Posts tagged with ‘radio’

Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.

Ira Glass to Lifehacker. I’m Ira Glass, Host of This American Life, and This Is How I Work.

Quick tip for things to do immediately post-interview:

When I come out of an interview, I jot down the things I remember as being my favorite moments. For an hour-long interview usually it’s just four or five moments, but if out I’m reporting all day, I’ll spend over an hour at night typing out every favorite thing that happened. This is handier than you might think. Often this short list of favorite things will provide the backbone to the structure to my story.

Read through for the gear This American Life uses and its editing process.

Staring at Screens
katiecouric:

Glass: How much time the world spends staring at screens

FJP — And via Quartz, with some context.

As we’ve argued, media are best understood as a competition for attention on glass-panelled devices connected to the internet. Phones, tablets, PCs, television sets—it’s all just glass. But, of course, it does matter what kinds of glass are attracting more attention.

Having said that, let’s not forget that in the majority of the world it’s radio, not glass, that remains king.

Staring at Screens

katiecouric:

Glass: How much time the world spends staring at screens

FJP — And via Quartz, with some context.

As we’ve argued, media are best understood as a competition for attention on glass-panelled devices connected to the internet. Phones, tablets, PCs, television sets—it’s all just glass. But, of course, it does matter what kinds of glass are attracting more attention.

Having said that, let’s not forget that in the majority of the world it’s radio, not glass, that remains king.

A Story Told Well: NPR’s Borderland 

NPR recently launched a special series, Borderland, in which Steven Inskeep traveled along the entire 2,428 mile border between the U.S. and Mexico to report on the nuances of immigration and the relationship between the two countries. Here are the radio stories, which are so worth listening to if this is an issue that you’ve had a hard time wrapping your mind around, or not seen fantastic reporting on before. And here is the stunning visual intro to the series, which breaks the piece down into 12 stories complete with moving characters, all the numbers (presented very digestibly) and a lot of context.

A Story Told Well: NPR’s Borderland 

NPR recently launched a special series, Borderland, in which Steven Inskeep traveled along the entire 2,428 mile border between the U.S. and Mexico to report on the nuances of immigration and the relationship between the two countries. Here are the radio stories, which are so worth listening to if this is an issue that you’ve had a hard time wrapping your mind around, or not seen fantastic reporting on before. And here is the stunning visual intro to the series, which breaks the piece down into 12 stories complete with moving characters, all the numbers (presented very digestibly) and a lot of context.

What's it like to witness an execution? →

Sound Portraits, which was established in 1994 by the brilliant radio producer David Isay, was the predecessor to StoryCorps. The mission was to produce radio documentaries (broadcast on NPR’s All Things Conisdered and Weekend Edition) profiling men and women “surviving in the margins”:

Told with care and dignity, the work depicts the lives of Americans living in communities often neglected or misunderstood. Sound Portraits frequently collaborates with people living in these hard-to-access corners of America, giving them tape recorders and microphones and helping them tell their own stories.

Witness to an Execution, which won a Peabody in 2000, includes interviews with men and women involved in the execution of death-row inmates at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas. These are people who have observed or administered executions countless times. (One-third of all executions in the US have taken place in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977). The piece was narrated by Warden Jim Willett, who oversaw all Texas executions.

Read more about the documentary here, and click on the MP3 on the right of the page (yes, it’s an old website) to have a listen. Incredibly powerful.

For the First Time, U.S. Consumes More Digital Media Than TV
Via Mashable: 

According to an eMarketer study released Thursday, Americans spend four hours and 40 minutes online using either a mobile device or a computer, compared with four hours and 31 minutes watching TV.

FJP: Well, I know I spend a third of my life sleeping…. subtract the eight hours at work, two hours commuting… an hour for dinner and a shower… that leaves me with five whole hours to do whatever I want, and television is the answer. —Gabbi

For the First Time, U.S. Consumes More Digital Media Than TV

Via Mashable

According to an eMarketer study released Thursday, Americans spend four hours and 40 minutes online using either a mobile device or a computer, compared with four hours and 31 minutes watching TV.

FJP: Well, I know I spend a third of my life sleeping…. subtract the eight hours at work, two hours commuting… an hour for dinner and a shower… that leaves me with five whole hours to do whatever I want, and television is the answer. —Gabbi

This American Life Celebrates 500th Episode
Once called the vanguard of a journalistic revolution by the American Journalism Review, This American Life aired its very first episode on July 5, 1995. Now in its 18th year, the weekly show entertains an audience of about 1.8 million with its thought-provoking programs. In a recent interview with Slate, founder and host Ira Glass reflected on the program’s evolution:


Over the last few years, we’ve gone from being a show that was almost entirely very personal stories to a show that is much more engaging the news. When the show started, the mission of the show was to apply the tools of journalism to stories so small and personal that journalists weren’t doing them. And occasionally, we would do something that would touch the news…But after 9/11, we became more interested in the news—the whole country became more interested in the news. And the show exists partly to follow what we as a staff are interested in.

