Some years ago, Andy introduced me to her friend Jamila Larson, a social worker in Washington, D.C. Jamila has seen the worst that a big city can do to people without resources or family to get them through hard times. Most of her stories are heartbreaking, but one was so amazing and uplifting that I knew I had to get it on the radio. Jamila said there was a homeless teenager who lived on the streets of Washington and slept in Union Station, a short walk from the U.S. Capitol building, an iconic symbol of our nation’s greatness. The kicker was that the kid was headed for Columbia University even though he hadn’t been in a classroom since he was twelve years old. That’s more than an interview; that’s the seed of our next documentary.
Early in 2007, I asked Andy to have Jamila give us all the particulars and we’d get started on production, but Andy had other plans. She was moving to Pittsburgh and couldn’t produce a documentary from there. She refashioned her job and would now research, book, and prepare my interviews, but, lacking access to the editing programs in the XM computers, she could not do postinterview production.
To make matters worse, we already had a producer opening. One of the applicants for the spot was Ariana Pekary, whose sample production CD included an interview with a homeless man in Washington, D.C. Hmmm. I was very subtle when she arrived in the office. She said, “Hi. I’m Ariana.” I said, “Hi. I’m Bob, and I’d like you to produce a doc-