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Books Unbound – The Massacre of Yangzhou


The protagonist of “The Massacre of Yangzhou” is the southern Chinese city of Yangzhou, a rich and beautiful center of the failing Ming Dynasty as it succumbed to the rising Qing Dynasty. The episode is based on “‘Horrid Beyond Description’: The Massacre of Yangzhou”, from the book Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm: China in Tigers’ Jaws by Lynn Struve. Struve is a professor emerita of the Departments of History, and East Asian Languages and Culture, at Indiana University.

In May 1654, the city of Yangzhou came under siege by northern invaders. The defender of the city, the noble and educated Shi Kefa, refuses to surrender despite inevitable defeat. When the city falls, the forces under Qing command are set loose for five days of punitive violence, as an example to other cities to capitulate. Unsanctioned looting, rape, and killings continue for another five days.

But there are no good guys and bad guys in this story. Internal systemic failures and ineffectual leadership among the Ming left them weak. Renegade Ming forces had been recruited by the Qing along with the northern Manchus and allied tribes. Many of the atrocities in Yangzhou seem to have been committed by renegade Ming. Individual residents of Yangzhou attempt to appease or collaborate with the invaders. The Qing are portrayed as restoring order, charity, and the rule of law.

In Lynn Struve’s presentation and her masterly translations, these complexities are represented by the voices of two very different men. In his last days, the viceroy and defender of the city Shi Kefa wrote sorrowful letters to his family, agonizing over his failures. Although traditionally viewed as the embodiment of integrity and loyalty, Shi Kefa’s choice to keep his word and not negotiate terms of surrender led to the slaughter of tens of thousands who lacked the power to choose.

The scholar Wang Xiuchu was one of these ordinary residents of Yangzhou who suffered its devastation. Unlike Shi Kefa, he survived to write a powerful and unsparing memoir of wartime atrocity, free of either self-aggrandizement or sentimentalized victimhood. If there’s a hero in this account, it’s Wang Xiuchu’s wife—who is left unnamed.

Listeners are advised that the episode contains brutal descriptions of the acts Wang witnessed.

The memoir of Wang Xiuchu is read by Eric Rensberger, and the letters of Shi Kefa by Frank Buczolich. Special music comes from the album Dialogue Between Fisherman & Woodcutter: Singing About the Beautiful Legend of China.

Guest host is Patsy Rahn, who co-produced.
Co-hosted and co-produced by Doug Storm.
Books Unbound is produced and written by Cynthia Wolfe.

For an extended interview with Lynn Struve, plus commentary by Patsy Rahn, listen to “Beyond Description: Witnessing Historical Trauma,” a crossover episode of WFHB’s Interchange.

Executive producer: Alycin Bektesh
Theme music: The Impossible Shapes

Hola Bloomington – January 9, 2015


Los locutores de HOLA Bloomington Maria Auxiliadora Viloria y Minerva Sosa hablan con las invitadas Lillian Casillas, Zelideh Martinez-Hoy y Cynthia Roberts sobre su viaje a Cuba y la nueva relación entre Cuba y los EE.UU. Además, se habla sobre el nuevo año.

Hola Bloomington’s hosts Maria Auxiliadora Viloria y Minerva Sosa interview Lillian Casillas, Zelideh Martinez-Hoy and Cynthia Roberts, who traveled to Cuba, and talk about the new relations between Cuba and The United States. They also talk about the New Year and common traditions.

EcoReport – Amphibian and Reptile Species in Indiana


This week on Ecoreport, Mike Luurtsema from Hoosier Forest Watch and Sarabeth Clue-Mundy from Indiana DNR discuss the status of different amphibian and reptile species in Indiana.

BloomingOUT – January 8, 2015


Tonight, hosts Jeff Jewel and Justin Ford discuss with Bobbie Emetu issues facing the transgender community, societal attitudes on the community, social media, and how it all connects to the recent tragic death of Leelah Alcorn. Our weekly segments “Out on Campus” and “First Year Out” are also highlighted in this week’s show.

Hosts – Jeff Jewel, Justin Ford
Executive Producer – Alycin Bektesh
Producer – Olivia Davidson
Script Coordinator – Hayley Bass
Board Engineer – Carissa Barrett

EcoReport – January 8, 2015


This week on Ecoreport, Mike Luurtsema from Hoosier Forest Watch and Sarabeth Clue-Mundy from Indiana DNR discuss the status of different amphibian and reptile species in Indiana.

EcoReport is a weekly program providing independent media coverage of environmental and ecological issues with a focus on local, state and regional people, issues, and events in order to foster open discussion of human relationships with nature and the Earth and to encourage you to take personal responsibility for the world in which we live. Each program features timely eco-related headline news, a feature interview or event recording, and a calendar of events of interest to the environmentally conscious.

