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The Beauty of Radio

Hey guys and gals!

For this assignment, we had to listen to some ideas and tips about what radio is, how good radio is made, and what it’s for. The assignment instructions and videos are all found on Mrs. Polack’s DS106 webpage. HERE.

To start I would like to say that Radiolab’s short interview with Jad Abumrad was almost an epiphany for me. Not only did Mr. Abumrad prove my previous opinions wrong, he also explained perfectly why I was wrong: I previously assumed that a GREAT story should always have multiple senses involved meaning that if we can’t see what is happening or if we can’t smell the scents associated with a story, we will not be as engulfed. Mr. Abumrad points out that somehow there is something very powerful when people participate in a “deep act of co-authorship” because as active participants, we are more engaged and therefore the story becomes more a part of our lives rather than just something we hear. The human imagination is so powerful that the images we create in our heads are enough to bring the story into reality. I believe the craft of urging the participation of the listener is what Mr. Abumrad excels in and what makes him a great radio personality and mentor.

Ira Glass, who is the host of THIS AMERICAN LIFE podcast, had many points about radio storytelling but one of the things that stood out the most was his warning that people should not apply the high school rubric for writing to oral storytelling. The most important thing in oral stories is that there is a series of events that leads the listener on a journey. These “anecdotes” as Mr.Glass called them don’t even have to be anything exciting. They just need to take the listener on some type of journey with the assumption that there is an ending. I think this is one of the most important things to understand in radio: Every action does NOT have to be exciting, but every event should be leading SOMEWHERE. This “somewhere” is what “baits” the listener. The listener should have questions and he/she should want them answered in the future. Another great point that Mr.Glass makes about the process of creating good oral stories is that people must “get rid of the crap” and that there will be plenty of crap to kill. Part of perfecting any craft is to constantly work on it, even if the things ones producing are not great. This ties into Mr. Glass’s description of one of the main mistakes beginners make: They try to be and sound like the people they see on TV. A person must find their own and unique personality  because if they copy, their products will be.. well crap. In summary, I believe Ira Glass describes his craft as something that is consistently altered, worked on, changed, and advanced. He asserts the importance of not giving up as the main driving force of making good work and perfecting ones craft.

All four parts of his talk can be found here: PART 1,PART 2PART 3,PART 4

Published inReflections


  1. What we have here is a classic example of knowing when you’re wrong, and learning from your mistakes. I applaud your honesty in these reviews, and I would use this week as a benchmark to follow, during future lessons.

    • admin admin

      Hey Mitchell!

      Thanks for the applause. It is very hard sometimes to admit that your opinion was faulty about something but I consider this a learning experiment and I am certain I will be changing my opinions as this course continues. This week has really helped me with understanding audio and I know it will be go great help when I work on the radio project with my team. #talkingpolack106


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