SLB Radio Productions, Inc.

Pittsburgh, PA   |


SLB Radio Productions, Inc. (SLB) uses radio and audio to amplify voices of youth -- and members of other communities whose stories are often marginalized -- to educate, empower, and build community. Our work is based on the principle that all people have the capacity to develop authentic voices and know that their voices matter -- that *they* matter -- and that their voices can be used for self-expression, inquiry, and change.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Lawrence Michael Berger

Main address

PO Box 100092

Pittsburgh, PA 15233 USA

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NTEE code info

Radio (A34)

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

SLB Radio Productions, Inc. (SLB) uses radio and audio to amplify voices of youth—and members of other communities whose stories are often marginalized—to educate, empower, and build community. Our work is based on the principle that all people have the capacity and right to develop their authentic voice and know that their voice matters—that *they* matter—and that their voice can be used for self-expression, inquiry, and change. SLB incorporates these methods into real world learning opportunities that keep students deeply engaged as they sharpen academic skills (e.g. speaking, active listening, reading, writing); workforce readiness skills (interviewing, working in teams, meeting deadlines, following a process, sifting through data); technical skills (digital storytelling, editing); and life skills (creative expression, critical thinking, confidence, cooperation, respect for others, curiosity).

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Oral History Projects

SLB has published more than 350 oral histories to date, documenting and celebrating the lives of interviewees and reinforcing community. The “Crossing Fences” series equips African American boys with skills needed to gather stories from African American men in their neighborhoods. Since 2012, over 200 boys and young men have collected 180 stories. The “From There to Here” series is a project-based learning activity that is part of a social studies unit in which students interview immigrants and refugees who now live in Pittsburgh. Since 2010, more than 230 students have interviewed 80 Pittsburghers. In the "Girl Talk" series, African American teen girls interview successful African American professional women from their neighborhoods; it is part oral history, and part mentoring. By the end of July 2019, 30 interviews will have been conducted.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Research shows that radio is an outstanding method for developing and deepening authentic self-expression by children and youth. Since 2005, SLB has provided after-school and classroom workshops throughout Pittsburgh and beyond, with a focus on under-resourced communities. While students are always welcomed to the studios, SLB staff frequently work on location to eliminate travel barriers. Roughly 70 projects in 50 schools and community centers are conducted annually.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Youth Media Advocacy Program (YMAP) -- Conducted in collaboration with Carlow University to encourage problem-solving within the context of civic engagement, YMAP strengthens skills in self-advocacy and creation of persuasive media to affect change. Students network with community leaders and professionals, research problems, create persuasive arguments, and advocate for -- and create -- positive change in their schools and communities. It serves four to six regional schools per year and engages more than 200 students annually.

Youth Express -- Through this program, young people learn to use the same journalistic tools, skills, practices, and technologies employed by professional media outlets. This real-world experience enables them to participate thoughtfully while reporting on current events and issues of interest to them. The program engages teens from more than 20 school districts as they cover Pittsburgh area stories from their unique perspective.

Youth Radio Documentaries -- SLB works with 40+ students/year as they create insightful and focused documentaries. We use rigorous production methods; our goals are to sharpen research, teamwork, empathy, media literacy and deadline compliance that support academic achievement and workforce readiness. About 15 documentaries per year are created—several, including “Black Girls Matter,” have been recognized nationally.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Saturday Light Brigade is a national award-winning weekly radio program, launched in 1978, whose growth led to the incorporation of SLB Radio Productions, Inc. in 2000. Originating from the SLB studios at CMP, the show reaches thousands of households during the six-hour program each week. It is one of the longest-running public radio programs in the country, and is broadcast through seven affiliates that cover 15 Pennsylvania counties and portions of Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, and South Carolina. By design, the program’s puzzles, eclectic music, and wide-ranging guests captivate a broad, multigenerational audience. More than 450 youth, 100 nonprofits, and 50 adult performers appear annually.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Nominee, Audio Luminary Awards, Documentary, Radio Impact 2009