For the 500th episode, the staff will talk about their favorite moments on This American Life. Glass praised the show’s experimental format, which he described as “flexible enough that we can to do whatever we want.”
It’s interesting to note that in an accompanying interview, Glass said he thinks of his interviews with guests as story plots:

Really what I’m thinking about is: “What is the story arc of this story? How do I get plot going and how can I get them to tell me the plot in a way that will work in on the radio?” So… I’ll go into the interview with a set of thoughts I have about their experience.

Bonus: You can catch the 500th episode and browse previous episodes stretching back to 1995 through This American Life’s archive. 
Image: viatvtropes

This American Life Celebrates 500th Episode

Once called the vanguard of a journalistic revolution by the American Journalism Review, This American Life aired its very first episode on July 5, 1995. Now in its 18th year, the weekly show entertains an audience of about 1.8 million with its thought-provoking programs. In a recent interview with Slate, founder and host Ira Glass reflected on the program’s evolution:

Over the last few years, we’ve gone from being a show that was almost entirely very personal stories to a show that is much more engaging the news. When the show started, the mission of the show was to apply the tools of journalism to stories so small and personal that journalists weren’t doing them. And occasionally, we would do something that would touch the news…But after 9/11, we became more interested in the news—the whole country became more interested in the news. And the show exists partly to follow what we as a staff are interested in.

For the 500th episode, the staff will talk about their favorite moments on This American Life. Glass praised the show’s experimental format, which he described as “flexible enough that we can to do whatever we want.”

It’s interesting to note that in an accompanying interview, Glass said he thinks of his interviews with guests as story plots:

Really what I’m thinking about is: “What is the story arc of this story? How do I get plot going and how can I get them to tell me the plot in a way that will work in on the radio?” So… I’ll go into the interview with a set of thoughts I have about their experience.

Bonus: You can catch the 500th episode and browse previous episodes stretching back to 1995 through This American Life’s archive

Image: viatvtropes

cheatsheet:

Maurice Sendak would have been 85 today. Watch this animated short with audio from a Newsweek interview in which he talks about his childhood. 

FJP: The latest in the series by PBS Digital Studios & Blank on Blank. We love it. See also: The Beastie Boys on Being Stupid and James Brown on Conviction, Respect and Reagan.

Bonus: Our interview with Blank on Blank’s founder.

Got Audio? Enter the Third Coast International Audio Festival
Via our inbox:

Entries now being accepted for the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s 13th annual Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition!
The TCIAF invites producers around the globe to submit their finest radio/audio stories in the following categories: Best Documentary (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Directors’ Choice, Honorable Mentions), Best New Artist, Radio Impact and Best News Feature.
The TCIAF accepts stories that document people, places, times, events, phenomena and issues. These include but are not limited to: investigative reports, narrative stories, personal essays, profiles and audio portraits. Podcasts and documentaries that redefine the documentary form are also welcome.
Winners receive cash awards - $4,000 for the gold prize - to support their future creative endeavors. They also receive national recognition in Best of the Best: The 2013 Third Coast Festival Broadcast, airing on public radio stations across the country this fall.

Deadline: June 19.
Contest Site: TCIAF.
Image: Toshiba Vacuum Tube Radio, via Wikimedia Commons

Got Audio? Enter the Third Coast International Audio Festival

Via our inbox:

Entries now being accepted for the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s 13th annual Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition!

The TCIAF invites producers around the globe to submit their finest radio/audio stories in the following categories: Best Documentary (Gold, Silver, Bronze, Directors’ Choice, Honorable Mentions), Best New Artist, Radio Impact and Best News Feature.

The TCIAF accepts stories that document people, places, times, events, phenomena and issues. These include but are not limited to: investigative reports, narrative stories, personal essays, profiles and audio portraits. Podcasts and documentaries that redefine the documentary form are also welcome.

Winners receive cash awards - $4,000 for the gold prize - to support their future creative endeavors. They also receive national recognition in Best of the Best: The 2013 Third Coast Festival Broadcast, airing on public radio stations across the country this fall.

Deadline: June 19.

Contest Site: TCIAF.

