Melody Kramer is a life-long geek. She grew up in South Jersey and made the jump across the Delaware for college, and now calls Philadelphia her home. We recently caught up with Melody to talk about public radio, paper boats, and Twitter.
What makes you a geek?
I spent eight years in marching band, four years on my high school bio team, and six years working in public radio. I once spent 24 hours watching all three Indiana Jones movies, all three Star Wars movies and all of the Lord of the Ring movies. (This was college.) And I was recently nominated for a Geek Award. If that doesn’t solidify my geekiness, I’m not sure what would.
How did you get the gig of Associate Producer at NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross?
I originally started working at NPR through a post-college fellowship called the Kroc Fellowship. It was basically a very intense crash course in public radio. Following the fellowship, I got a gig writing, producing and directing Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, NPR’s humor show. I lived in Chicago for 2 years…eventually a position opened up at Fresh Air. I grew up here, so it seemed perfect. At Fresh Air, I wrote everything on the website, did all of the social media and wrote some daily on-air stuff for the show.
What’s the geekiest thing that happened during your time at Fresh Air?
This show was pretty geeky as was this one but the geekiest thing that happened to me personally was receiving an email from Physics Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter, saying he liked the write-up of his show.
At Fresh Air you’ve started a weekly feature called “Best Thing All Week”. How did that come about?
Dan Victor, who is at the New York Times, actually started it. He decided that people needed to re-frame their week in terms of positive things. I love that idea. It’s a fantastic way to really think about the week and reflect on the good — and there is something good, usually.
What’s your “Best Thing All Week” for this week?
I play board games on a weekly basis with a group of friends and tomorrow is Ticket to Ride night. (This might also up my geek cred.)
Tell us about your most recent birthday? I heard there were boats involved.
My 27th year on Earth wasn’t the most awesome, for various reasons, and so I decided to ring in 28 in a cathartic and meaningful way. I invited all of the people who helped support and motivate me through 27 to the banks of the Schuylkill River, where we a) blew bubbles b) ate cookies made by my mom and c) each released an origami paper boat with reflective thoughts on it into the river. It was the perfect birthday and I must say, 28 has been great so far.
I use social media to write funny tidbits and find out about events in Philadelphia and connect with interesting people. I’ll look into Friendster right after my Orkut account gets up and running.
You’ve recently turned in the reigns at Fresh Air. What’s next for you?
I’m in a 5-year medical program at Temple. The first year is a postbac, so I’m currently taking bio, orgo and physics (as well as all of the labs.) It’s really tough. If I complete it successfully, I’ll be a med student at Temple next year. I’d like to go into emergency medicine and focus on the gun violence epidemic in Philadelphia. I’m also hoping to continue doing radio stuff for NPR in some way.
Why do you love Philadelphia? Please phase your response in the form of a haiku.
Eating soft pretzels
Sold by the lady on Vine.
Did she wash her hands?