I just recently had a conversation with my boyfriend about if we were radio show hosts what would we talk about. Needless to say, it would probably be very short-lived since we concluded that hosting a show by ourselves would not be that captivating. Although, for those who can hold conversations with themselves and strike a meaningful conversation with an audience that they can not see is truly a talent.
While watching the videos about the aspects geared towards understanding Audio Storytelling, I closed my eyes. I wanted to put myself in an atmosphere as if I was listening to what they were saying on the radio. I grew up listening to NPR with my dad on long car trips, going to school, or anywhere for that matter, and as a kid, I thought it was boring and just begged him to put on music. Although, as I got older, I began to tune in and to take into account that these radio show hosts are communicating real information that is going on in the world to me through audio. Moving forward, I started getting into listening to podcasts, and more specifically one called Lore by Aaron Mahnke. The way that Mahnke could relay and describe something to me that I could not physically see, but imagine in my head, mesmerized me. Mahnke made me feel as if he was telling me some deep dark secret that was being kept between him and I about the mysterious world we live in. From then on, I explored other podcasts and delved into the wonderful world of Audio Storytelling.
After watching Jad Abumrad’s thoughts on “How Radio Creates Empathy,” he described perfectly the co-authorship it takes from the broadcaster and the listener to create the story and deliver the empathy that is being felt in response. For example, Abumrad describes the sunlight with the rays being compared to the color of a fox’s fur, and from that point, the listener can visualize what the broadcaster wants them to see. With that being said, the relationship between the two author’s relies on the broadcaster’s ability to use clear descriptive language for the listener to understand their message. Additionally, Abumrad touches on the effects television has on us and how images will not always create a good story, but the words we use are what is important. If you are someone like me who likes to binge-watch a lot of bad TV, then you probably are not using much imagination to understand what is going on in the plot because it is provided to you through visuals. Although with radio and podcasts, we are able to open our minds up and imagine what is going on within a story through the information that is provided by the broadcaster. All in all, the gravity that radio has to bring people together and inspire empathy serves a vital purpose that other types of media can not provide.
One point from Ira Glass’s perspective on storytelling that stuck out to me was in part three when he said that having potential and being good at something are two different aspects of what it takes in any profession. I know that that is probably a pretty basic thought, but it is one that is often overlooked. With that being said, what follows with being good at something is having good taste, and if you do not refine your taste through trial and error then you can essentially get lost and fail. Through practice and weeding out the ideas that we think are good, then we can progress and become successful. Additionally, I saw myself relating to a lot of what Glass was mentioning not only in this part of the series, but in part four. Glass references that as storytellers, listeners rely heavily on the way we talk, so if our voices sound like every third word is emphasized or a robot, then it will not aid our message productively. Also, radio depends on the voices and sounds we use that will encapsulate our listeners to understand, so if that connection is lost between the broadcaster and audience, then it becomes a flop.
Overall, the message concerning the importance of effective Audio Storytelling that Glass and Abumrad describe is something that will never die. People count on Audio Storytelling every day to give them the news, uplift their spirits, and entertain, so without it we lose the empathy that it elicits to bring us together.