The vast majority of stories on public radio are clear, concise, concrete, and linear. And that’s a good thing. Radio practically requires that simplicity and precision for two reasons.
First, radio is a background medium. Listeners are easily distracted. A story needs to cut through the distractions with clarity.
Second, a person hearing a radio story is not in the room with the storyteller. With radio, a listener can’t ask questions and they can’t stop the story and rewind. Of course, if it’s a podcast a listener can stop and rewind, but why would you want them to?
With all that focus on straightforward and uncomplicated storytelling, radio stories can become predictable and start to sound dull.
Fortunately, there are producers like Annie McEwen. She brings a poet’s sensibility and a musician’s ear to her storytelling. You can hear it in her story “Here I Am and Here Be Danger.” She won “Best New Producer” at the Third Coast International Audio Festival this year for the story and rightfully so.
I interviewed Annie at the festival in front of a live audience. This episode of HowSound is the first in a series of shows featuring interviews recorded at Third Coast with several of this year’s award-winning producers. Future programs will include stories from Joe Richman, Colin McNulty, Pat Walters, and Luke Malone.