The Craft of Audio Storytelling

This week I listened to Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad give their perspectives on the art of audio storytelling. Ira Glass pointed out that audio storytelling is not just a topic sentence followed by a series of facts, like we learn in high school. Instead, broadcasting has two main building blocks. The first building block is the anecdote or a sequence of actions. The sequence of actions keeps momentum even if it is boring. This can happen because the way the sequence of events proceed allow you to feel like there is a destination. The sequence of actions act like bait to keep the audience curious. Another important part, of the first building block, is that the broadcaster needs to frequently remind the audience why they are listening to the story.

The second building block, according to Glass, is the amount of time is takes to find a good story. Glass points out that is takes longer to find a worthy story than it does to produce the story. The broadcaster needs to feel proud of the material they are producing and understand that it is completely acceptable to admit something is crap and abandon it. The tougher you are, the easier it will be to kill the boring parts of a story or the whole story. I really loved how Glass goes on to point out that failing is not a bad thing. The more you fail allows you to create a situation to get lucky and find that phenomenal story.

Jad Abumrad went about his discussion on broadcasting a little differently than Ira Glass. Instead of talking about the proper route to take to find a good story, Abumrad talks about his appreciation for broadcasting. I thought this approach was great because it provided me different reasons as to why broadcasting should be admired and respected. Abumrad mentioned that the absence of pictures allow the mind to wonder and create its own images. He also pointed out that the radio connects people through broadcaster and listener because the broadcaster allows listener to co-imagine creating a connection.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to both of these men speak about their craft. Obviously, they both were really well spoken and I liked the examples they came up with to demonstrate their points. Glass gave me insight on the toughness it takes to broadcast a good story. Abumrad provided me with different perspectives on broadcasting that have never crossed my mind. Thanks to Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad, I now have more respect and appreciation for broadcasters and their work!

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