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OCTOBER 5, 2012
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Imagine a series that explores the world, combining the adventure of a travel show with the soul-satisfying pleasures of a music program. Beautifully filmed in HD. All wrapped up in compelling stories told by four savvy reporters, two women and two men. It’s called SOUND TRACKS.

SOUND TRACKS will break new ground: there has never been a show like this on television.

SOUND TRACKS will guide millions of PBS viewers, young and old, into a world of exciting music, exotic destinations and different cultures. It is music without borders told by experienced journalists.

Host Marco Werman of public radio’s The World and a savvy team of reporters — Alexis Bloom, Arun Rath and Mirissa Neff — take viewers on journeys of discovery across the U.S. and around the world. A pilot
episode first aired in 2010 with stories filmed in Russia, Nigeria and Kazahkstan, as well as a "global hit" performance by Portuguese fado star, Mariza. A new one-hour episode airing October 5, 2012 on PBS features stories about jazz superstar Wynton Marsalis, Scottish folk singer Julie Fowlis, and African singer/human rights activist Youssou N'dour. It also includes an exclusive performance by a new young band from Iceland, Of Monsters and Men.

SOUND TRACKS is being produced in association with KQED by The Talbot Players, a San Francisco media company formed by Emmy award-winning PBS producer and writer Stephen Talbot and his brother, David Talbot, the founder and original editor of

The SOUND TRACKS formula is simple: Great stories. Great storytellers. Great music. Featuring world famous musicians and singers, as well as newly discovered talent. Photographed on location in some of the world’s most captivating places. All packaged as a visually stunning, multi-layered show.

SOUND TRACKS is for the young at heart, a cultural, musical and visual odyssey around the world. We’re packed and ready to go. Let us take you there.


Marco Werman, Host and Reporter
Marco Werman is Senior Producer with PRI’s The World, covering music for that public radio program, as well as being a frequent anchor of the show. He started in journalism at the age of 16 as a copy-boy at the News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. His journalism experience has run the gamut from documentary photography to print, radio and television, including being the on air correspondent for music and cultural stories for the PBS series FRONTLINE/World.

A former Peace Corps volunteer, Werman got his start in radio while freelancing in Burkina Faso, West Africa, for the BBC World Service, where he later worked as a producer. In 1990, he started up a new public radio station in the Adirondacks in New York State, and hosted a daily two hour news and public affairs show. Later, he was the correspondent for Monitor Radio in Rome.

In 1995, he was asked to help create the format for The World where he has worked ever since. In 1997, he began providing the daily punctuation mark for the WGBH/BBC radio show with the “Global Hit” segment, a story featuring musicians and musical trends around the globe. A recognized expert on world music, Werman has interviewed and done stories about hundreds of artists and performers, such as Angelique Kidjo, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N’dour, Andy Palacio and the pop band, Vampire Weekend.

In 2002, FRONTLINE/World series editor Stephen Talbot recruited Marco to do music stories for the new TV series, and they have collaborated ever since, including on an Emmy Award-winning online video about a solar eclipse in Libya, which allowed reporters and astronomers into the former pariah country.

In 2008, Werman and Talbot began developing SOUND TRACKS.

Alexis Bloom, Reporter
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Alexis Bloom graduated from Cambridge University in England and the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her graduate school thesis film, “Switch on Bhutan,” about the arrival of cable television in that isolated Buddhist kingdom, was adapted into a story for the very first episode of the PBS series FRONTLINE/World in 2002.

Alexis went on to become one of the most featured correspondents on FRONTLINE/World, producing and reporting stories in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. Her FRONTLINE/World investigative report, “Shadows and Lies,” was shot undercover in Zimbabwe in 2006.

Early on in her career, Alexis worked on a number of FRONTLINE documentaries – as a researcher on the Emmy Award-winning “Drug Wars” series and as an associate producer on “Modern Meat,” an investigation of the meat industry.

She has also worked for National Geographic in Papua New Guinea, Mongolia and Guyana, and the Middle East. Alexis was co-producer of the Emmy Award-winning NOVA “Rx for Survival” (2005) and is currently directing and producing a two hour film as part of the “Human Nature,” series on PBS NOVA, slated for broadcast in 2010.

Arun Rath, Reporter
Arun Rath is an award-winning veteran of public radio and television whose beat has ranged from the media industry to the Iraq war to live music.

Arun started his career in radio at NPR. He was the director of NPR’s daily news show Talk of the Nation before moving to New York in 2000 to take over as senior producer of NPR’s On the Media. He oversaw the re-launch of the show with new hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, and during his tenure the program tripled its audience and won a number of awards, including a Peabody for its 2004 election coverage.

In 2005, Rath spent a year as the senior editor of PRI’s culture and arts program Studio 360, before being lured to television by PBS’s FRONTLINE. Arun has reported and produced three films for FRONTLINE, the latest being an investigation of alleged war crimes committed by U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq. He has just finished a re-cut of a film about the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy for the science program NOVA that aired in October 2008.

In addition to his behind-the-scenes work as a producer, Arun has also appeared on camera as a reporter for FRONTLINE/World, and as an on air reporter and host for various public radio programs, including On the Media and WNYC’s live music show, Soundcheck.

