Buried Treasures: Four Student Pieces

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I’ve taught radio storytelling for 15 years which means I’ve shepherded many pieces. Lots, like four or five hundred.

I’ve aired a bunch of student work on HowSound over the years but I’ve hardly made a dent in the pile. So, this episode marks the first of what I suspect will be many episodes to come where I present good student stories, well told, along with a few thoughts on what I think stands out about the pieces. I’m calling this one “Buried Treasures.” (For full disclosure, the title is a complete and utter rip-off of Sound Opinions, which does the same thing from time to time.)

The first story features a series of blistering rides with a pizza delivery guy in Portland, Maine. The piece is called It’s Pizza Time and was produced by Alex Malmude. Alex was a student at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in 2009. These days she makes clothes for a living, most recently swimsuits. She told me that on her way to Burning Man this year, she recorded prairie dog “chirrups.” Radio never leaves your blood.

The second piece is a complete turnaround in terms of tone — Under Water. It’s a story of personal transformation as told by a photographer who takes pictures of water lilies. It comes from Brigitta Greene, a Transom Story Workshop student in 2013. Brigitta now works as a producer for Minnesota Public Radio.

“The Movie-Goer” is my third selection. The humor in this story is so dry it’s practically a desert. The Movie-Goer was produced in a week this summer at a Transom Traveling Workshop. Andrew Leland is the producer. He’s also the host of The Organist podcast and a contributing editor for The Believer magazine.

Last is an ear-bruising story about an internationally known grindcore punk rock record label in Hyannis, Massachusetts — a surprising location, hence the title of the piece Punk in the Unlikeliest Places. Mary Decker produced this for WCAI’s Creative Life series when she was a student at the Transom Story Workshop in 2014. Mary now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she manages a vegan restaurant and produces radio stories.

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  • Deepak Singh

    9.09.15

    Reply

    Excellent episode by Rob. I am a big fan of HowSound

  • Rob Rosenthal

    9.09.15

    Reply

    Thanks, Deepak! Much obliged. — r

  • the true storytellers

    9.10.15

    Reply

    Howsound is one of my favourite podcasts (perhaps my favourite even). I never felt let down when I listen. There’s always something to take away. I’m intrigued by how you dissect radio stories Rob. You do it with such precision. I’ve been making long-form radio documentaries for about 6-8 years. I discovered telling stories through sound after being a print journalist for some time. Now having completed a PhD I’m suddenly an academic, teaching radio to university students. I’ve only been teaching for six months and I’m finding that your podcast helps me to be a better teacher. On my way to work I’m not only hearing wonderful and insightful stories but I’m getting a lesson in developing a critical ear at the same time. So thank you. I’m almost afraid to ask this, but I feel it might be beneficial for my own practice as a radio documentary maker: I wonder if you’d dissect one of my documentaries, not necessarily publicly, but I’d be most interested to hear what you think. In any case, keep up the great work. Your students make amazing radio stories.

  • Helene Thomas

    9.10.15

    Reply

    I realised my WordPress account is way out of date, I changed my username from ‘the true storytellers’ to my actual name which is Helene Thomas.

  • Rob Rosenthal

    9.11.15

    Reply

    Hi Helene,

    Thanks for your more-than-generous comments about HowSound. And, it’s great to hear you find it useful for your classes. That’s great news.

    If you’d like to share a link to your work, I’ll do what I can to listen.

    Best,
    Rob

  • Helene Thomas

    9.14.15

    Reply

    I can imagine you have a long list of pieces you would like to listen to Rob, so I understand you may not get around to listening. In case you do though, here are two to choose from.

    Having listened to the kind of work you do like, I have a feeling you’d be more into the second one, it’s called ‘Can I fix your bucket?’ The story centres around a bucket fixer who roams the slums of Kigali in Rwanda repairing people’s broken plastic buckets, but along the way we meet other characters. It was broadcast on Australian public radio in 2011, whereas the other one was broadcast last year, and is about a serial murder case of sex workers in Rwanda. It’s called A Silent Tragedy.

    Both are just over 50-minutes.

    I look forward to your next podcast.

    Bye for now,

    Helene

    A Silent Tragedy http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/360/a-silent-tragedy/5338592

    Can I Fix Your Bucket? http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/360/can-i-fix-your-bucket/2930352

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