Anchors: Julianna Dailey, Dan Young
This week’s news stories were written by Linda Greene and Norm Holy.
Our feature and broadcast engineer is Dan Withered.
This week’s calendar was compiled by Catherine Anders.
EcoReport is produced by Dan Young.
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Bloomington Beware – Scams On Us 1


A highly suspicious phone call offering “business owners” a highly questionable benefit came in just as this week’s script was being written — what timing!

Interchange – Beyond Description: Witnessing Historical Trauma


Tonight’s program is one half of a collaboration with WFHB’s Books Unbound centered around a memoir of a first-person eyewitness account written by Wang Xiuchu of the 1645 Massacre in Yangzhou, China, called, in English, An Account of Ten days at Yangzhou. This memoir will be featured this Saturday at 5 pm on Books Unbound. The Massacre at Yangzhou was translated by Lynn Struve, and the memoir is read by Eric Rensberger.

 Tonight we hear from Lynn Struve about this memoir as well as the historical context in which it takes place. We’ll also get some idea about how to think about the events in the narrative. But this story has two voices. Wang Xiuchu lives the events–but he is one of the crowd, lucky (if he can be called lucky) to escape death. There is also the voice of Shi Kefa, who was the soldier statesmen responsible for defending Yangzhou at the time of the Massacre. Frank Buczolich reads a letter home from Shi Kefa, the man who has come to represent the epitome of patriotic Chinese resistance to modern nationalistic writers. But we should not be so sanguine about that particular interpretation of history. Wang Xiuchu, and Lynn Struve, help us with that.

Patsy Rahn, a local poet who works in the Education Department of the Indiana University Art Museum, introduces her interview with retired IU professor, Chinese scholar and translator, Lynn Struve for Interchange.

Script assistance from Cynthia Wolfe.

Producer and Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Social Media: Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Alycin Bektesh

Bring It On! – January 5, 2015


William Hosea and Cornelius Wright welcome Leila Randle.

On the first B.I.O. show of 2015, William and Cornelius welcome Bring It On contributor Leila Randle, a.k.a. the “Savvy Sistah of Shopping!”. She stops by to offer advice that will help our listeners set realistic and attainable goals and resolutions for 2015.

Headline news and local calendar events of interest to the African-American community.

Hosts: William Hosea and Cornelius Wright
Bring It On! is produced by Clarence Boone
Executive Producer Alycin Bektesh
Our News Editor is Michael Nowlin
Our Board Engineer is Chris Martin

Brown County Hour – Episode #34 – January 4, 2015


Hosted by Dave Seastrom, Pam Raider, Vera Grubbs, Rick Fettig & Jeff Foster.

First aired Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 9 AM on WFHB

☆ In this episode of the Brown County Hour:

  • Musical guest David Bartlett talks about his recent CD, Lead Your Life By A Song, produced by Jeff Foster, and we hear several tunes from the project

    David Bartlett

  • Cari Ray returns with the second of her new BCH series, For A Song, wherein she explores the creative processes involved in finding your muse
  • Rick Fettig with an original story,It’s A Boy, about growing up (and old) in a changing world, with background music by Barry Ginsbarg
  • Dave Seastrom delivers another pithy essay
  • Poetry by Gunther Flumm
  • And music recorded live at our Nov 1 2014 BCH Studio Fundraiser held at the Brown County Inn, including tracks by Dave Sisson & Sam Herrin, Trish Rieke and Cole O’Day.
✇ Theme music by Slats Klug & Friends.

Books Unbound – The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin


“The Queen of Spades” is a mock fairy tale about debt, gambling, guilt and the supernatural—and the deadening effect of money on love. An aging, once-beautiful Countess possesses the secret to a one-time super-win at cards—but at what price?

Third in a trilogy of Russian fiction recently read on Books Unbound, “The Queen of Spades” is often considered the best of the short stories by Alexander Pushkin—and if the plot seems familiar, it’s because of its enormous influence. Pushkin was an aristocrat with African slave ancestry who sympathized with the liberal reforms sought by the revolutionary Decembrists. He was exiled and his works subjected to such strict censorship that none of his plays was even performed during his life—which ended at the premature age of 37 following a duel with his beautiful wife’s reputed lover. Despite the official constraints on his work, Pushkin is widely regarded as Russia’s greatest poet and as the founder of modern Russian literature. Special music for the episode comes from the album The Russian Viola by Nobuko Imai and Roland Pöntinen.

Reader: Frank Buczolich

Host: Sarah Torbeck
Announcer: Doug Storm

Produced by Cynthia Wolfe and Doug Storm
Written by Cynthia Wolfe

Executive producer: Alycin Bektesh
Theme music: The Impossible Shapes

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