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Studying Art: A Window to Understanding the World

by Sam Payne, host of “The Apple Seed,” on BYU Radio

I spoke the other day at the commencement exercises of a performing arts school. While preparing my remarks, I landed again and again on a phrase that The Apple Seed audiences hear me say sometimes when I’m talking to storytellers on the air. I speak about the work of a storyteller being a window on “the world and its things.” Art, I guess, is an entity in and of itself. But more than that, it’s a window on things. A depiction of things. A framing of things to help us see.  And as I prepared my remarks for the Commencement, I thought a lot about that. The students hearing my address, it occurred to me, have begun to grasp what the best disciples of the performing arts learn: that understanding the performer’s craft is a window to understanding the world. It does a student great good to play or sing or dance well. But if those pursuits also amplify the degree to which a student comprehends the world and its people and things, a student has gained the lasting treasure that the arts can give. 

The mission statement of the school where I spoke states a goal that I like a lot: that students will graduate having come to recognize and utilize the arts as a key arena for life learning—becoming conscientious, ethical, and active citizens.

I hope that passage in the mission statement actually characterizes the students to whom I spoke as they go into the world to live and work. I like the thought of living in a world with such people in it.

Maybe We Could Think of Them as Pets?

by Julie Rose, head producer of “The Morning Show," on BYU Radio

“I did look at the bacteria under a microscope.  They’re very cute,” says writer Julia Scott.  

Scott spent a month cultivating a colony of very special bacteria on her skin in the name of science. We read her fascinating – and skin crawling – account in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and had to know more, so we rang Scott up. 

Few of us would go without soap, deodorant or shampoo for a single week, let alone four. But Scott did, and says the friends and family she coerced into sniffing her during that time were not repulsed by her scent.  Why? Because she was misting herself daily with an active culture of bacteria called Nitrosomonas eutropha which feast on ammonia (a key contributor to body odor).

As soon as the experiment ended and Scott went back to using soap, her carefully-cultivated microbiome of body-odor-beating-bacteria went buh-bye.   “I was sorry to see them go. I’d become kind of attached and felt like I’d committed mass-bacteriacide,” she lamented to us on The Morning Show. 

Sitting in the control room during that interview, I watched a range of reactions flash across host Marcus Smith’s face. He was grossed-out, but also fascinated. And by the end of the conversation, he’d clearly warmed to the idea of growing his own Nitrosomonas eutropha.  “Maybe we could think of them as pets?” he queried.  (To which Scott replied, “Down boy!”)

Isn’t that exactly what a self-proclaimed Luddite would do? Soap is, after all, a new technology that appears to have fundamentally disrupted the natural, bacteria-rich state of our skin (putting them out of business, just like the powered looms and spinning frames Luddite artisans protested in 19th Century England.)  Marcus made the connection himself, during the interview with Scott: if you eschew new-fangled developments, well then, maybe you should say no to suds!

We’ll let you know if he makes the leap.  

Teenage Girl

by Maddy Richards, who helps produce "The Matt Townsend Show," on BYU Radio

Being a teenage girl is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  If I could go back and tell myself a few things they would be to:

Laugh more

Relax

Don’t try to be perfect

Eat

Being smart isn’t stupid

The boys aren’t worth it

Quality friends over quantity

Be nicer to my mom

The media isn’t always right

Forget about yesterday

It’s not the end of the world

Be yourself!

If you’re a mom, dad, brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, to a teenage girl recognize that it’s hard for them. Help them feel loved and appreciated. Give them space when they need it. If they’re wrong tell them in the nicest way possible. Criticize only when necessary. see the best in them because they don’t. Let them know you love them anyway. Let them TALK to you and make sure they aren’t afraid to talk to you. Help them laugh and love them fiercely.  

Welcome to #themorningshow

by Julie Rose, producer of “The Morning Show” on BYU Radio

"'Our roof literally picked up and dropped,' says Marcella Rich, describing the Moore, OK tornado from 1 year ago. #themorningshow”

That’s a quote from the @byuradio Twitter feed during The Morning Show this week.  We (and by “we” I mainly mean @marcussmith62!) have some reservations about boiling our in-depth conversations into 140-character bites and hashtags, but, we’re eager to have more interaction with you, our listeners. Twitter seems like a natural place to start that conversation. 

Follow us. Retweet us. Direct message us. Let us know what you like about the show, what you’d like to hear more of and what we can do to make #themorningshow an even better part of your daily routine!

Film Roll Stories

by Sam Payne, host of “The Apple Seed” on BYU Radio

The daughter of a friend of mine turned 16 today. It was an occasion to celebrate with great take-out Mexican food (Emanuel’s on 9th East. These are, as you can see, awesome friends), and rifling through a box of family photos for laughs and memories (There’s one of the birthday girl as a toddler, dressed up as Robin Hood, complete with an Errol Flynn mustache. No kidding).  There was a time when photographs were more rare and more precious than they are now. These photos were like that: taken, many of them, before digital photography was commonplace, which means that the photos were taken on film, which means that they were taken and then hidden away inside the camera until the whole roll was spent, and then delivered to the local photo counter, and then (after a wait) taken carefully out of a paper envelope and flipped through, being careful to touch only the edges, in hopes that some of them turned out. 

