The Backstory to Great Radio Storytelling, hosted by Rob Rosenthal, for Transom and PRX.
Delicately Revealing Your Identity in the Story
Ben Calhoun, formerly of This American Life, sat for two hours staring at a Google doc trying to figure out what to say. It was a delicate piece of writing about race and his own identity. Ben unpacks what he wrote on this episode of HowSound.
Who Am I To Be Here?
Back in 2007, when Andrea Silenzi was a rookie reporter just learning the craft as a student, she reported a story about a woman dying of ALS. It was not easy to report and she regularly wondered "Who am I to be here?" That's a vital question for all journalists. How do you answer it?
Producing YA Fiction
Hillary Frank says middle school can be brutal. The bullying, the harassment, the homophobia, the racism, the sexism... it's all there, along with the complicated emotions of pre-teens. "Here Lies Me," a podcast Hillary wrote, directed, and produced, tackles it all and then some. Hillary lays out what made this podcast one of the best of last year — and maybe this year, too.
Collaboration Is the Only Way Forward
Davia Nelson, one half of the legendary Kitchen Sisters, shares the pair's incredible news: The Library of Congress will acquire the Kitchen Sisters' archive, decades of innovative audio work. Davia also talks with Rob about collaborating with performance artist Laurie Anderson on "The Great Amish Pandemic Sewing Frolic," a story about the power of working together.
More Darts And Laurels
Rob doles out another collection of darts and laurels on this episode. Darts for missing credits and superfluous sound effects. Laurels for stupendous production values, character development, and just plain weirdness. Featured work is from The BBC, Vice, Wonder Media, and others.
Thinking in Scenes
One of the most helpful tools for organizing a story is a "scene chart." Think of it as an outline for the "chapters" in an audio story. Rob dissects one of his favorite audio stories, one he's used in workshops for years, to help explain the idea of thinking in scenes and outlining stories.
As a podcast producer, How Sound is my Bible. I have never listened to an episode without learning something helpful or hearing something that reinforces my nuanced practice. And it’s genuinely fun to listen to, every time it makes me smile or experience a moment of awe. I recommend How Sound to audio producers and storytellers at any level of experience.
Vast library of lessons
I’ve had HowSound on my radar for a while but hadn’t been making any audio stories until, in the middle of the pandemic, I dove headfirst into making a podcast with my 95 year old dad called “Keeping Dad Alive.” Now I search the archive to find episodes that relate to questions that come up. For example, “The squirm test” was really helpful when I was working on an episode about some undignified things that were happening in my dads life.
Excellent examples of making great sounding content
How Sound is like a “master’s class” on making audio that not just sounds amazing, but appropriately amazing. Listen intently as Rob dissects the decision-making process these audio creators go through, with his honest feedback and criticism. The sample clips he provides are rich, engaging, emotional, uplifting, compelling… just what they need to be.
Want to make better audio? Put How Sound at the top of your queue. It’s one of the few shows I switch back to 1x speed for!