Thursday, February 23, 2006

Making Radio, The UN and More!

Hi everyone!

Today was another great day here in NYC!

I spent the morning with Keith and Kristin as they continued to work on their radio program. Today we visited a recording studio where I got to meet another member of their radio program team. His name is David Brancaccio. He is very, very nice. Kristin says he is a very famous television reporter. He has his very own show on PBS...the same station that shows Sesame Street every day.

His name is hard for me to I will just call him Mr. B. Kristin says his job is to "host" the program. This means he is like a television anchor...except he is on the radio! Kristin says Mr. B has worked on the last two radio programs she and Keith have worked on.

His job today was to read all of his lines. This is very important and as I soon discovered, something that isn't very easy. I couldn't understand why Keith and Kristin had spent so much time working on the computer yesterday. Now I know they were working on their script for Mr. B.

The script is broken into small sections and each has a number. There were more than 30 sections for Mr. B to read. Kristin calls these sections "tracks." This is very confusing! To me a track is a round outdoor path that I run around in gym class.

To complete his task, Mr. B and Kristin sat in a small room with a few microphones. Keith was in a room that looks similar to the radio studio at the Stanley Foundation. And their friend Simon was on the phone from Washington DC.

Kristin said I could stay in the studio with her as long as I was VERY, VERY quiet. So I didn't make a sound!

It was very interesting to watch this process. Mr. B would read his lines and sometimes read the same line two or three times. They sounded the same to me so I asked Kristin why he was repeating himself. Kristin says sometimes Mr. B was making what she calls a "safety" copy. I think this is like a back-up copy just in case.

Other times, Kristin says Mr. B was changing the tone of his voice. This will allow her to pick what she thinks is the best version as she gets ready to complete the radio program.

I also realized that it didn't matter that Keith and Kristin were really prepared before we arrived, Mr. B sometimes made changes to the script. Keith says this is normal. Sometimes the way we write something on paper doesn't sound very good when it is said outloud. I had no idea, but I guess it makes sense.

Here you can see me watching Mr. B and Kristin make changes to the script.

The entire process lasted about three hours. Kristin says Mr. B's script...of voice tracks...are now saved on a CD. It is Kristin's job to find the best voice tracks and get rid of the rest. She says she will start working on this next week.

After we left the radio studio, Keith and Kristin took me for a brief tour of the United Nations...or the UN. Keith says this is a very important place. He says this is where leaders from all over the world meet to try and solve very big problems. Keith and Kristin told me the Stanley Foundation does a lot of work with the United Nations, and they have visited this building several times.

Here you can see Kristin and me standing across the street from the main UN building. Kristin says this build is called the Secretariat. Did you know it has 38 floors?

There are 191 countries in the world that are members of the United Nations. Each country has a "delegate" or representative assigned to work here in NYC. I think the UN works similar to the way Congress does in Washington, DC. Except here, there is only one representative from the United States.

Keith and Kristin took me inside to see part of the UN. We had to go through security to get inside the building. Yes...I got to go through the x-ray machine again! But I also had to be checked after the x-ray machine with a hand-held tool Kristin calls a "wand." I had to hold my arms out very wide so the guard could pass the wand over my body. The machine beeps when it passes over a metal object like a zipper. I've never had to go through this kind of security before. Kristin says there are many important people who work at the United Nations and security must double and sometimes triple check everyone entering the building.

Inside, Keith and Kristin showed me a few art and photo displays in the main visitors lobby. They were very interesting. Kristin says these displays are changed every few months so if I ever visit the UN again I will see new items in the lobby.

But one of the displays that you can always see is a series of pictures of several men. The pictures are actually handmade carpets but they look like real pictures. Keith says these men are the past leaders of the United Nations. The leader is called the "Secretary General" and this person is elected to serve in the position by the representatives of all of the countries that belong to the UN.

The current Secretary General is a man named Kofi Annan. Keith says he is one of the most important people in the whole world! He is from the African nation of Ghana. See if you can find Ghana on the map.

Here you can see Keith and me standing near Kofi Annan's portrait in the UN visitors lobby.

As I looked at the picture of Mr. Annan, I realized that he looked very familiar. Then I remembered that he is in one of the pictures in Kristin's office at the Stanley Foundation. In the picture, Kristin and Keith are interviewing Mr. Annan. WOW! They have interviewed one of the most important men in the whole world!

After we finished in the lobby, Keith and Kristin took me downstairs to the United Nations bookstore. There, Kristin bought me a few books about the United Nations so I can learn more about what actually happens here. Kristin also bought me a UN teddy bear to add to my collection of items from my many travels. The bear is an interesting blue color. Keith says this is the official color of the United Nations, and it is special or "unique" to the United Nations. I had no idea!

I was so tired after our trip to the UN that I took a nap in Kristin's room with my new bear.

After my nap Keith and Kristin took me to a famous restaurant in Times Square called Roxy's Deli. I learned it is famous for its meat sandwiches and cheesecake. Kristin shared a piece of Snickers Cheesecake with me. It was made with real Snickers bars AND the slice was almost bigger than me! But it was sure yummy!

Kristin says NYC is famous for cheesecake. It seems to me that NYC is famous for many things.

We then walked home...through Times I could see all of the lights one more time. We are headed home tomorrow.

Until next time...