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Listen hard, learn something, and three other lessons from master mentors

Shea Shackelford When Shea Shackelford lends a helping ear to younger producers, they usually come away talking about his skill as a mentor — which is interesting because, when it comes to that kind of relationship, Shea was an orphan.

''I spent many years wishing I had a good mentor,'' he said. ''I had people to learn from, I had helpful people around me, but there's some threshold of learning where you realize you've got it, that you are the person you're looking for. … The way I mentor is based a lot around the sort of mentoring I maybe wish I'd had.''

Shea, a co-founder of Big Shed Audio, was one of the pioneers for AIR's MQ2 initiative and he regularly helps less experienced producers shepherd a project through AIR's structured mentorship program.

I had called Shea for selfish reasons. Since 2011, I've been working as a volunteer mentor-editor for The Op-Ed Project, which is working to diversify the voices and views on the world's editorial pages. When people come out of a short-term, formal mentorship inspired, encouraged, and improved, it catches my attention.

Read On . . .

Spotlight Archive

To Do:

Maker Faire
July 26–27 (Detroit)
September 20–21 (New York)

DIY fest that's ''part science fair, part county fair''—a mash of tech, craft, education, writing, and media making. We are curious. More here. AIRsters, if you're there, give it up on the AIRdaily.

NAMAC Conference
August 6–8
Philadelphia, PA

Excellence in Journalism Conference
September 4–6
Nashville, TN

The Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) bring together leading thinkers and remixers of journalism. It's all here.

PRPD Annual Programming Conference
September 9–11
Portland, OR

Save the date! Help send departing President Arthur Cohen off in style with PDs and system leaders. The gates are open.

ONA Conference
September 25–27
Chicago, IL

New tools, latest in tech, and storymakers from inside and outside pubmedia showing their stuff. Deets here.

Third Coast Conference
November 7–9
Chicago, IL

AIRsters will be out in force. Open meeting/speed date, pitch panel, and surprises. Plan your travel to arrive by noon on Friday...more details will follow. Sept. 25 is early bird deadline, but don't wait, people! Keep your eye on it here.

New Member Corner:
Andres O'Hara-Plotnik

New member, Andres O'Hara-Plotnik

Hails from: South Florida.

Why audio? An indie producer and WNYC intern many times over, Andres has always been a fan of public radio programs that embrace story. He recorded a bucketful of interviews, thinking they'd be best in print. As he listened and cut, audio was the clear answer, so he set out to learn more about audio storytelling.

Guiding winds: Andres has been a part of The NYC Public Radio Club for a while. The group meets once a month to listen and discuss members' work and inspiration. ''It has been an incredibly supportive group for a newcomer,'' Andres said. ''It's helped me envision a future creating audio.''

A podcast he can't miss: Radio Ambulante. Growing up in South Florida, Andres spoke Spanish at home. Since moving, he doesn't get to hear Spanish voices on the radio as often. ''It's always exciting to hear great radio storytellers from all over Latin America,'' he said.

His favorite interview: About a year ago, Andres sat down with his grandparents to discuss what it was like living in Cuba and Venezuela. While his grandfather was happy to chat freely, his grandmother ''stayed silent and looked at her fingernails.'' It wasn't until her husband left the house that Andres's grandmother opened up. ''I did not just learn about my family history,'' Andres said. ''I learned about one of the many things that can happen when you give people the time and space to tell their story.''

Find Andres on Twitter @Andresputnik or at


AIRster and ''Braidio'' producer Veronica Simmonds interviews a pyro-artist. [14:29]

AIRmuse Archives

Cool Tool: No file too big

Forget the cloud or FTP transfers. Infinit promises unlimited peer-to-peer file sharing. Raw audio files? Huge photo sets? The makers of the free software claim that they can transfer 100 MB of photos in 5:29, and 2 GB of video in 13 minutes (compared to five hours on Dropbox and a little less than four hours on Chrome). See for yourself:

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