Not your car radio

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I listened to this radio show on Radiolab in order to get myself acquainted with the type of radio we’re dealing with in ds106.  Honestly, I don’t have much experience (almost none) with this type of radio.  In some ways I like that a lot.  Because this is a new experience for me, I get to jump into it head first.  That’s kind of awesome.

What struck me most about the show I listened to is that it gave me the feeling that I was listening to two guys sitting in a living room. It all came off as very casual, even though I knew it underwent all kinds of editing and had layering and background noises.  I might not have noticed that stuff if not for this class, but more on that later.  This show was casual, but not in a Delilah kind of way.  In fact it was unlike any radio broadcast one might hear on a standard radio station.  The people you normally hear on the radio aren’t the reason you’re listening (except for that Dawson guy — I’m pretty sure his advice has led people to ruin).  They are simply there to say obnoxious things between songs, or perhaps talk about how few commercials the station has even though you’d take commercials over their banter any day of the week.  The radio show was different.  The focus seemed to be on people themselves, and their stories.  I listened to some clips from other shows, and even with impersonal topics, the shows have a personal feel.  You relate to the story being told, and I think that’s why I got the feeling I was listening to two friends talking in the same room as me.  What’s more, I normally listen to the radio while I’m doing some other activity.  With the radio show I listened to, I wanted to focus on it the whole time I was listening.  This was a strange feeling.

That was my spiel on how the radio show made me feel.  Now for some info on the subtleties I noticed, which probably would have slipped by unnoticed if not for viewing through the lens of ds106.  The first thing I noticed was the bumper.  It was pretty much what I expected, but I tucked it away for use as a reference when working on my own show.  I did take note of the fact that it mentioned NPR though.  This added some perspective for me.  As for the more subtle features of the show, I felt like I was being duped.  To explain why, I’ll have to explain the premise of the show a little bit.  Two guys are discussing a story.  In this case it was about classifying action figures as human or non-human to achieve different tariff rates, and the implications of this discussion on the more general question of “what is human?”  The narrators of the show bring on two guests to help tell the story.  These guests were two women who were lawyers involved in the action figure debate.  Here’s where it got confusing: the narrators talk to the women as though they are all in the same room, but then they’ll narrate over the women talking.  I think what they did was interview the women normally and then voice over the interview afterward.  The women go from sort of narrating themselves to being in the story.  This was done seamlessly, and the effect was really cool.  The other piece of editing that I almost missed was very subtle background music and sound effects.  There was sporadic background noise, but I almost never noticed it coming in or out.  It served to enhance the mood, but was executed in such a way that it did so subconsciously. After completing this assignment, I’m totally going to listen to more radio.  I guess what I’m most fascinated by is its ability to get into your head with such simple delivery.  I look forward to trying my hand at it with the radio show project.

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