outLoud Rocks the Third Coast
By Diego and Elena, November 2008
Diego—outLoud rocked this year's Third Coast International Audio Festival once again. Four of our Youth Producers traveled to Chicago and got to experience public radio life for the first time. We met other youth producers from Radio Rookies in New York and Loud and Clear in Salt Lake City.
Elena—After two days of vigilant "Ira Watch," the outLoud crew finally crossed paths with radio superstar Ira Glass (of This American Life fame) at Chicago Public Radio's Third Coast International Audio Festival. Throughout the conference I had been peering through every doorway, hoping to see someone with a collared shirt and sweater, classy graying hair and thick, black-rimmed glasses who would turn around and have a nametag reading: "This American Life / Ira." I felt like a pree-teen girl in LA, hoping to run in to a soap opera star. Aside from Ira, we rubbed shoulders with Brooke Gladstone (Diego, who actually listens to On The Media every week, got a picture!), Alex Blumberg (another This American Life guru), and many more of radio's bigwigs—and came to realize that the miniature voices who talk out of our stereos are actually full-sized people.
Beyond all the idol worshiping, we did tons of hard-core radio work. The conference made an effort to get the youth producers together and we all had some pretty insightful, transforming days. When we met the Radio Rookies from New York, our first impression was that they were rude, loud and at least a little homophobic (I thought the way they asked me question about my Transgender-focused piece was a little threatening), but then we actually talked to these kids. They weren't mean, they were New Yorkers, with all the loud, opinionated and brutally honest qualities that we San Franciscans associate with that city. After talking with them I for one began to appreciate their honesty. We're all a little something-phobic sometimes; these kids were honest enough to put it out in the open, and open-minded enough to get over our differences. Many people think of public radio as a place for white, middle-class, former hippies to chat away, but there was a lot of diversity at Third Coast — from Russia to Rwanda and picking up some queer youth and allies on the way.
Diego—At Third Coast, I got to be on a panel "College: A Hotbed of Emerging Young Talent." (You can listen to the session on Third Coast’s website—click on the second group.) I was one of the youngest people on the Scholars panel, just old enough to be eligible. A lot of the other people were more experienced producers, and I wasn't sure how I'd be received by an audience of people who really knew radio. My piece about riot grrrl was the first to be played, and the experience could not have been better. One person at the conference even said my piece was "the best piece of documentary radio I've heard at the festival," a compliment I still don't believe. Hearing the other Scholars' radio stories was very interesting as well.
I felt like, well, emerging young talent, and am excited that a whole group of people know who I am and are looking forward to my next stories.