This Can Go On Forever

Carol Broebeck received this picture of her son from her social worker just after his adoption was completed. It was the last she saw of him until twenty years later when he turned up at her job — by surprise. (Photo courtesy Carol Broebeck via radio producer Shea Shackelford.)


“Where do ideas for radio stories come from?” In the case of the award-winning documentary “This Can Go On Forever,” it came from a chance encounter at a regional listening group.

Producers Shea Shackelford and Virginia Millington met a the “DC Listening Lounge” in Washington, DC. They hit it off, started chatting about story ideas, and “poof” — a Third Coast award winner.

Of course, it wasn’t quite that simple. A considerable amount of time and effort and hand-wringing went into the production of this piece. But, the spark occurred at one of a growing number of listening “collectives” incubating audio creativity. The Association of Independents in Radio created a map locating several groups.

Before producing “This Can Go On Forever”, Virginia had never produced any radio at all. (She’s now an archivist at StoryCorps.) Shea is a graduate of the radio program at Salt. He is co-producer of the The Big Shed Podcast and NPR’s Place and Memory Project. I’m happy to present their stellar collaboration on this edition of the Saltcast.

Best, Rob

PS – Transom recently published a feature about several Salt radio graduates like Shea. Their “post-Salt” stories are inspiring. Pop on over to the article for a good read!

  1. 4 Responses to “This Can Go On Forever”

  2. By D. Brent Miller on Jan 10, 2011

    That is a great story. Very moving. AND, very well put together.


  3. By Rob Rosenthal on Jan 12, 2011

    Thanks Brent. I forwarded your comments to the producers. Best,

  4. By will rogers on Feb 25, 2011

    both this piece and the Haiti piece brought me to tears today – “Were you born December 26 1980? Yup.”

    It seems like an insignificant line when I type it here, but the context around it had opened me up so that it sent me over the edge, in the best way possible.

  5. By will on Apr 10, 2012

    I had a chance to write a little more about my thoughts on this piece at the Stanford Storytelling Project’s blog, here:

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