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Ira Glass is Jad Abumrad is Radio

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Wow! I really did find the content in their talks compelling. The thing that struck me the most was Ira’s bit on “Good taste” and how it discourages. I had read that quote many times before, however I never knew it was from Ira or what medium it was talking about (even though it certainly applies to everything). The greatest thing about the idea is that it makes perfect sense, but it isn’t at all obvious (at least to me) at first.

You want to create art, because you have good taste in art. That is you can really appreciate the art, and you want to create something that good. However when you start of course you won’t create anything nearly as good, and then most people just give up. They don’t think they have what it takes. They can’t live up to the high standard the led them to appreciate the art to begin with. Truly an amazing sentiment. I also get this feeling a lot when doing mathematics. You look at the great works of mathematics, and you want to create something so great, however you fall short. You have don’t have the knowledge or the experience, but you can’t give up!

I have never sat down and thought of the properties of the radio medium. It truly is interesting thinking about what works for radio, and what won’t work for it. It is completely different than most other mediums. When Jad Abumrad talked about having a paint brush that causes the listener to paint with their imagination, its truly a powerful thing. In this way radio is very connected to books, and this makes sense why almost all books are very well adapted to audio form, they both do essentially the same thing, they both cause the participant to actively use their imagination, which gives them the power.

I also really liked how in the Radio Lab, they weren’t lecturing it was just a process of discovery for both the radio personality and the listener. That’s one thing I find a lot in mathematics, when a good professor lectures, they are leading you to the idea, you are in anticipation for what they will say next (and you are probably already at the idea, and you really want them to confirm it on the board). You get this feeling also when reading good math text book, it leads you to the ideas, and then leaves them as an exercise haha.

From a practical standpoint I think that Ira’s talk about how radio should be personable is very important. You want to sound sincere, you want to sound like a real person who is just talking. In my multimodel introduction I failed hard at this. I sounded like a robot reading a script (mainly because I was a robot reading a script, but now at least I have an idea about what not to do..)

Jad’s discussion on the gut wrenching feeling was also very interesting, and as a human I certainly can empathize with it. I also thought the idea of “What does it mean to be a dolphin?”, “Be the dolphin” was a really powerful idea. I think it goes back to the idea of discovering together, why tell the listener when you can actually make them feel a certain way. Very powerful stuff. I can’t wait to continue playing around with this very interesting medium!


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