No Wifi + No Service = No School

The internet is essential for students returning to school this semester, with the majority of learning happening remotely. But without wifi access, New York students living in shelters are falling behind their peers. Reporter Megan Burney speaks with affected families and an advocate leading a campaign for free public wifi in shelters.

Music credits: Jason Shaw and audionautix.com
Photo credit: Megan Burney

Gay Men Still Can’t Donate Blood Despite Shortage Concerns

As New York City sees new surges in COVID-19 cases, there are renewed concerns about blood shortages. But Ryan Manuel Koerber was turned away from the New York Blood Center in April due to his sexuality. FDA guidelines still specifically bar men who have sex with men (commonly referred to as “MSM”) from donating blood unless they have been celibate for three months. That rule, which was initially a lifelong ban from donating blood, was established in the 1980s at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. However, singling out MSM when screening for HIV has consistently been protested as homophobic and in the context of the pandemic, many consider that lifting the ban is long overdue.

Music credit: statusq

Photo credit: Ryan Manuel Koerber

Gay Men Still Can’t Donate Blood Despite Shortage Concerns

As New York City sees new surges in COVID-19 cases, there are renewed concerns about blood shortages. But Ryan Manuel Koerber was turned away from the New York Blood Center in April due to his sexuality. FDA guidelines still specifically bar men who have sex with men from donating blood unless they have been celibate for three months.

Also in this episode:
Without access to wifi, students living in New York’s homeless shelters are falling behind their peers during remote learning.
A therapist reflects on the increase of Black clients in her practice, and what it means to be a safe haven for Black people during this tense and transformative year.
A special education teacher discusses the difficulties she and her students are facing this school year as the coronavirus continues to throw a wrench into classroom learning.

Managing Editor: Jackie Harris
Host/Producer: Holly DeMuth
Associate Producer: Ashley Rodriguez
Reporting by Megan Burney, Valen Iricibar, Ali McPherson, and Erika Wheless.
Engineer: Chad Bernhard
Guest: Annie Tan
Editors: Kalli Anderson and Maggie Freleng

Picture credit: Ryan Manuel Koerber
Music credits: Jason Shaw and audionautix.com, statusq, Esther Abrami
For more info on AudioFiles:
www.audiofilespodcast.com

Homeless Folks Residing In Hotels Speak out After City Announces Plan to Relocate Them

During the peak of the pandemic, Mayor De Blasio relocated homeless residents from crowded shelters to hotels, to slow the spread of the virus. Many hotels across the city like Harmonia and Long Island City Plaza have housed homeless folks for years.

After numerous complaints from Upper West Side residents about The Lucerne, the men’s only facility in the Upper West Side, the city announced a plan to relocate Lucerne residents to Harmonia. This plan would relocate shelter residents across the city, creating a domino effect. Mayor De Blasio explained that hotels were meant to be a temporary relief for the homeless. After major backlash from the Coalition for the Homeless, The Legal Aid Society, and other advocates the city has halted the move until September 30th.

AudioFiles reporter Ali McPherson went to Harmonia to speak with residents and virtually met up with a homeless advocate at Lucerne to get a closer look at how they are moving forward.

Featured music is “Creep” by Emmit Fenn

Making It Work: COVID’s Impact on Violins, Bars, and NYC’s Homeless Crisis

COVID-19 has changed everything, from how we work to where we live. In this episode, reporter Erika Wheless looks at how one violin maker is adapting his centuries-old profession to suit the pandemic. And Reporter Valen Iricibar explains the updates to indoor dining and the COVID-19 surcharge. Later we hear from homeless folks who are speaking out after the city announced plans to relocate them after complaints from Upper West Side residents.

Managing Editor: Jackie Harris
Host/Producer: Megan Burney
Associate Producer: Holly DeMuth
Reporting by Ashley Rodriguez, Valen Iricibar, Ali McPherson, and Erika Wheless.
Engineer: Chad Bernhard
Guest: Rachel Holliday Smith

For more info on AudioFiles: www.audiofilespodcast.com

Going Deep (E5, S8) – 12/04/19

On the last Audio Files episode of the decade, we’re going deep.

1. Harsha Nahata and Jaime Longoria explore the intersection between legal weed and immigration.
2. Ethan Stark-Miller digs into the MTA’s long-delayed efforts to make subway station design more useful to people with disabilities.
3. Maria Robins-Somerville talks to a woman about finding god…in her leg.
4. Natalia Keogan asks, who controls music, the musician or their label?
5. Dig Nitty plays live in the studio.

