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Story Corps Mobile Recording Booth Arrives In Pittsburgh

Marcus Charleston
The Story Corps Mobile Recording Booth will be parked in front of the Senator John Heinz History Center through Nov. 11 as part of its cross country tour.

An aluminum Airstream trailer parked in front of the Senator John Heinz History Center on Thursday, where it will stay for the next month.

The trailer is the mobile recording booth used by the Story Corps radio project, which archives the conversations of everyday Americans. The conversations in which two people interview one another take place over the course of an hour.

Part of that time is devoted to interviewing tips and instructions from a facilitator who then lets the participants have their conversation.

Since its founding in 2003, Story Corps has recorded tales of humor, courage and heartbreak with over 100,000 people. The interviews can be heard on Fridays during WESA’s Morning Edition.

While the interviews have been criticized for being emotionally manipulative, Stacey Todd, Story Corps' Mobile Site Manager said, “I guarantee that every single story that we do has laughter and smiles in it.”

Working with Todd are Bilingual Mobile Facilitators Vera Carothers and Felix Lopez.

“I wanted to come to Pittsburgh for quite a while,” Carothers said. “I’m excited to see what makes the city tick."

What makes the Story Corps visit to Pittsburgh unique, from previous stops in Providence and Buffalo, has been the ease of their community outreach efforts.

“We’ve had an unprecedented number of organizations, doing good work in the community, who are wanting to partner with us,” Todd said.

The outreach efforts serve the dual purpose. They bring Story Corps to an audience unfamiliar with the project and, according to Carothers, “Get stories that represent the actual demographics and diversity of Pittsburgh.”