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The Bridge

Author: John St. Augustine

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Welcome to THE BRIDGE, the radio show that closes the gap between people of the world, one episode at a time. This historic program connects East and West, and has as its goal, the building of cultural ties between the United States and China. The Bridge goes beyond the headlines to the lifelines, with conversation that informs, entertains and inspires listeners to a greater awareness of the common connections shared between our two cultures.
187 Episodes
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He's steeped in pop culture, is a mental health expert and as a long-time listener of the show, is a fan who has become our new weekend host. The Bridge continues to grow, and we welcome Liu Yan to the show to discuss his background, interests and experiences.
Thousands of delegates from across the country are in Beijing, for the annual meeting of parliament, where China will announce goals for 2021 as well as its next five-year plan for economic development. Heyang also shares the recent announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping-of the accomplishment of poverty alleviation, that has lifted all rural poor people, under the current standard, out of extreme poverty, with 832 counties, 128,000 villages, and nearly 100 million poor people lifted from the level of abject poverty. John adds his thoughts as to the different factors that contribute to poverty in the USA, and Heyang counters with her insights into how poverty is measured, especially in rural China. It's a heartfelt discussion about how much the human family is in need of understanding and encouragement.
Heyang opens the show with the concept of the "996" (9 a.m.-9 p.m. 6 days a week) work schedule, that is the norm in China tech business. John counters with how over time, the average work hours in the USA have dropped from 75 hours a week in the 19th century, to an average of 35 hours per week, and how changes in industry and technology have become a slippery slope. Both of them wonder if all the extra screen time in the tech world is upping productivity. The conversation turns to work ethic, the importance of leadership and how essential it is to make sure employees are well taken care of, no matter what business they might be employed in.
In the ongoing attempt to get out of the headlines, and into the life lines, BeiBei and John discuss some "good news" to offset the erosion of "bad news." Researchers in Israel have tested a promising nasal spray to battle Covid, vaccines are on the increase, the effects of the virus are on the decrease, but they also have a word of caution, that perhaps this coming summer will really be the test of how far we've come when it comes to Cyrus The Virus. BeiBei shares some stories of people selected as "movers" in China, that have made a serious, positive difference in such difficult times. Finally, John and BeiBei discuss the challenge of dealing with sensationalizing by the media and how so much of what we are shown, is out of fear, with little recourse for the viewers.
Tuesday with Cimcie

Tuesday with Cimcie

2021-03-0255:00

It's a wide-ranging conversation as Super Producer Cimcie returns to her weekly slot, and the show starts out with Cimcie's intro music (Daft Punk) which leads to John's first concert memory-(Bachman Turner-Overdrive) and the effect that music has on our memories.  Cimcie explains the origins of the name of her favorite band-Nine Inch Nails-and the conversation turns to the name game-how each of our hosts got their names, and the nicknames that followed. Finally, a short convo on celebrities who changed their real name in favor of something more audience friendly.
Delaney Brooklyn is a singer, songwriter and musician from Toronto, ON who plays the guitar, piano, ukulele, trumpet, and bass. She has performed, placed in and won Canada-wide competitions and loves singing for audiences. Delaney has been performing in front of people since she was 3, and hasn’t gotten off the stage since. She has played at the Hard Rock Cafe Toronto, the Western Fair, Stratford Blues & Ribfest, and many more well-known venues. John met Delaney when he was speaking at the TEDX Chatham-Kent event in 2017, and she provided the musical entertainment for the world to hear. One of the new up-and-coming singer/songwriters with an incredible voice and journey, Delaney shares her music and thoughts on The Bridge.
Live streaming e-commerce has become a 1 trillion-dollar business in China, and BeiBei shares some her insights into how a few entrepreneurs have used their electronic platforms to become mega-rich celebrities. Approximately 12 products are presented each hour: 48 per night, and items can sell out in seconds.  Manufacturers pitch the influencers and only an estimated 1 in 10 products is selected. John compares it to The Home Shopping Network in the USA, and the conversation runs across the bridge, back and forth about buying habits of humans, and what the future might hold...perhaps a return to brick-and-mortar stores? John also talks about the Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma."
Ocean Annie Returns

Ocean Annie Returns

2021-02-2755:00

After great conversation and listener feedback, Annie Crawley is back for another episode of The Bridge. BeiBei is very interested in how plastic in the ocean has become a serious problem, and how climate change affects the life support systems of the underwater world. John reminds that while plastic is the effect, the cause is a lack of human awareness and stewardship. Annie shares her experiences from single-handedly producing, shooting, and editing a series of programs taken on the SEAPLEX expedition with Project Kaisei in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Finally, Annie shares a couple of her amazing moments with turtles, and her hope that the next generation will be far more responsible than previous ones, when it comes to protecting the oceans of the world.
This episode of The Bridge starts out with some street level comparisons of Chicago and Beijing, as it pertains to the economic and industrial growth of these two great cities. Eventually the conversation turns to the lowered birth rate in both countries, as predictions were made that indicated higher rates, as a byproduct of the pandemic. John points out some of the factors that went into the USA "Baby Boom" years from 1946-1964, and how those factors are not present today, which might explain the lower rate. Heyang admits she's a bit hesitant to become a mother, as the changes and choices are so demanding, and that other safeguards and support systems need to be in place for young families.
When the first ten minutes of the show is about stationary in all its various forms and designs, you know it's going to be an interesting episode. From there the conversation goes to the things of life that makes us happy. John shares his most recent purchase for his studio collection, a full-size replica mask from the horror classic "Creature from the Black Lagoon." Heyang shares about the Chinese version of horror stories, which is a bit different than the "monsters" in America. Then it's a shifting of gears that creates a conversation around religious beliefs. John shares about one of his most influential people that he recalls as a major force in his life as a young man. Finally, a much more serious tone takes over as John & Heyang talk about the pros and cons of making a career (and other major changes) during the pandemic.
It was supposed to be a serious show about debt, but it quickly turns into a discussion on how the media influences our choices. John shares his thoughts about a recent ad at the Super Bowl, that featured Bruce Springsteen, in an attempt to "reunite" America, while driving his Jeep, but the 2-minute spot, backfired big time on many levels. Then they discuss the business side of radio, the pros and cons of teeth whitening and more adventures (not dentures) that can easily be tracked in one show.
Tuesday with Cimcie