ImageToshiba Vacuum Tube Radio, via Wikimedia Commons

Where to Start as a Journalist? Try the Peabody Awards

I’m graduating in May in hopes of becoming a journalist. I’ve had internships and I’ve worked for my university’s online news source. Can you steer a terrified senior in a direction? Where should I look? What should I be looking for? What should I work on?” — Helena

We get questions like this fairly frequently and there’s no exact answer. But with yesterday’s announcement of the 2012 Peabody Award winners we’re seeing the incredible range of today’s journalism.This isn’t to say that you can’t quibble with this story winning over that story, or say they could chose more innovative work, but it is to say that if you look at the winners from the Web, radio, television and documentary you see a wild diversity of storytelling approaches and ideas.

And reviewing some of the winners, I think, is a great place to start.

Start with the Web and The New York Times win for “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” a multimedia feature using aerial photography, video and words while taking advantage of contemporary presentation techniques such as responsive design and parallax in order to augment and further drive the story forward.

SCOTUSBlog is the other Web winner. There are no bells and whistles. Instead, it’s pretty much a text only blog that’s become a go to resource for stories, background and explainers on all things that have to do with the US Supreme Court. Here, deep, thorough, consistent reporting and analysis wins out.

Radio, I think, is in a golden age and the reason I think this is is because of the launch of iTunes back in 2001. This allowed people to easily subscribe to podcasts — and by extension radio programming — that we previously didn’t have access to. Yes, RSS already existed but iTunes gave us an easy interface to either hear or distribute programming. While your local public radio station might not carry it, you can now hear everything from the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent to The Moth Radio Hour, 99% Invisible and Radiolab among a host of other exceptional programming.

Each of these programs uses different techniques and styles. By listening and analyzing, we learn new tricks that expand our understanding of what’s possible in audio storytelling.

One of this year’s radio winners comes from Radio Diaries, is called “Teen Contender" and follows the 16-year-old Olympic boxer Claressa Shields in a first person narrative from Flint, Michigan to London. Here’s a great breakdown by Julia Barton on the techniques used and how this created great radio.

Other radio winners include WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show, a “traditional” hosted show about New York’s political and cultural life; This American Life’s “What Happened at Dos Erres,” an incredible radio documentary about a Guatemalan immigrant in Boston “who learns that the man he believed to be his father actually led the massacre of his village”; and NPR for its hard news reporting in Syria by Kelly McEvers and Deborah Amos.

I’ll leave it at this and with the recommendation to explore different types of journalism awards across magazines, multimedia, photography, documentary, radio and the rest. Through it, you’ll come across work that brings about an “Aha!” moment, one that makes you say, “This is what I want to do.” And then start positioning yourself and aiming towards doing it by applying for work — or learning the skills needed to apply for work — in that area.

Hope this helps. — Michael

Have a question? Ask away.

Larry King on Getting Seduced

Kicking off a new animated series created by Blank on Blank and PBS Digital Studios is this flashback interview with Larry King.

In it, King recalls a time from his early years on the radio when he received a telephone call from a woman who said, “I want you.”

As a young 20-something, he did what a young 20-something is apt to do: told his audience they would hear a complete Harry Belafonte album, put on the record and drove off to find some love.

And then a very big problem occurs.

Where are the Women in Podcasting? →

Via Julie Shapiro at Transom.org:

What’s the aural equivalent of a vantage point? From whatever that’s called, from my perch at the Third Coast International Audio Festival, an observation has been increasingly nagging. It’s nothing new, it’s fairly obvious, and it deserves your attention. It is the lack of female hosts in the ever-widening world of podcasts.

I generally keep up (or try to) with what’s out there in the radio/audio/podcast cosmos, so I’ve been aware that male-hosted podcasts (MHPs) out-number women-hosted podcasts (WHPs), easily. But the actual numbers floored me. According to the widely-used podcast-delivery phone app Stitcher, as of mid-February, 2013, out of the top 100 podcasts in their system, 71 are hosted by men (many by two or three men), 11 are hosted by women (of which three are just 60 seconds long), 9 are co-hosted by a man and woman, and 9 are either NPR or BBC news aggregation podcasts with alternating hosts and reporters, or it’s unclear who hosts. iTunes results were similar.

Though these numbers may not surprise, they should alarm you too. And they point to the disappointing truth: that podcasting – hailed back in 2004 as a “revolutionary” new tool for freedom of expression and endless creative opportunity – quickly copped the same gender stereotypes and realities that traditional broadcasting environments have demonstrated throughout history.

Of course I’m not the only one who’s noticed this, or thinks about it. Nick van der Kolk (Snap Judgement, Love + Radio) posited the question via Facebook back in 2011, and Ashley Milne-Tyte (The Broad Experience) wrote about it last year, just to point to a couple of previous public ponderings. But it is an issue that merits continuous noise, so here’s an attempt to bang on a few more pots and pans about the situation.

