What’s the Deal With Audio Storytelling?

Audio has always been an important element in communication. Being able to hear the news whether on TV or radio is usually an important part of people’s days. Nowadays, listening to the radio is viewed as old fashioned, yet radio broadcasts still happen to this day. As for the storytelling part, I was not aware how important that is until I listened to these viewpoints on what makes good audio stories: Ira Glass’ suggestions on storytelling parts 1 through 4, and Jad Abumrad’s Why “Gut Churn” Is an Essential Part of the Creative Process.

Glass talks about “building blocks” of audio stories – the anecdote or the sequence of events and moments of reflection. I could see how Glass’ example of a “boring” story drew me in by the dry delivery of the sequence of events, which made me wonder what would happen next. That technique builds up suspense nicely. However, “moments of reflection” need to be interweaved to provide meaning or a message to the story. It was interesting to note that Glass said that the most difficult part of creating a broadcast is not the technical editing, but rather finding a good story. I like that he emphasized that we should be willing to throw away any of the crappy stuff! I believe Glass when he says it takes years to get good at audio storytelling. I took to heart when he said to talk like myself, and don’t talk only about myself.

Abumrad said that there was a lot of “gut churn” when creating his show Radiolab and they spent a lot of time just trying new things. I relate to that since I feel similarly while starting assignments in this class. These assignments take a lot of creativity, and that stresses me out as I try to figure out what to do and how I want to do it. I do not plan on forcing myself to have gut churn, but I understand that having fear is a natural part of the process. I have not delved into audio storytelling before, but I am still willing to learn. Hope I don’t get gut churn!

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