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'Crossing Fences' Radio Project Unites Young Men With Mentors

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
December 03, 2015
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Podcast

Many people in the Pittsburgh area have probably heard "The Saturday Light Brigade," the long-running public radio program that airs on six FM radio stations and three Internet stations, including Tube City Online's WMCK.FM in McKeesport.

But they may not be aware that SLB's parent organization also engages in mentoring and training programs in local schools, including the Propel charter schools in the Mon Valley as well as public schools through the McKeesport-based Consortium for Public Education.

This week, SLB debuted the latest three CDs in its "Crossing Fences" series. In "Crossing Fences," groups of African-American teen-agers interview local men from the community, and then edit the interviews into four to six minute radio documentaries.

The latest series includes interviews collected in Braddock and Homestead; a previous series included oral histories collected in McKeesport and Hazelwood. Twelve communities have been covered so far; all of the documentaries are available as free downloads at NeighborhoodVoices.org.

On the next episode of our weekly radio show, "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we talk with Sarah Siplak and Chanessa Schuler of SLB Radio Productions about "Crossing Fences," and we also listen to one of the oral histories.

Who are the young men selected for this project? What types of skills are the learning in conducting these interviews? Why is it important for young men in these communities to have good role models? And how can other communities get involved in this project?

"Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" airs at 8:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810),  at 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), at 3 p.m. Sundays on WMCK.FM Internet radio, and is also available as a free podcast from Stitcher and iTunes.

ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security.

The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.

Originally published December 03, 2015.

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