Certain radio stories I heard years ago made such an impression on me they still bounce around in my head like a long echo.
Clear as a bell, I can hear Lloyd Newman and LeAlan Jones narrating their lives in Ghetto Life 101. Tony Schwartz knocking the rust out of my ears with the simple sounds of his New York City postal zone in the series Lost and Found Sound, produced by The Kitchen Sisters with Jay Allison. Josh Cutler’s Tourrette’s Syndrome outbursts in the Teen Diaries series produced by Joe Richman and Radio Diaries. In fact, not only have these documentaries never left my ears, they inspired me to pick up a microphone and start producing.
One other piece to add to that list is Annie Cheney’s Concerning Breakfast. Even though I first heard the piece about fifteen years ago, in my mind it’s like I listened to it yesterday. I think about her use of the old recording level-setting practice of asking people what they had for breakfast as a narrative tool nearly every time I do the same thing before an interview.
On this edition of HowSound we’ll listen to Concerning Breakfast in its entirety. No interview. No teachable moment. Just the story. It deserves that spotlight.
By the way, Concerning Breakfast was part of a series of pieces produced by Jay Allison with Christina Egloff called The Life Stories Collection. You can listen to many of them at PRX.