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Jury Selection

Karen "Kitty" Kalriess, Board Member and Show Host, Makerparkradio

Karen Kalriess (aka “Kitty” the Disc Jockey) is a vinyl DJ, playlist curator, and musician from New York City. Kitty’s love of travel and culture led her to a journey through international music which she shares through a variety of media. Kitty has been an audio engineer and designer, a foley artist, a vocal coach, musician, and voiceover artist. These skills have brought her to her current role as host of several streaming radio shows including The She Pop Show, which garnered an Award of Distinction in 2022 for best audio production by The Communicator Awards. She collects original ska and soul 45s (and spins live), writes record reviews for several vinyl blogs, and serves on the Community Advisory Board of WFUV, a noncommercial, member-supported public media service from Fordham University. Above all, Kitty is proud to be an original and continuing member of the board of Makerparkradio.NYC. Founded in 2017, Makerparkradio is a Non-Profit Community Streaming Radio Station broadcasting from the Makerspace building in the Stapleton neighborhood of Staten Island in New York City.

We asked Kitty to weigh in on what she finds interesting in culture- including a few picks from the 90s to celebrate 30 years at The Communicator Awards. See her thoughts on George Foreman being robbed of his Doritos, current podcasts, and music from The Cardigans.

Kitty's Picks


Bee Gees: Children of the World by Bob Stanley
Bob Stanley is undoubtedly the world’s expert on pop music. He proves that here, in this juicy, wonderful book. Often an unbearably painful story, you will be absorbed by not only the charm of the nostalgia, but the sheer gumption of the Brothers Gibb. Their tale is as amazing and star-studded as expected; simultaneously, there are shocking brushes with death and equally terrifying professional failures. For anyone who loves- or hates- disco.

All I Ever Wanted: A Rock and Roll Memoir by Kathy Valentine
The bass player of the most successful all-female band of all time takes us on a rollercoaster ride through fame, money, and heartbreak. A mere youth when she joined the band, Kathy brings us through the joy of finding your squad- that teenage rock star dream. The fact that the Go-go’s skyrocketed so quickly makes those fun times even more thrilling to read about. The worst of the worst is described in frank detail and offers a look into the real life of one of our 80s sweethearts.

Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval
If you love his movies and don’t really feel like reading, get this book. What a remarkable exercise: a website and now a book created by people who take pictures of real places that seem like they come from a Wes Anderson-directed film. Unique, symmetrical, and often pink and yellow, these regimented images are still creative in their own way. Look around and you’ll find a little bit of Wes all around you. 

The Paris Review
It’s a literary magazine; but it’s a book. The Paris Review has delivered poetry, art, and artist biographies for decades and it’s about time you had it delivered to you. It’s the one item that arrives at my home that makes me feel like an actual adult. I’ll laugh, cry, and then talk about its contents for hours and then pass them on to friends.


Addicted to the Needle – The Podcast Where a Vinyl Addict Meets His Dealer
Patrick Foisy (the addict) and Ben Shulman (the dealer) bring us through the twisty-turny world of vinyl collecting. They are funny, knowledgeable, and well-versed in the pain of just missing that rare gem.

Radio Alhara
Radio Alhara is a Bethlehem-based radio station on a community-building mission; amassing a following with its offbeat mix of Moroccan pop, Afro-funk, Bahraini wedding songs, Lebanese disco, talk shows, news, and debates. Alhara (meaning ‘neighborhood’ in Arabic) continues to empower its residents with the freedom to communicate. The station’s founders believe that “radio is a public space that belongs to everyone – there is absolutely no filtering of any kind of content, people are free to play whatever they want.” The station site also serves as a link to many vital culturally related projects, such as “Preserving A Palestinian Cassette Tape Collection.”

Music of the 90s
In celebration of season 30 of the Communicator awards, I offer up these gems for your listening pleasure.

The Cardigans, Gran Turismo (1998) Straight outta Jönköping, Sweden, The Cardigans bring the happy/sad. Singer Nina Persson’s voice communicates; you can hear her work, making her point, all while maintaining pop perfection.

Peter Gabriel, US (1992) Smooth, clean, and sometimes ballsy- this is a time where Gabriel tones it down so we can hear his musings on relationships, his ego, his cries for help. It’s chock full of emotion, but at the same time a beautiful listen. His duet with Sinéad O’Connor, Blood of Eden, is wonderful.

Beck, Odelay (1996) Being irreverent and catchy is not the opposite of innovative. Beck set the bar high while ‘rockin’ the plastic like a man from the Catskills’. This is a mixture of Hip-Hop, Country, Hard Rock, Experimental and at points Noise come together, to make some of the most unique pop tracks I’ve heard.

Ad Campaigns/Publicity of the 90s

Got Milk?
An avid antiques collector and Alexander Hamilton buff has a chance to win big when the local radio station coincidentally calls with a trivia question about his hero. Who shot Alexander Hamilton? “Awoooognh Buuuhh”, the history geek replies. Sadly, he has just eaten a sticky, dry peanut butter sandwich; and to drive the knife in deeper, he is out of milk, and out of time. Sorry, on to the next contestant. The message: not only is milk full of calcium for strong bones, but you might also lose out on some cold hard cash if you don’t keep some on hand. The first Got Milk? ad launched in ’93, with hundreds of variations on the theme created for tv and print. All the A-list celebrities were featured in the print ads. Alex Trebek, Kermit the Frog, Harrison Ford, and Kristi Yamaguchi all posed with their milk mustaches for the ad campaign of the century.

Dogs Love Trucks
Because dogs. And dogs love trucks. And because veteran actor Dale Yashimoto is as lovable a
spokesman as the enthusiastic truck-loving pups. You may not run out and get yourself a Nissan, but you might end up adopting a new best friend.

George Foreman is “robbed” of his Doritos
Besides “Whasssuppp!” Foreman’s “I was robbed!” became a big part of 90s watercooler slang.
The TV spots, featuring boxer George Foreman, his kids (all named George), and his smile is endearing and funny. The repeated yoink of the Doritos bag is right on point for the Simpsons generation.

Mentos commercials are so weird. Obviously produced in lands afar, these spots feature over-
enthusiastic young people in Benneton tops solving problems with candy. The Mentos song is more infectious than that dreaded Kars for Kids tune and thankfully much shorter. Despite the absurdity, the ads still manage to charm. Follow the rabbit hole down the web to the history behind these spots- fascinating!

Blair Witch Project
It’s a horror film- it’s an ad campaign- it’s both!
The makers of this film teased the public into believing the worst- that actual video tape recordings of missing (and possibly dead) researchers had been discovered in the woods and the tapes reveal the terrifying truth of their disappearance- pure marketing genius! Before our meta-data was regularly farmed and used to sell us stuff, someone woke up to the very 90s belief that ‘if it’s on a website, it must be true’. A full-on call to action drove people to the low budget, DIY style site, and drew in many to the apparently real and very creepy story of the missing students. Since the original film, there have been other found-footage type stories in the theatres; but the interactive aspect of the Blair Witch marketing package has yet to be recreated.


When you enter your work at the Communicator Awards, it lands in front of accomplished professionals like Kitty. Time is running out. Submit your projects before the Extended Entry Deadline This Friday, March 15th.

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