“Where do you get your ideas?”
That’s usually the first question I get when I meet a listener. Well, it ties for first with the question, “What’s Marc really like?” (Answer: Pretty much as he is on the air, maybe a little less focused, lots of fun, sometimes a creative disaster area but makes up for it by often buying us breakfast. Laughs easily and generously.)
The first place we get our ideas is from each other. Every Monday morning we gather for our weekly production meeting. Ideally we all come in with ideas we’ve happened upon over the weekend and we share those with each other. We sit and look at the calender and our list of ideas, and we figure out which are most interesting or important, and where they should go. Then we go to work on them.
Another place we get our ideas is from our listeners and former guests. We get lots and lots of emails from people who have been on the show or who listen to the show sharing their ideas with us.
There is also of course the obvious: the news. We get four newspapers delivered here everyday: The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun, and the New York Times. We receive the Gazette and the Daily Record on a weekly basis. On Wednesdays one of us picks up the City Paper, and Marc usually reads the Baltimore Examiner at home. All of these papers are pretty crucial to the work we do in bringing those issues to light that we then produce shows around. Our staff doesn’t have the ability to dedicate time to investigate work. We rely on the work of great reporters like Fred Schulte and June Arney of the Baltimore Sun and their Ground Rent series.
As for other avenues, I have a list of websites I check on a regular basis. I use these as a place to not only conduct research and come up with story ideas but also as a place to find guests. Here’s a list of my favorites that I check weekly if not daily, in no particular order.
There are of course tons of other websites I check on a less regular basis, but those are the biggies. And I’m sure Marc and the other producers have their own favorites. Is there something you think I should know about? A favorite website that you think has good stuff for the show? Let me know in the comments!