Narrating To An Audience

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I recently stumbled across another excellent example of a radio station producing a podcast. The station is New Hampshire Public Radio. The podcast, Outside/In.

What’s so great about it? Good stories, well told, about the environment. A host who writes and narrates well. And, a willingness to experiment.

It’s the willingness to experiment that I’m particularly fond of. I applaud stations that take chances in the digital world — chances they may be less likely to take on air.

That said, Outside/In is trying to figure out how to balance the two. How can the show take advantage of the benefits of podcasting — no clock, an openness to try new approaches, etc. — with the time and content constraints of most public stations.

On this episode of HowSound, Sam Evans Brown, the program’s host, talks about one type of experimentation — narrating in a studio with colleagues acting as an audience. I also talked to Sam about balancing the broadcast/podcast dynamic. An excerpt of that part of our conversation is below.

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  • Andrew Simmons

    10.19.16

    Reply

    I’m by no means a radio producer, but I listen to more podcasts than any healthy human should. I loved the entire Outside/In podcast episode and my favorite podcasts include this type of unscripted “people in a room” type of narration. I love Sam’s point about including humor, and I couldn’t agree more, it certainly connects with the audience (including me!).

    Yet, the one unintentional thing that Jad and Robert of Radiolab taught me is this: Wherever you take people, your editing needs to be holding hand with your story arc. I think this was the undertone of Rob’s point. It’s a great to to apply humor, but make sure the tape you pick helps guide the listener there. You need to get them to the knifed helmets comment, it’s funny, but you need to make sure you hold you listeners hand with the script, music and tape to get them there.

    Again, not at all qualified, just my two cents! Love both your podcasts, keep it up!

  • Skip Hunt

    10.19.16

    Reply

    I agree more with where Rob was going with his questions. I don’t like the humor that’s not really funny, or “had to be there” stuff. And, I don’t believe the guy who said that he thinks more people are “enchanted” by there little quips and attempts at humor than are put off by it.

    Radiolab started that I think, and then everybody started copying them. It’s ok, and makes the story more human and natural to a point, but when they go overboard with it, or the jokes really aren’t cute or funny at all, it just takes the listener completely out of the story.

  • Fish Nerd Clay

    10.20.16

    Reply

    WOW
    Two of my favorite podcasts have collided! This is better than when Batman was on Scooby-Doo!
    I never miss an episode of How Sound or Outside/In!
    I disagree with Rob on the humor, if you are being authentic and something makes you laugh, then laugh…even if it’s not terribly funny or if it’s nervous laughter… but Ball of Knives = totally funny!
    Anyway both podcasts will continue to be a couple of my favorites, keep them coming!

  • Skip Hunt

    10.20.16

    Reply

    Well, I can put it this way… I think I’ve found most of my favorite podcasts by listening to Rob’s How Sound. And, I likely would’ve given this Outside/In a shot. However, I was so turned off by the quirky, annoying adlib, goof stuff, that I didn’t even bother to give this one a shot. I mean, if they’re banking on most of their listeners to be “enchanted” by the snarfy stuff that all fell flat to my ears, then I guess they can count on one “disenchanted” listener who won’t even bother.

    I’ve actually come close to unsubscribing to the often masterful Radiolab, when they go off the deep end with the ad-lib unfunny yuk-yuks.

    To each their own though.

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