CREDITS:
Producer: Jacob Kaye
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Host: Shira Feder
Reporters: Harsha Nahata, Jaime Longoria, Ethan Stark-Miller, Maria Robins-Somerville and Natalia Keogan.
Editors: Curtis Fox and Maggie Freleng
Engineers: Amber Watson and Chad Bernhardt
Music: Blue Dot Sessions

Episode 4 – Fear Itself

Dying without dignity, a creepy sexual encounter, the fear of using your home. These are the things we fear.

In this episode:

1. Shira Feder investigates a neglectful nursing home
2. Chris Polansky explores how cyclists use technology to stay safe from reckless drivers.
3. Former public defender Rebecca Kavanagh joins us in studio to discuss increased police presence in the subways.
4. Jacob Kaye reports on the opposition to a homeless shelter in Glendale Queens
5. A woman has a creepy encounter in the sex shop where she works.
6. Elise Okusami of Oceanator is our musical guest.

Host: Jacob Kaye
Producer: Maria Robins-Somerville
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Reporting: Shira Feder, Chris Polansky, Natalia Keogan, Harsha Nahata, Ethan Stark-Miller,
Editors: Curtis Fox and Maggie Freleng
Audio Engineers: Chad Bernhard and Amber Watson

Episode 3 – App-y Hour

In this episode:
1. Jacob Kaye asks people for their best and worst app ideas.
2. Harsha Nahata and Maria Robins-Somerville test out an app that tells you when to go to the bathroom during a movie.
3. Benjamin Powers introduces us to Prick, an insta-famous hedgehog
4. Ethan Stark-Miller explores an app working to make the subway more accessible.
5. Aagya Martha joins us in the studio to tell us about the app that she created that reminds you to take your birth control.
6. Benjamin Powers jumps into the world of some…unconventional online dating practices.
7. Musical guest ELIANA and Cairo Marquez-Neto

CREDITS:
Producer: Benjamin Powers
Host: Harsha Nahata
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Music Producer: Natalia Keogan
Stories by: Harsha Nahata, Jacob Kaye, Benjamin Powers
Engineers: Chad Bernhardt and Amber Watson
Editors: Maggie Freeleng and Curtis Fox
Music by: Blue Dot Sessions and Ketso

Episode 2 – The Ghosts of New York

In this spooky episode –
1. Jacob Kaye visits a haunted house and gets scared for you.
2. Chris Polansky finds out if New Yorkers believe in ghosts.
3. Harsha Nahata and Natalia Keogan explore ghosting and a break-up funeral.
4. Shira Feder takes us into the mind of the woman who ran one of New York’s most well-known death cafes.
5. Jacob Kaye talks with a young mortician in training.
6. Maria Robins-Somervile tours Brooklyn’s beautiful Green-Wood Cemetery.
7. Jacob Kaye hunts down the ghost that haunts him.
8. Music by Castle Black.

CREDITS:
Producer: Maria Robins-Somervile
Host: Jacob Kaye
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Music Producer: Natalia Keogan
Stories by: Natalia Keogan, Harsha Nahata, Maria Robins-Somervile, Chris Polansky, Shira Feder and Jacob Kaye.
Engineers: Chad Bernhardt and Amber Watson
Editors: Maggie Freeleng and Curtis Fox
Music by: Blue Dot Sessions, Loyalty Freak Music, Zapslpat.com

Episode 1 – How We Get Around – Or Don’t

1. Shira Feder explores the crackdown on fare beaters in the MTA and speaks to activists who are pushing back.

2. A young man recounts his memory of the beginning of a cross-country road trip.

3. Host Shira Feder interviews Quemuel Arroyo, head of accessibility for the DOT.

4. A visually impaired woman describes her strategies for navigating inaccessibility in the subway and bus systems.

5. Chris Polansky reports on how those with wheelchairs have trouble navigating the streetscape because of illegal parking and lack of accessible curb cuts.

6. The Rizzos play music.

Producers: Ben Powers & Maria Robins-Somerville
Host: Shira Feder
Assistant Producer: Ethan Stark-Miller
Music Producer: Natalia Keogan
Stories: Shira Feder, Chris Polansky, Jacob Kaye and Ethan Stark-Miller