Tuesday with Cimcie

2021-02-2355:00

It's party time! BeiBei has been waiting months to ask Cimcie and John about the American tradition of "partying." Cimce shares her thoughts-that are more in the direction of dancing the night away, John is an old school guy, worked as a bouncer for a few years, and did his share of time at the door of a saloon, as well as sipping a few beverages in his time. Matter of fact, John and Pope Francis have something in common, both BeiBei and Cimcie are surprised at what it is.
Don Wilson and Bob Bogle first met in 1958, when Bogle was looking to buy a car from a used car dealership in Seattle owned by Wilson's father. Finding a common interest in guitars, the two decided to play together, while Wilson joined Bogle performing masonry work. They bought two used guitars in a pawn shop for about $10 each. Their goal was to make extra money by playing at weddings, but instead they became the foundation of The Ventures and would go on to sell over 100 million records and become the best-selling instrumental band of all time. Don Wilson's son, Tim, joins John & Heyang to talk about their incredible rise to international success and the new documentary on the band called "Stars on Guitars." I get the chance to drop the needle on some of the biggest hits of The Ventures, including "Walk Don't Run" and "Hawaii 5-0." Their recording of "Walk, Don't Run" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its lasting impact, and in 2008 the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
BeBei starts the show with a cryptic question for John, asking if he's ready to meet a new woman, and after a little back and forth BeiBei introduces Li Ziqi, a Chinese vlogger, entrepreneur, and internet celebrity. She is known for creating food and handicrafts, preparation videos in her hometown in rural Sichuan, China, often from basic ingredients and tools using traditional Chinese techniques. She was orphaned at a very young age and in an interview with Goldthread, Li stated that she moved in with her grandparents after her stepmother mistreated her. Her YouTube channel has more than 2 billion views  and 14.1 million subscribers, as verified on 25 January 2021, which is a Guinness World Record for "the most subscribers for a Chinese language channel on YouTube." BeiBei and John discuss the positive impact of Li Ziqi, as millions of city dwellers are inspired by her life.
Annie Crawley is an internationally known, award-winning producer, underwater photographer, author, and motivational speaker. "Ocean Annie" joins John and BeiBei to discuss her commitment to educating people all over the world, so they become more connected to the blue planet we call home. Incredibly, John and Annie went to the same high school in Chicago and BeiBei shares her fears about the underwater world that came from a snorkeling experience. The conversation covers the decimation of sharks for their fins, the obscenity of plastic in the ocean and how human activity has put a major strain on the life support systems of Earth.
BeiBei insisted that Gregg Fraley make an immediate return visit to The Bridge, as she ran out of time in the previous episode. The conversation continues, as the three take a much closer look at how creative problem solving can be a major force for change in the world. They apply various remedies to everything from student loans to the major gap in careers related to structural engineering to the latest news that the USA is now ranked 11th in the world for innovation. John interjects his thoughts on how to create a crossover of creativity when it comes to making the shift from fossil fuels to more sustainable options.
John and BeiBei welcome best-selling author and internationally known creative consultant Gregg Fraley to the show. John met Gregg when they both spoke at TEDxNASA in 2009, and have stayed in touch over the years. BeiBei is ready with a slew of questions for Gregg, digging deep for what sparks creativity, how can it be applied and how anyone from the regular person on the street to a major corporation, can benefit from creativity, which is usually that last resort when it comes to problem solving, instead of the first option.
The pandemic has forced some serious changes on the worldwide human population. In this episode BeiBei and John begin by discussing how some businesses and individuals have learned new survival skills as a result of Cyrus The Virus. The conversation then goes to what steps might be taken by anyone who is looking to make a change in their life career-wise, and how each generation has its own challenges, that are often opportunities disguised as liabilities.
Cimce Tuesday

Cimce Tuesday

2021-02-1655:00

Super Producer Cimcie makes her weekly appearance on The Bridge. It's a wide-ranging conversation that starts out with some of the foods enjoyed during the Chinese New Year, to John's admission of his difficulty in dealing with the loss of more friends in the past year, than in any other year of his life, and BeiBei offers some insight into making micro-adjustments in order to stay centered. John also shares his experience attending a "virtual" memorial mass for a friend. The conversation turns to those things that might have gone "undone" and Cimcie makes the point that she's had a hard time shifting gears, like so many others. Finally, the conversation rolls back to food, and BeiBei admits that she's a "butter hoarder" and John shares a bit about a book he's been working on for 5 years.
As a kick-off to the Spring Celebration in China, Heyang offers a powerful piece entitled "Prelude to Spring" performed by the Beijing Symphony Orchestra as well as music from George Benson and Whitney Houston. John offers up songs from Frank Sinatra, from George Benson (a double play)  and the full-length version of "American Pie" by Don McLean. Finally, Heyang closes the show with a "feel good" song-that celebrates the Chinese New Year.
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