Daren Wang launched Verb Productions in 1996 to produce programming for public radio. Over the following decade, Verb would syndicate two series nationally for public radio, with our programs heard on hundreds of stations throughout the country.
In 2005, Verb Productions shifted focus and became the production company for the Decatur Book Festival.
In 2005, Verb Productions shifted focus and became the production company for the inaugural Decatur Book Festival. Daren served as the Founding Executive Director, overseeing all aspects of the event until he stepped down in 2017. Under Daren’s guidance, the DBF grew into the largest independent book festival in the country, drawing as many as 90,000 annually to the small Georgia town east of Atlanta. At its height, the DBF was considered one of the most important cultural events in the Southeast.
In the early 2000’s, Daren produced a public radio series called The Spoken Word which was distributed nationally. The series documented author talks from throughout the country and aired for over five years. This one features Ann Beatty, David Kirby, and Barbara Hamby.
In the late 90’s, Daren produced Porches: The South and Her Writers, a 13-part series for public radio featuring some of the more important literary voices in the south. He researched, interviewed, wrote, and engineered these programs. They were financed by Amazon.com, a contract negotiated while the company was preparing for their IPO.
The project was formative. Daren spent nearly two years driving through the south, interviewing over 40 authors and scholars, several of which became lifelong friends. Of all the interviews, the one that remains most cherished was his talk with southern icon James Dickey. Recorded in November 1996, it was his last recorded interview before his death early the next year.
Before launching Verb Productions, one of Daren’s first audio projects was a one-shot holiday special for National Public Radio. In 1992, he produced, Circle of Friends, based on Remar Sutton’s book “Common Ground”. It was hosted by Oscar-winner Cliff Robertson, and featured George Plimpton, Kurt Vonnegut, and many others. The only known recording of Southern chef extraordinaire Princess Pamela is here too. Here’s the entire program: