFictional aired the story the day of DeChristopher's sentencing in federal court, with Chadwick standing by in-studio to update. A version of The Descent aired later on NPR's All Things Considered.
Award-winning Independent producer Lu Olkowski brought a poet and a photographer to Troy, NY where she captured this powerful portrait of a once-great city now overwhelmed by poverty. In Verse combined poetry, photography and sound and first aired on WNYC's Studio 360. Lu's multi-media work is what first inspired KCRW General Manager Jennifer Ferro to create the Independent Producer Project.
Our vision includes broadening the initiative to storytellers of all kinds -- photographers, visual artists, documentary filmmakers. It's through this style of narrative media that we can help deliver the human stories that give depth to the issues that start as headlines.
If you're an independent producer, find out how you can get involved in KCRW's Independent Producer Project here.
Original funders for the IPP include a generous grant from the Annenberg Foundation, Goldhirsh Foundation, Roth Family Foundation and individual supporters.
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