The Third Coast International Audio Festival/Chicago Public Radio

Excellence in Broadcasting Award 2002

Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters

Nominee, George Foster Peabody Award 2002

The George Foster Peabody Awards

Achievements in Radio (A.I.R.) Awards Finalist 2002

March of Dimes Foundation

Editor's Choice for Best Talk Radio in 2000

In Pittsburgh Weekly's Best of Pittsburgh

Golden Reel for Best Local U.S. Public Radio Program 1997

National Federation of Community Broadcasters

Excellence in Broadcasting Award 2010

Pennylvania Association of Broadcasters

Excellence in Broadcasting 2011

Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters

Global Innovation Collection among the 100 brightest innovations in K-12 education internationally 2020


Larry Berger named one of nine Fellows for “using their life experience to build a better future..." 2022

AARP Purpose Prize

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Core Programs

Capture and Production: School workshops (SLB provides after-school and classroom workshops either in studio or on location); Oral histories (in “Crossing Fences,” African American boys gather stories from men in their neighborhoods and in “From There to Here,” students interview immigrants and refugees who now live in Pittsburgh); Youth Media Advocacy Program (it strengthens skills in self-advocacy and creation of persuasive media); Youth Express (youth use tools and practices of professional media while reporting on events and issues of interest to them); Youth Radio Documentaries (students create insightful and focused works using rigorous production methods). SLB has been recognized internationally for its work in innovative educational programming.

Publishing: Live Radio (on air since 1978, The Saturday Light Brigade is the weekly public radio show that led to the launch of SLB in 2000); Youth Express (from poetry to talk shows, hip hop to string quartets, it delivers authentic youth voices); Archive (includes more than 10,000 assets for public download and streaming); Podcasts (published weekly).

Studio Expansion

Since its 2004 co-location in a non-ticketed area of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (CMP), SLB has operated from a 348 sq. ft. broadcast studio suite. When it opened, it was an all-volunteer operation with a budget of about $30,000 and hands-on service to about 100 youth annually. Fifteen years later, it employs a staff of 10, has a budget of nearly $800,000, and provides direct services to 5,000 youth each year from elementary through high school across more than 50 schools and community centers.

Because it has not expanded its studio since its launch, it often uses conference rooms, offsite classrooms, and other less-appropriate spaces to manage the demand. The Youth Media Center expansion is long overdue and will allow SLB to provide youth with a more engaging learning environment and better access to equipment and staff. In preparation for the current expansion, SLB has spent the past several years benchmarking peer facilities throughout the country and prototyping programs. In addition, the board has recently completed a strategic planning process.

While our radio and internet broadcasts are designed to reach a broad population, our direct services are focused on providing middle and high school students with an emphasis on youth who would not otherwise have access to the facilities and opportunities we provide.

We currently serve about 8,000 such youth each year at our own studios on the Northside as well as multiple Pittsburgh Public Schools (including Langley, Faison, Brashear, Perry, Schiller, Sterrett, Allegheny, Westinghouse, Greenfield, King, Lincoln, Manchester, Miller, Milliones, Sunnyside and Woolslair) and other districts (including Woodland Hills, Clairton, Wilkinsburg). In addition to our work with these schools, SLB has developed and led youth media projects in eighteen city neighborhoods, including Homewood, Northview Heights, Hilltop, Sheraden, the Hill District, and the West End.

In 2018, we published three new volumes in our Crossing Fences oral history project, a program where African American boys collect oral histories of African American men in their neighborhoods. The 2018 editions showcase men in Hazelwood (in collaboration with Center of Life), Hill District (in collaboration with Carnegie Public Library, Hill District) and Homewood (in collaboration with Carnegie Public Library, Homewood) and brings the series to eighteen volumes in which over 200 boys and young men have interviewed over 200 adults. A spinoff series connecting African American girls and women is now being piloted in the Hill District.

