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How did your life collide with the headlines in 2007?
Iraq, the subprime crisis, Facebook, immigration, oil prices - 2007 had no shortage of hefty headlines. We'd like to hear about how these and other major news events of the past year affected you. Where did your life collide with the news in 2007?

What's your holiday performance story?
The office talent show, the neighborhood caroling posse, the school pageant ... At holiday time we often sing, dance, and dress as shepherds. Did you bloom in the warmth of your audience's adulation, or freeze up like the snowman you'd rather be building? Did your holiday performance change your life or that of someone close to you?

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About Weekend America
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Station Guide
Weekend America is meant to be customized. Stations are encouraged to use Weekend America as a program service - a rich source of material that will enable stations to develop their own special weekend public radio sound.

How to Customize

Stations can use Weekend America in a number of ways, including:

  1. As a complete program: Airing the full Weekend America program, a soup to nuts approach where a full 59 minutes are delivered to you.
  2. Use the cutaways: Airing the full Weekend America program, taking advantage of the multiple cutaway opportunities to brand the program as WXYZ's Weekend America, and to insert plenty of local promos, underwriting credits, local news and events, weather, traffic and public service announcements. The clock provides 3 cutaways at 3 cutaways at :19:00 (one minute), :29:00 (two minutes) and :49:00 (one minute) after the hour. There is also a one second re-join at:35:58 to allow stations an opportunity to insert local content from the cutaway at :29:00 through the rejoin at :35:59.
  3. Use the cutaways and insert locally produced content: Airing the full Weekend America program, taking advantage of cutaways, and substituting local material for some of the "network" feed. The program segments are timed in such a way that local material of varying lengths can be inserted in lieu of national material.
  4. Use the show and excerpt it: Airing the full Weekend America program, and also excerpting features or segments and dropping them into local programming.
  5. Use excerpts only: Airing only segments, only pieces from the national service as part of your local weekend programming.

The interesting thing is that you can do some or all of the above, using the material in multiple ways at different times.

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The Format

Weekend America is constructed so that it can be used as a continuous program or as a program service.

    Billboard: Each hour begins with a 1:00 billboard. Stations can easily choose to replace the national billboard with their own local billboard, and forward promote the upcoming hour, leading directly into the NPR Newscast at 1:00.

    Newscast: The NPR News runs from 01:00 - 05:59.

    Segment 1: [06:00 - 18:59] is 13-minutes long including national funding credits.

    Cutaway 1: [19:00 - 19:59]. The national cutaways will be filled with forward promotion and music.

    Segment 2: [20:00 - 28:59] is 9 minutes long including national funding credits.

    Cutaway 2: [29:00 - 30:59] is 2 minutes long and the first minute will be filled with Weekend America's own version of weather. A good chance for local news headlines. And, more local branding.

    Segment 3: [31:00 - 35:58] is 5 minutes long. This might be a segment you pre-empt, in full for a local story or feature.

    Segment 4: [36:00 - 48:59] is 13 minutes long.

    Cutaway 3: [49:00 - 49:59] is 1 minute long.

    Segment 5: [50:00 - 58:29] is 8 1/2 minutes long.

    Cutaway 4: [58:30 - 60:00] is 1 1/2 minutes long. The first 30 seconds will be filled with a promo, the final 60 seconds will be silent.

The Show

Weekend America is a hosted magazine. But, unlike ATC and ME, it isn't a single magazine with one continuous string of segments. Rather, it is formatted to appeal to the different way that listeners use radio on weekends. Weekend listeners are not stuck in commuting traffic; their weekend lives are scattered in lots of different weekend activities. They graze rather than dine! For that reason, we are responding by offering them program service, not just a program to be listened to all in one sitting.

Weekend America is produced in digestible bites, which we call "mini-magazines" that run between 5 to 13 minutes. Like a Readers' Digest or Utne Reader article, these mini-magazines allow the listener to tune in and listen to variety of material, to tune out, and to rejoin at will without guilt or a clock-watching mentality. After all, it is the weekend!

Listener Desires

Public Radio Weekend (now 'Weekend America') is about freedom and personal control. Said one producer, "During the week, you are obligated to listen to the news. Saturdays, I don't feel obligated to do anything." "It's my time," said another, "it is the only time that I own."

Saturdays, especially, are a time for errands and whimsy. Focus group listeners were intent upon stressing their need for personal control of their time on weekends. Producers were admonished not to do anything that required listeners to tune in on a fixed schedule and remain glued to their radios. Rather, assume that listeners will drop in to spend time with a good friend, and will leave when they wish and without guilt, and return when they desire and if they are left with a good feeling about their earlier encounters. Above all, producers will acknowledge -- with respect -- that listeners have different ways of using radio on weekends. We will not force weekday approaches to content down the throats of weekend listeners!

At the same time, our audience is our audience. They do not abandon their education and intelligence on weekends. While we need to be willing to shorten the length of pieces on weekends for more casual listening, we need to be careful not to "dumb down" the material. Depth and breadth are always important to our audience.

The Style

Above all, Weekend America is a weekend program and program service. A free-spirited program with a "sat-ti-tude" - a made-up word meaning "a Saturday attitude." Fun, edginess, pleasure derived from intellect and texture, and recurring and welcomed surprises. A live program I want to spend Saturday with.

It creates a recurring sound of smart and fun, without being demanding. It tells me, the listener, that it is ok to tune it in, enjoy it, but not feel imprisoned or obligated by it. I do not have to stay in my driveway to hear the end of a piece. I come when I want, leave when I want, and don't feel any guilt. It is alive and waiting for me when I want it.

The hosts are versatile, nimble, spontaneous and they can talk to each other without engaging in banal "happy talk".

The entire show is "tuned" to weekend attitudes. In lieu of the hurdy gurdy of the weekdays' hard news, Weekend America is more contemplative, more amused and bemused, taking joy from the stories and little events which season our lives. It is about things we share - memories, myths, legends, and stories. And it tells stories of our ambitions, aspirations, spirituality and faith. It isn't that the show ignores the serious or "dumbs down" its content, but, as one producer said, "On weekdays . our orientation in the world (is) as political beings. On weekends, we come from a personal spot, from who I am, and the things I do and appreciate ... as a personal being."

I want to hear what is happening in America and the world this weekend. Not the gray serious global doom-and-gloom, but the humanity. We're a country engaged in the enjoyment of families and friends, leisure, history, humor, sports, food, spirituality, stories, loves, aspirations.

I want to know about and get caught up on the arts, performance, theater, serious and pop culture. Again, I don't want to be educated or smothered with Culture with a capital "C." Rather, I want to hear reviews and hear people discussing them, I want to know why listeners like a movie or a play or an art exhibit. I want to hear art in the process of being created - from music to theater to radio production and movies. I want to know about all manner of leisure options, from travel to outdoors, from food and libation to gardening, from errands and home projects to love and sex. I don't want us to ignore sports - but I want to focus on participatory rather than spectator sports, because as a public radio listener, I am more into doing than watching!

The subject matter is as endless as the entire Dewey Decimal system, but what governs the content of this show is not the subjects but rather the treatment. As one producer said, "What sets Public Radio Weekend (now 'Weekend America') apart aren't the ingredients but how you cook them." In this show, there is a highly recognizable style and approach to material that earmarks it as weekend.

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