2008 ShortDocs Challenge: Radio Ephemera


For the 2008 ShortDocs Challenge we teamed up with the Prelinger Library, a veritable temple of printed ephemera based in San Francisco, CA.


With the help of Prelinger Library founders Rick and Megan Prelinger (who share some thoughts about ephemera in this interview), we chose five books from their mighty collection to inspire the Radio Ephemera challenge. The books were:

  • Trees As Good Citizens by Charles Lathrop Pack, 1922
  • The Facts of Life for Teenagers by Lois Pemberton, 1948
  • Trailer Ahoy! by Charles Edgard Nash, 1937
  • The Big Strike by Mike Quin, 1949
  • Control of Body and Mind by France Gulick Jewett, 1908


Each ShortDoc had to:

  • be inspired by TWO of the above books
  • include the voice of a stranger


72 stories were submitted. Four were chosen as the 2008 ShortDocs, and were presented, with producers on-hand, at the opening session of the 2008 Third Coast Conference.

Listen to the winners below, and hear all of the submissions in our audio library.


2008 ShortDocs Winner! The bittersweet fear of watching your child grow up.

Forest to Desert

2008 ShortDocs Winner! An audio doodle about this phrase: "Humankind is preceded by forest, and followed by desert." Forest versus city / tree versus car / then versus now.