|Tell Us How You Got There|
In 2010, This American Life hit their 400-episode milestone. To commemorate, TAL staff decided to take on a challenge: produce stories pitched by their parents. Ira Glass shared an awkward story about losing his suit on a train, Nancy Updike came up with a jingle about the Erie Canal, but the far-and-away winner of this challenge was Lisa Pollak who accepted a pitch from her mother to create a piece about “funny funerals.”
In addition to being completely hilarious, “Funny Funerals” offers aspiring podcast producers, like me, a rare insight into how to tackle a difficult story. Lisa Pollak reveals that even if you lack the ingredients of a good story (protagonist, dramatic arc, etc.), all is not lost!
I used to think Lisa’s piece was about funny funerals -- it wasn’t until I listened to it about half a dozen times that I realized it was not a piece about funny funerals, but a piece about Lisa Pollak’s search for funny funeral stories.
|The Virtuoso of Multitasking|
What do you get when you combine a ragtime piano performer, classical symphonies, and a neuroscientist? A feat that pushes the boundaries of the human mind. Radiolab’s "A Head Full of Symphonies" left me breathless with its lush sounds and tight reporting. I have forever been enthralled by feats of fortitude and wit and this story does not disappoint.
With its signature rich sound effects and suspenseful narrative, Radiolab is at its finest. In this blogpost, I want to point out a technique in which Radiolab anticipates the audience’s questions. When the facts are laid out before us, the results are so unbelievable, they cause spontaneous expletives from Jad. Those expletives give the audience a feeling of “Yeah! I feel that way too!”