UMKC’s New Letters on the Air is a finalist for an international radio award

New Letters on the Air is among 10 finalists in the Culture and the Arts category for the 2010 New York Festivals International Radio Programming Awards, which were announced on Aug. 11. Other finalists include programs from BBC Radio 4, RTE Radio 1 (Ireland) and Radio Television Hong Kong. The winner of the competition will be announced by September.

Producer/host Angela Elam and assistant producer Dennis Conrow reviewed recent past productions of New Letters on the Air, and submitted the anthology program “The Cruelest Month,” produced with assistance from technical editor Annie Walsh and UMKC work-study student, Max Mosley.

Aired in April to kick off National Poetry Month, the program features 10 poets reading their work, including five former U.S. poets laureate – Billy Collins, Charles Simic, Rita Dove, Donald Hall and Kay Ryan – and prize-winning poets Elizabeth Alexander, Alberto Rios, Claudia Emerson, Randall Mann and Debra Marquart. Loosely centered on various types of love, the program reflects complicated lives with a mixture of humor, sensuality and irony.

All of the poems were pulled from previous interview shows with each of the poets. More of the New Letters on the Air archive programs are becoming accessible, thanks to a Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Park Service. New Letters is working with UMKC’s Marr Sound Archives to digitize archives that date back to the radio show’s beginning in 1977.

An independent production of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences, New Letters on the Air is distributed through the Public Radio Satellite System and the Public Radio Exchange, and can be heard on public radio stations throughout the country. It is the radio affiliate of the literary magazine New Letters and also receives support from the UMKC Communication Studies Department and the Missouri Arts Council.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Celebrating 75 years, UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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