After reading Radio: An Illustrated Guide, and listening to these chats, I feel like I learned a staggering amount about audio presentation.
The biggest thing that stood out to me in both the reading and the viewing was his manner of speech.
In the reading, I honestly found it distracting. When Ira Glass speaks, he is incredibly comfortable and interesting and fun to listen to. I think the primary reason for that is his casual speech. He tosses out “Uh”s and “You know”s and all sorts of casual speech as though he’s chatting with friends. In audio, that is a good thing. But in written text, it simply makes his dialog seem halting and difficult to follow. I think another problem with the medium was the lack of distinct voices. In an auditory medium, you feel more intimate with the speakers, and even feel like you recognize them or know them. In a standard long-form novel, you have lots of time to figure out your own interpretations of the characters. A single-shot comic book doesn’t have either of those advantages.
A lot of the concepts in the reading were really interesting, and I am honestly excited to get my hands on some audio assignments this week, but I enjoyed the videos immensely more than the reading.
After I thought I had a good sense of how radio works, I checked out a real one:
This one, actually.
The use of music in the episode was awesome, and totally threw me off. I’ve always been infatuated with music, and the way it can churn up emotions without anything else to help it along. The entire episode was brilliant and captivating and fun. The speaker did a remarkable job of characterizing the people in the story. The long, bleeped-out strings of generic profanities for “Redneck” and the voices for all the characters made them immediately recognizable, and cracked me up.
The other three acts are all at least as awesome as the first. I highly recommend this episode.
Despite the contrast between the clearly pre-written and practiced show and the rants and ramblings of Ira Glass’s YouTube videos, both were extremely successful and delightful to listen to.
I’m excited to get started up with audio tonight!