Brashear Brings You the World gives voice to immigrant and refugee public school students and has featured 58 students from 21 countries to date, including Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Rwanda, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Syria, Iraq, Nepal, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and more. Eighteen languages and dialects have been represented. Their families have all settled in the South Side/South Hills neighborhoods of Pittsburgh; roughly 25% of the PPS Brashear student population falls into that demographic. Some of the stories have needed professional translation.

Schools and programs participating in SLB programs in 2019 included Pittsburgh Langley, Pittsburgh Propel, Pittsburgh Sterrett, Homeless Children Education Fund, Higher Achievement, and Manchester Academic Charter Schools—all of which serve under-resourced populations.

Founded in 2000, our staff of ten uses well-honed methods to acquire, edit, and publish authentic and compelling stories of children, youth and adults. In addition to work conducted in our state-of-the art studios co-located in the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, SLB maintains a range of field equipment to conduct high quality interviews at over fifty schools, community centers, neighborhood events, and other community spaces every year.

SLB has long been recognized for its innovative approach to delivering world-class programming. An international jury recently selected the SLB Youth Express program to represent the City of Pittsburgh at the forthcoming Fall 2019 hundrED Education Innovation Summit in Helsinki, Finland.

Other recent include the Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST) 2017 Partnership Award, Pittsburgh Service Summit 2017 Award for Child Advocacy, three 2015 Public Radio Exchange (PRX) Best Youth-Created Radio awards, Pittsburgh Technology Council 2013 People’s Choice Award, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh 2013 Partner of the Year Award. SLB also is consistently recognized by Great Nonprofits as a Top-Rated Nonprofit.

Other major accomplishments include:

1. “From There to Here,” an experiential learning program where students learn about immigration by interviewing people born in other countries. From 2011 to 2019, more than 270 students have created profiles of 90 immigrants.

2. “Crossing Fences,” a program connecting African American men and boys through storytelling. From 2013 to 2018, more than 200 boys and young men from Homewood, Hazelwood, the Hill District, and twelve other neighborhoods have published stories from over 180 men.

3. Youth Documentaries, an SLB curriculum where teens create short documentaries on issues that concern them. Since 2009, over 250 teens across five counties have created 105 documentaries, some of which have aired nationally on NPR.

4. Story Boxes, an SLB-created on-demand audio device for display at libraries, schools and community centers with more than 100 installations to date.

5. Youth Radio Benchmarking Tour, during which SLB visited 12 peer facilities across the country to assess practices, develop new relationships, and inform our strategic plan.

6. Professional development programs for teachers, including a tool kit and class in collaboration with Remake Learning, AIU, and WQED

7. Youth Express, the nation’s first radio service devoted exclusively to original writing, music and conversation by teens, including a 24/7 service and cross-platform app.

8. iQ Kids Radio, a 24/7 station created in partnership with WQED Multimedia for children from birth through age 8.

9. Afterschool Programming, including serving as core partner in 21st Century Community Learning Center programs in 10+ locations.

In addition to the above, the SLB Radio Network has grown to include of six noncommercial FM radio stations and five internet services that together serve 15 Pennsylvania counties as well as parts of Ohio, South Carolina, Arizona and Colorado with a radio program featuring over 400 youth writers, musicians and commentators annually.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Data/evaluation is project by project; global review would require a focused staff position.


SLB Radio Productions, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

SLB Radio Productions, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 11/28/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Lawrence Berger

SLB Radio Productions, Inc.

Term: 2017 - 2022

Rikki Berger

SLB Productions, Inc.

Ken Doyno

Rothschild Doyno Collaborative

Mark Kuczinski

The Pittsburgh Penguins

Larry Berger

SLB Radio Productions, Inc.

Carol McCague

Howe Street Advisors

Ryan Hizer

Smiths Agency

Bruce Mountjoy

Citizens Bank

Amber Farr

Allegheny County Department of Human Services

Matt Nelko

ABC News

Elizabeth Birungi McBride

The Persad Center, Inc.

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/20/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/20/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.