Radio and Podcast Workshop
Sound has limitless opportunities for storytelling. And it’s one of the most compelling mediums for conveying information with nuance and intimacy—the “the theater of the mind,” as the hoary-but-true old saying goes. Furthermore, as the audiences for “old media” shrink, radio—that is, public radio, with its 32 million listeners—thrives and grows. And then there’s the web: while the digital age renders much of old media obsolete, new technologies and tools represent nothing but opportunity for innovative creators of audio content. The podcasting boom has only just begun. In short, audio storytelling is a valuable skill in an increasingly electronic media age.
In this course, students learn about the differences and similarities between creating journalism to be heard and to be read. They learn how to interview and gather sound, and write, edit and produce their own stories and essays for radio and podcast; how to write for the ear, and how to create narrative arcs and effective pacing; how to use sound to help set scenes and tell a story; and how to ask good questions and pick good tape. They also learn about sound design—that is, how to use music, ambient sound, and archival clips to enrich pieces. And in doing so, students discover that it really is possible to make interesting, provocative and entertaining radio about design, architecture, and the visual arts.
Each class will be roughly divided in two, first a discussion and listening portion, followed by lab and workshop. Students have time in class to work on the technical portions of assignments, so that they can get specific help as necessary. Students will also be expected to use the school’s resources (recording equipment and ProTools work stations) between classes to work on assignments.
1. A single-voice commentary, written and voiced by student; 3-4 minutes.
2. A single-voiced piece in the format of Design for the Real World, Studio 360’s series on design, about a designer or design critic interviewed and edited by student; 2-4 minutes.
3. The most complex and open-ended piece: A final feature project written and narrated by student, with multiple interview subjects; 6-8 minutes.
Sample Student Podcasts:
Chappell Ellison, “Considering Wall-E”
Molly Heintz, “Music in Zeroes and Ones”
Saundra Marcel, “Advertising Takeover”
Avinash Rajagopal, “Rickshaw Wallah”
Alan Rapp, “The Look of Metal Today”
Angela Riechers, “Welcome to The Naming Convention”
Amelie Znidaric, “Don’t Go in There!: How to Design Fear“