Now, those photos – and the memories they evoke – are in some ways the prime tangible record of whatever life they depict. There’s the sweater knitted by the birthday girl’s mom. And Mom weaving a basket with daughter looking on; the birthday girl and her sister piled on top of Mom, who’s still trying to sleep. And there’s the old couch from the family room, looking newer in the photos, with children arranged on it; they’re sitting on laps, and they’ve got their arms around each other, and smiling for the camera in varying states of toothlessness.

There’s a lot of laughter as the photos get passed around. Sometimes there’s a holler of recognition at an old something-or-other that everyone had forgotten, but there it is in the photos. There are also some silent smiles. And every once in a while, there’s a tear; a hug, too, maybe.

Every photo in that box is a story. And it’s an awfully big box. And maybe, just maybe, in a closet or attic or basement, you’ve got one kind of like it.

Have fun.

Campus Is Our Disneyland

by Julie Rose, head producer of “The Morning Show" on BYU Radio

 “I fell madly in love with BYU when I was just six or seven,” confessed new BYU President Kevin J. Worthen on The Morning Show last week. “When I could come to anything at BYU, it was like coming to Disneyland.”

BYU is like Disneyland for us at The Morning Show, too, but not for the manicured flower beds or mint brownies in the Cougareat.  This campus is a treasure trove of fascinating stories, expert insight and breakthrough discoveries. Just in the last few weeks we’ve met a BYU microbiologist who’s discovered an anti-bacterial substance that’ll kill even the strongest “super bug” and an engineer working with NASA on a giant solar panel that will fold like origami for transport into space.

We’ve tapped the expertise of top legal experts for help understanding the public lands standoff in Nevada, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on prayer in government meetings, and the debate over whether Constitutional protections extends to your cell phone. They all happen to teach at the BYU Law School. 

We even had a BYU professor blow our minds with his explanation of how American politics and policy was shaped by the discovery of LSD’s hallucinogenic powers.

Sure, “The World is Our Campus.” But when it comes to bringing you engaging conversations and new insights on The Morning Show, we think our campus is as good as Disneyland!

Spring Snow

by Kim Stilson, “The Kim Power Stilson Show,” May 5, 2014: 

This morning I drove through a blur of white petals that looked like snow. I turned my windshield wipers on so I could see through the onslaught of sweet flowers.

Just a few weeks ago I was doing the same, but for snow. Now that winter has moved on and spring has arrived, I need to make a few adjustments in my life. The first is to switch the wool sweater for cotton shirts. Then, I’ll change out the plastic covers for soft cushions on the veranda furniture. The heat will be turned down for the AC to go on. I will move from frantically monitoring homework with the kids to frantically exploring ways to keep them busy over the summer. Even on the radio show there are a few changes. We will move from show topics like ice fishing to summer sailing, from winter crock pot cooking to summer BBQ.

The shifts happen each season and I enjoy the change. This morning, as I stepped out of my car and brushed away the petals like spring snow, I noticed that the air smelled sweetly of spring Lilacs instead of the frosty tar of winter, and I thought, "I am definitely ready to move on to spring!" 

ESPN's Trevor Matich on Cougars in the NFL Draft

by Alan Miller, Assistant Producer, BYU Sports Nation, May 5, 2014

It’s Draft week in the NFL, and for BYU, this years’ draft class could earn the program more respect in the league. This year, five Cougars were invited to the NFL Combine. Van Noy, Hoffman, Sorensen, Manumaleuna and Unga are all hoping to land a spot in the NFL. 

In the days leading up to the Draft, analysts, insiders, and even bloggers are constantly updating their Mock Drafts and Big Board’s. BYU Alum and ESPN Analyst, Trevor Matich, joined BYU Sports Nation and provided some insight on the Cougars’ place in the league. Rather than focus on who the teams would take with each pick, Matich told us how he thinks a few BYU prospects could find a home in the NFL.

On DB Daniel Sorensen: 

“Sorensen I think is going to be a really good defensive player in the league if you put him in the right position.” 

“He’s a safety that plays really in a triangle. If the tip of that triangle is in the C gap, kind of over the offensive tackle, and then it widens out to a base about 12 yards deep into the secondary. If you have him in that area covering and then when it’s a run have him go downhill into that C gap, he is fantastic.”

“You don’t want him out there covering tight ends like Dennis Pitta, you know, in space running all over the field, but he’s a guy who can be really helpful.” 

On WR Cody Hoffman:

“Cody Hoffman as a receiver impresses NFL scouts because of his ability to go up and make plays, I mean those 50-50 balls he comes down with.”

