In honor of my dad’s 90th birthday, I was invited by Houston Public Media to record a special birthday Engines of Our Ingenuity episode. If you’re not familiar, Engines is the public radio show my dad created in 1988 for KUHF, 88.7 FM, and which is still airing 33 years later. Considering that I had never done anything like this–radio, acting, public speaking– it took some cajoling, but of course I agreed. I also decided to make it a surprise: not even my mom knew about it. I sheepishly suggested that they tune in that day though.
Over the next three weeks, I developed a new respect for the craft of writing and recording a radio segment. Who knew that 500 words and three and a half minutes would be so difficult? I was later told by another host that creating a single episode was “quite a lift,” meaning it takes a ton of work. Making matters worse, because of the pandemic I had to record and edit the whole thing in my living room. Fortunately I had the help of ace producer Mark DiClaudio and my wife, who coached me on diction and wording. I won’t reveal how many takes I did until I could get from beginning to end without screwing something up.
Below is a picture of my ad-hoc recording setup
You can hear the episode, #3240, on the Engines website or via the NPR Podcast: https://uh.edu/engines/epi3240.htm
Engines website: https://www.uh.edu/
PS, the photo at the top of the page is my dad playing our Theremin.