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A World of Possibilities on AM 870 NewsTalk
Launched as a nationally and internationally syndicated program in 2003, A World of Possibilities is an award-winning, one-hour weekly radio program of public affairs. It seeks to build bridges across boundaries of background and belief and discover solutions to longstanding challenges through penetrating conversations with pragmatic social innovators, leading policy analysts and big-picture thinkers on key national and global issues.
Produced by Connexus Communications, a nonprofit public education organization, the program currently airs in 272 stations and 134 translators in 41 states and six Canadian provinces as well as several other countries, including South Africa and New Zealand. Our specials have played on an additional 60 markets, including most of the largest in the country. The program is listed in prominent audio directories such as iTunes, yahoo, AOL, and other podcast directories, with downloads averaging 125,000 listeners a month.
In its first six years of production, A World of Possibilities has won six international awards from the New York Festivals. In 2006, the United Nations awarded A World of Possibilities a Silver Medal “for outstanding achievement in international radio programming that best reflects the global concerns of the United Nations,” including world health, human rights, and the fight against poverty. “The Unseen World of Islam,” was the first of a four-part, four-hour series on Muslim-U.S. relations underwritten by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. In 2008, the program won a Silver WorldMedal in the category of Current Events/Social Issues.
A World of Possibilities is unusual in several respects:
Greater depth of focus than many programs in public radio. Our extended series of between two and six one-hour programs explore all facets of a diverse range of national and global issues. Examples include:Food security and safety (12 hours); Green tech, climate change, and environmental health (19 hours); Public health (24 hours); Peace, security and conflict resolution (28 hours); Human rights (16 hours).
- A solution-centered approach, focusing not on what’s wrong but on what’s being done right, what works.
- Stories of successful social innovation with the “true grit” of breakdowns and breakthroughs to engage the listener’s heart and imagination.
- An informal, intimate conversational style that draws forth guests’ humanity and humor.
With veteran audio guru and Peabody award-winner Gregg McVicar (UNDERCURRENTS) as Senior Producer, A World of Possibilities strives for a high standard of production values. Our themes and conversational style are informative and engaging.
Host Mark Sommer is founder and Executive Director of the Mainstream Media Project and executive producer and host of A World of Possibilities. An award-winning audio and print journalist, Sommer’s monthly columns are syndicated worldwide in several languages by the Inter Press Service in Rome. A gifted storyteller, he has been commissioned by major foundations to advise them on how best to convey the dynamics and social benefits of philanthropy. His wide-ranging contacts, eclectic interests, extensive knowledge base and dynamic personality have attracted many high-profile and cutting edge guests to participate in the program.
As an independent radio production, A World of Possibilities is underwritten by a dozen foundations, including many of the country’s largest – Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett, Packard, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Merck Family Fund, and others. Each funder underwrites two to six programs on a particular topic. These are then interspersed with series on other topics to form a diverse programming mix and appeal to an eclectic range of audience interests. Following broadcast, our “educasting” service re-purposes the programs and augments them with curriculum materials as long-term educational resources and movement-building tools. These educasting modules, featured online at educasting.org, not only test comprehension and retention of the content but build critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills through role playing and scenario building exercises.
A World of Possibilities is currently marketed by the Los Angeles-based Creative PR and the Chicago-based WFMT Radio Network, the thirty-year-old syndication service of 98.7WFMT, Chicago's Classical Fine Arts Station where the legendary Studs Terkel's daily interview program was produced for some forty years. The WFMT Radio Network is distributing A World of Possibilities to public and community radio stations nationwide and to foreign and domestic broadcast services in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
A World of Possibilities is edited and engineered to a highly professional standard to achieve a consistent quality, format, set of themes and style of questioning that are both informative and engaging. Analysts are interspersed with social innovators so listeners can grasp the full dimensions of the problem, the range of possible solutions, and pilot projects that are successfully addressing the challenge. Conversation is spiced by vibrant musical interludes. Interviews are structured so as to stand alone (making sense even if the listener hears no other program in the series) and still relate to one another.