“The thing he’s got to show scouts is that he can run precise routes because really over the last couple of years here, the nature of the passing game has not been a timing situation. Instead of being drop, set, throw to a spot on time it’s more like let’s find a guy who’s open. Well that affects how scouts can evaluate Cody Hoffman because they haven’t seen him do as many of the timing routes. But for a guy that can climb up and catch a ball, he’s the guy.“

On LB Kyle Van Noy:

“Van Noy to me is the guy that has the most intriguing possibilities in the NFL. Because of the nature of offenses now in the league, which are a reflection of the nature of rule changes in the league, which make it harder to oppose the quarterback, you can’t hit him most of the time. You can’t hit receivers at certain points downfield. It makes it easier for the passing game in the NFL, easier for a lot of scoring to happen and that’s intentional.” 

“So if you have that kind of quarterback, good for you, it’s a quarterback league. If you don’t have that kind of quarterback, then what you need to do is degrade the other guys’ quarterback down to the level of yours. That means pass rush.”

“Kyle Van Noy is such a slippery, slick pass rusher because it’s hard to get your hands on him. He can be running right at what looks at a brick wall and then turn sideways like a little rat and just slips right through it and comes out the other side.”

In the Bronco era, only two players from BYU have been selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft. With the versatility he offers, Van Noy looks to become the third. If his name is ready Thursday night, he’ll be the tenth 1st rounder in BYU history. 

You Had Us at 'Hello'

by Julie Rose, executive producer for “The Morning Show” on BYU Radio

“We’ll gladly take you as one of us!” laughed Katty Kay, anchor of BBC World News America, when speaking with Morning Show host Marcus Smith this week.  Kay and ABC News reporter Claire Shipman were on the show talking about their new book, “The Confidence Code,” which argues that women suffer an “acute lack of confidence that is holding them back in the workplace.” 

“Nearly all seemingly-confident, successful women, if you scratch the surface, will admit to self-doubt or lack of self-assurance,” says Kay and Shipman. 

“So many at even the top levels are grappling with a feeling that they don’t quite own the right to be at the top,” says Kay.  And she admits she’s one of them: tending to defer to male colleagues and thinking that anything short of perfection is unacceptable. Kay and Shipman point to genetic and social reasons for this “confidence gap” between men and women. 

And that’s when Marcus admitted he suffers from similar feelings of inadequacy. 

“So how do we – and I’m not a woman, of course – but how do we overcome this inclination to think we’re not good enough?” he asked.  “We’ll gladly take you as one of us!” Kay laughingly reassured him. 

How do we overcome the confidence gap?  “For starters,” Shipman says, “remind yourself it’s okay to feel nervous, and then use that as an empowerment tool to act.”

Bet you wouldn’t have pegged Morning Show host Marcus Smith as the insecure type, would you?

You’ve probably never met him, but based on his voice, would you call him dominant? Friendly? Trustworthy? This week on The Morning Show we heard from a professor at the University of Glasgow who says all it takes is hearing the word “Hello” for us to build an image in our minds of the type of person the speaker is.  “The first two traits we zero in on are dominance and trustworthiness,” says Glasgow psychologist Phil McAleer.  

“If you’re a man and you want to sound more dominant,” McAleer says, “lower your voice.”  (No, Marcus, growling like a dog doesn’t do the trick, but it was fun to hear you try!) Want to sound more trustworthy? Bring your tone up a few notches. “Women have a harder time sounding dominant,” says McAleer. “But a trustworthy-sounding woman generally moves her voice to a lower note at the end of words and phrases, as opposed to ending every word and sentence as though it were a question.” 

So think about that the next time you’re looking to make a first impression. Your first words matter. We’ll try our best to keep bringing you conversations that matter on The Morning Show.

Friends and Roommates

by Maddy Richards, who helps produce “The Matt Townsend Show” on BYU Radio

Sometimes, roommates are tough. I’ve learned through experience that it’s better to not live with your best friends, if you actually want to stay friends with them. Some people are great to live with - you get along well, you’re at the same level of cleanliness and organization, and overall it’s just a good fit. But there are other friends who, quite honestly, are a nightmare to live with.

1. There are good and bad ways to deal with this good friend/bad roommate. Here are my suggestions:
2. Be polite and remember, your friendship is the most important thing.
3. Suggest some rules for everyone in the apartment: quiet hours, rules for dishes and laundry, etc.
4. Nicely remind the roommate a few times before a confrontation. Ask them politely to maintain the rules.
5. If necessary, have a sit-down apartment meeting where you discuss the issues. Avoid throwing out the phrase “You never do this,” or “You always do this.” This will cause the friend to feel like a victim.
6. Leave a note or a treat that lets the person know you appreciate their friendship. It will help meld the relationship.

Before you move in with your best friend, really evaluate and make sure your lifestyles are compatible. Some friendships can be ruined when they are too close. So, make a careful decision when contemplating your friend to roommate transition.

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