Morphing Print Essays Into Radio

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Here’s a modest proposal. For stations and programs and podcasts looking for content, collaborate with essayists — especially authors who are already writing for newspapers, magazines, and the web.

Of course, it’s not as simple as just recording what they’ve written and putting it on the air. Length, the writing, the delivery of the author. . .those elements and more need to be considered. But, those issues aren’t insurmountable and The Takeaway proved it.

Back in October, 2016, the New York Times published an essay about the war in Yemen written by Mohammed al-Asaadi. The staff at The Takeaway read it and said: this needs to be on the radio. So, they made it happen. The result is compelling.

Jay Cowit is the Technical Director for The Takeaway. Jay walks us through the steps to recording and sound-designing the essay — great lessons for anyone looking to produce print essays for the radio.

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  • Susan Barrett Price

    3.11.17

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    Beautiful. Why not more essays on radio? Seems like just a few years ago we were told that single-voice essays were a snore. So why would aspiring radio artists even try? (Haven’t been here for a while so I might have missed some developments.)

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