In a cultural milieu dominated by long-form television dramas such as Breaking Bad and Madmen, how has the apparently simple activity of audio storytelling gained such clout?
In the US, documentary radio programs such as RadioLab, This American Life and Radio Diaries enjoy sold-out stage shows telling real-life stories that combine serious journalism with compelling personal narratives, philosophical discourse and an irreverent but always engaging tone.
The “new wave” of US radio often features at the hugely popularThird Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago. Julie Shapiro, curator since the festival’s inception in 2000, told me once, when I interviewed her, that “there’s a whole perfect storm” happening to make audio storytelling sexy: podcasting, ease of digital recording and production, and use of social media to promote and disseminate stories.
Shapiro coined Third Coast’s key tenet: “important radio can sound beautiful”. Such a view was a radical antidote to the turgid, formulaic reportage that had infected much of US public radio, whereby “documentary” had become associated with “worthy”.
Via The Digital Rocking Chair