I asked two dozen people (half women, half men) in the extended Third Coast community (producers, pub radio decision-makers, podcast hosts) to weigh in on the topic. A little more than half responded. Of those who did, approximately 85% were women. What follows are my own thoughts, combined with observations and opinions from those who responded to my questions. Without getting too investigative, or too scientific, or too statistically inclined, there seem to be a few main factors (and many smaller ones) contributing to the egregious imbalance of MHPs to WHPs.

Read on for Julie’s thoughts and examples of great female-hosted podcasts and programming.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller Turns 30

Billboard has an interesting history about the November 30, 1982 release of Thriller. In it, we learn of technology disruption (FM was replacing AM radio) and the audience fragmentation that occurred because of it.

We also learn about CBS Records’ concern over the album’s potential success:

Since the start of the [80s], black music had been increasingly banished from most white-targeted radio stations. This was partially due the virulent, reactionary anti-disco backlash that resulted in the implosion of that genre at the end of 1979. As the 80’s dawned, programmers increasingly stayed clear of rhythm-driven black music out of fear of being branded “disco,” even when the black music in question bore little resemblance to disco. This backlash was greatly magnified by the demise of AM mass appeal Top 40 radio at the hands of FM, which led to black artists being ghettoized on urban contemporary radio, while disappearing from pop radio, which focused on a more narrow white audience.

How dramatic was the decline of black music on the pop charts in that period? In 1979, nearly half of the songs on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 pop chart could also be found on the urban contemporary chart. By 1982, the amount of black music on the Hot 100 was down by almost 80%.

Also, and notably, MTV had just launched. But the music videos the station played were very white as it followed the playlists occurring on the FM charts. They too were very hesitant to give Jackson airtime.

[MTV executives at the time] concede that the channel initially assumed it would not play the video, as its thumping beat and urban production did not fit the channel’s “rock” image. They contend however that in mid-February, after seeing the clip—which was possibly the best that had ever come across their desks—they began to re-think things.

Good thing they did.

Billboard, Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ at 30: How One Album Changed the World.

theatlanticvideo:

The Making of a Radio Empire: A Fascinating Tour of NBC in the 1940s

Before television took over the airwaves, Rockefeller Center was home to the National Broadcasting Company during the golden age of radio. This promotional film from around 1948 chronicles the rise of the media company from a small collection of 20 affiliated stations, formed in 1926, to more than 170 stations two decades later. The 24-minute documentary, courtesy of the Prelinger Archive, introduces the network and goes behind the scenes at Rockefeller Center, peeking into the mail room, sound recording studios, and music library.

FJP: This is nice excuse to nerd out for 24 minutes and get your history on. We highly recommend exploring the archives too.

(via theatlantic)

What Happened At Dos Erres
fjp-latinamerica:

We are totally enjoying a recent episode of This American Life on the story of Guatemalan immigrant Óscar Ramírez:

In 1982, the Guatemalan military massacred the villagers of Dos Erres, killing more than 200 people. Thirty years later, a Guatemalan living in the US got a phone call from a woman who told him that two boys had been abducted during the massacre — and he was one of them. 

Beyond the fascinating storytelling, what we liked the most is the degree of collaboration between several journalistic enterprises: startup extraordinaire ProPublica, Colombia-based Fundación MEPI, independent journalist Habiba Nosheen, and This American Life.
Insofar, their collaboration has already rendered a remarkable set of journalistic products (and byproducts): an in-depth essay, a timeline, a slideshow, and an eBook. Praiseworthy by all means.
Image: Partial screenshot of Óscar’s Story, by Sebastian Rotella and Krista Kjellman Schmidt. Via ProPublica. 

FJP: If you haven’t listened to this, set aside some time and do so. It’s an amazing story.

What Happened At Dos Erres

fjp-latinamerica:

We are totally enjoying a recent episode of This American Life on the story of Guatemalan immigrant Óscar Ramírez:

In 1982, the Guatemalan military massacred the villagers of Dos Erres, killing more than 200 people. Thirty years later, a Guatemalan living in the US got a phone call from a woman who told him that two boys had been abducted during the massacre — and he was one of them. 

Beyond the fascinating storytelling, what we liked the most is the degree of collaboration between several journalistic enterprises: startup extraordinaire ProPublica, Colombia-based Fundación MEPI, independent journalist Habiba Nosheen, and This American Life.

Insofar, their collaboration has already rendered a remarkable set of journalistic products (and byproducts): an in-depth essay, a timeline, a slideshow, and an eBook. Praiseworthy by all means.

Image: Partial screenshot of Óscar’s Story, by Sebastian Rotella and Krista Kjellman Schmidt. Via ProPublica

FJP: If you haven’t listened to this, set aside some time and do so. It’s an amazing story.