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Earprints on the Air: New Radio Show Gives Air Time to Nature Sounds
by Catherine Girardeau

Have you ever listened to the many voices of wind? On Kauai in December, it whines through the window jalousies like worrying relatives singing ghostly songs. Crack a window anywhere during a storm and you'll hear it howl. Pause in a summer aspen grove and you'll hear it lifting and sifting through the hands of leaves.

These are some of the moments we frame for our listeners on our weekly radio program, Earprints on the Air. The one-hour radio program, produced by NSS Chair Jason Reinier and NSS member Catherine Girardeau, features nature sounds, natural soundscapes and audio art. The program is broadcast on Pacifica stations KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkeley, and KFCF in Fresno, California. It airs every Sunday from 8:00 to 9:00 pm.

Since June 1996, the program has devoted many hours to nature sounds. Our goal is to open ears into the sounds of species other than our own; to encourage listening to the worlds of nature that we don't inhabit on a daily basis; and to provide a sonic window into quiet places, in hopes of encouraging their preservation.

We also air audio art featuring recorded sound, and our own brand of "sonic journeys": musical soundscapes of New York City, Hawaii, and any other place we happen to be inspired to record. We encourage our listeners to submit sounds for broadcast including nature sounds, soundscapes of any where in the world and audio art. We also like to play "Name that sound," especially with unusual nature sounds. If you have any very unusual sounds you would like to have broadcast on our show, please send them to us. (Contact information below).

Past programs have featured birds of the Belizean rainforest, from a just-released CD produced by NSS Member Dan Dugan, as well as soundscapes of the Northern and Southern hemispheres by Gordon Hempton, Lang Elliot, and others. Special guests have included NSS members Ed Herrmann, talking about and playing his field recordings from Northern Thailand; Douglas Quin, discussing and playing his fine recordings from places like Antarctica and the Amazon rainforest; and Bernie Krause, who shared his insights from years of wildlife recording and study of bioacoustics with our listeners.

We also air soundscapes and sound portraits of places, which blend natural and naturally-occurring sounds to create complex, layered sonic environments, such as the sound portraits of Madrid, Lisbon, and the Canary Islands by German radio producer Micheal Ruesenberg.

Earprints on the Air: heard throughout the Bay Area Sundays at 8 p.m. on KPFA, 94.1 FM.

We're interested in airing recordings by NSS members. If you'd like to submit recordings, please send them on DAT or cassette, with complete information on what, when, where and how the recordings were made, to:

Earprints on the Air
662 Anderson St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Please include your name, address, phone and fax, and email, if you have it. If you submit unedited sounds, please indicate exactly where the material you suggest we air is located on your tape. We don't guarantee that your sounds will be aired but we'll do our best to contact you in advance if we plan to use your submission. Don't send us your master tape -- tapes will only be returned by special arrangement.

Articles from Winter 1997

  Letter From The Chair

Editor's Note: The NSS Website

Sound Recording Adventures in Antarctica (2): Sounds of Antarctic Glaciers & Rock

Earprints on the Air: New Radio Show Gives Air Time to Nature Sounds

Spring Tech Talk & the Sounds Of Antarctica

Lucky 13! - 13th Annual Field Recording Workshop Review

The Niche Hypothesis: Creature Vocalizations and the Relationship Between Natural Sound and Music

Long Live Analog! Great Deals in Used Nagras

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