Mirissa Neff, Reporter
Mirissa Neff is the art director of San Francisco’s largest alternative newsweekly, a photographer, a freelance journalist covering world music, and a professional DJ. She also has old ties to PBS – her mother was a long-time marketing executive for Sesame Street and she appeared on the program as a child.

Born and raised in New York, Mirissa graduated from Amherst College, where she was an on air disc jockey on the campus radio station.

In San Francisco, Mirissa has worked in the publicity department of Six Degrees Records, promoting artists like Bebel Gilberto and Cheb i Sabbah. As a journalist she has interviewed a range of world music luminaries. Since 2006, she’s been the art director of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, which boasts a circulation of over 300,000. And as a freelance designer, Mirissa produces websites, ad campaigns, posters and CD covers.

Journalist and art director by day, Mirissa performs at night as DJ Felina, whose unique sound centers around what she has coined “equatorial beats” – hip-shaking music that runs the gamut from Brazilian batucadas to gypsy electronica. She has played many San Francisco venues, including the legendary Fillmore, the Independent and the Great American Music Hall, as well as clubs in New York, Paris and Rio. San Francisco’s 7x7 magazine named her the city’s best “mood setter.”

Stephen Talbot, Executive Producer
Stephen Talbot has written and produced over 30 documentaries for public television, including ten for the PBS series, FRONTLINE. Along the way, he has won nearly every major award in the field: Emmys, Peabodys, a DuPont, a George Polk, an Overseas Press Club of America Edward R. Murrow award, even an Edgar Allan Poe award from the Mystery Writers of America.

His two most recent documentaries include a 90-min. episode of the FRONTLINE “News War” series in 2007, “What’s Happening to the News” with reporter Lowell Bergman, and the two-hour PBS history special, “The Sixties: The Years that Shaped a Generation” (2005), which he co-produced with David Davis and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Talbot won two Emmys in 2007 for being the senior producer of the FRONTLINE/World documentary, “Saddam's Road to Hell,” and the online video, “Libya: Out of the Shadow” with reporter Marco Werman.

As the Series Editor for FRONTLINE/World from 2002-2008, Talbot commissioned and supervised nearly 100 broadcast stories. He also oversaw the FRONTLINE/World Web site editorially and helped pioneer development of online video -- from investigative reports to world music stories. In 2008 the Web site won two Webbys, including best online documentary series.

Some of Talbot’s FRONTLINE documentaries include: “Justice for Sale” with Bill Moyers, “Spying on Saddam,” “The Long March of Newt Gingrich,” “Rush Limbaugh’s America,” and “The Best Campaign Money Can Buy.” In 2004, he was the correspondent for the FRONTLINE program, “Diet Wars.”

Talbot began his public television career as a staff reporter and producer at KQED in San Francisco in the 1980s where he did local investigative reporting and critically acclaimed PBS biographies of writers: Dashiell Hammett, Beryl Markham, Maxine Hong Kingston, Carlos Fuentes and Ken Kesey. At KQED, he also produced dozens of reports for MacNeil/Lehrer.

Talbot is now president of The Talbot Players, a San Francisco-based media company he formed with his brother David Talbot, the founding editor of Their current projects include three book deals with Simon & Schuster, a movie in development with Lionsgate, and SOUND TRACKS.

Adrienne Calo, Coordinating Producer
Adrienne has been a producer of PBS films, specials and series for the last 12 years. After a stint writing about homicide investigations for Court TV, she became a producer on the award winning KQED arts series, Spark. In her four seasons working on the show, she produced pieces on Wayne Thiebaud, the San Francisco Ballet, and Maya Lin, among many others. Her work on the series earned her three Northern California Emmy nominations. After Spark, Adrienne went on to work with non-profit media company The Working Group as a producer on their PBS film “Not In Our Town; Light In the Darkness”, a portrait of a Long Island community in the aftermath of a hate crime. Adrienne has also worked with Austin City Limits' presentation of The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, ABC's Nightline, and the PBS series Life 360. Adrienne graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Fine Art.

Emily Taguchi, Producer
Emily developed an early taste for music from around the world, dancing to all sorts of music at international schools in Tokyo. She graduated from Tufts University in international relations and worked in advertising before turning to journalism. After earning a Master’s degree at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, she produced segments for KQED public television in San Francisco on its arts and culture program, Spark. Her work as a producer and camerawoman has also appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, PBS’s FRONTLINE/World, the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, among other outlets.

When she's not busy coordinating all aspects of the SOUND TRACKS pilot and series, Emily is primarily a dancer, but she will also happily indulge in late nights of karaoke when in Tokyo.

Bob Calo, Senior Producer
Bob Calo’s thirty-year career in television producing and storytelling began at KQED in San Francisco, where (along with SOUND TRACKS Executive Producer Steve Talbot) he produced news and documentaries over a ten-year period. He spent the next decade in New York, producing first for ABC News Primetime Live, and then for NBC News, as a Broadcast Producer for the newsmagazine Dateline. During that time, he produced stories and breaking news throughout the US and a dozen foreign countries, including assignments in Pakistan, Croatia, Chile, Kenya and Somalia. His work has been honored with Emmy, IRE, and National Headliner Awards, among others. In 2000, he joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley. In 2008, while on leave, he served as National Coordinator of News21, a collaborative experiment of 12 graduate schools of journalism, seeking to produce innovative web-based reporting.

He’s had a parallel career as a jazz guitarist, and can be heard performing around the Bay Area.

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